back to article Harvey Weinstein wants US to adopt French piracy laws

Hollywood power player Harvey Weinstein has urged Big Content to take a “hang ‘em first and talk about it later” stance when it comes to piracy. Keynoting at the BFI London Film Festival, he railed against the online industries approach to piracy, and slammed Apple and Google for “getting paid, not the actors.” "I think we …


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  1. Anomalous Cowturd


    WTF indeed.

    1. Thorne

      Re: Disincentified?

      Wiener also forgot to mention that France's three strike laws also disincentified the public from paying for the content as well.

      Piracy went down but actual sales also went down.

  2. Pete Spicer
    Paris Hilton

    Um, Google I can understand but how, exactly, is Apple contributing to the piracy angle and getting paid? Given that you can buy on iTunes and presumably some of the (often a touch overpriced) revenue goes back to Hollywood...

    Seems to me as though he needs a lesson in where the money really comes from. Paris, obviously, knows where the money shots are.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Pete Spicer: "how, exactly, is Apple contributing to the piracy angle and getting paid"

      I wondered the same - where is the money really going. Apple makes most of its money from hardware - iTunes is a service that runs slightly above break-even. The media on iTunes isn't cheap; if Apple is making a minimal profit and actors, musicians, etc aren't adequately rewarded from the returns, then who is skimming off the bulk of the profits? There's something distinctly fishy about these complaints.

  3. Esskay
    Thumb Down

    "slamming Apple and Google for “getting paid not the actors.”

    Pretty much sums up the whole content industry.

    Sadly, "weinstein wants US to adopt French pirate laws"


    "US wants to adopt French pirate laws"

    the speed at which it happens is dependent on the amount of money they throw at the US Gov

    1. n4blue

      "the speed at which it happens..." also (inversely) dependent on the amount of money Google throws at the US Govt

  4. Tom 35

    You can do exciting things in television

    'Infomercials", also known as 30 minute ads for bowling ball sucking vacuums, and spray on hair.

    Retarded (un)reality TV shows.

    Don't you love people like Weinstein who are always going on about the poor starving actors not getting paid when they are only thinking of how to stiff them more then they already do. And think they should get a cut of every iThing sold (since it's of no use without him) and everything should be pay per view.

    Just give Weinstein the keys to the internet and in no time we will have 100% employment and everyone will be lined up at the theatre to see fill_in_the_blank 6 and pay $20 for popcorn and a drink.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can do exciting things in television


      Isn't Weinstein and all his friends into "Hollywood Accounting", claiming $150 million in losses, for movies that grossed $100 million, and cost $25 million to make, by having to pay the companies that they created, for the expenses incurred, in the distribution and other such imaginary expenses.

      Weinstein and his buddies all take a pay hike, claim tax exemptions for the losses, ask for the tax payers to bail them out and then refuse to pay the actors because they don't got no money......

      Then they say, "You must allow us to lock you - the consumer - into our product line with DRM and other forms of vertical integration - because we don't like you telling us to take our content gouge fest elsewhere when you can do much better deals, through other vendors."

      And if you don't - then, "We will pressure the other people in the other goverments, to punish YOU the consumer into towing the line, our line - our PRODUCT line."

      Perhaps Mel Gibson and his drunken rants about the media moguls of Hollywood had some basis to it.

      Time for the family / community sing songs / dances and entertainment "in the living room" and at the local hall....

  5. Captain DaFt
  6. El_Fev


    When Hollywood doesn't employ accountants that somehow turn the Lord of the rings trilogy gross 3 Billion Dollars into a Loss they can scream about priracy.. when was the last time the fuckers paid tax?!

    1. mr. deadlift

      Re: Listen...

      absolutely hit the nail on the head, there is no way that Lotr or the Hobbit would have been produced without a substantial break from the NZ tax-payer. and of course that goes for any other country and tax payers as a film destination. okay a country is repaid in a way via tourism. but to subsidise production, then be gouged to see the end product, seems pretty hypocritical to me. and let’s not forget union furore with Hobbit also. mr. weinstien would like to involve them in the desion making process also? The nz govt and warner bros did some very shifty deals and pretty much circumvented local ir laws to get the deal done, so get off the cross hollywood and start a meaningful dialogue instead of shooting first because it definitely goes both ways.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is Harvey "casting couch scumbag" Weinstein, right?

    The Harvey Weinstein widely considered to be the biggest bully in Hollywood? The Harvey Weinstein with a reputation for screwing indie directors who can't afford to sue? That Harvey Weinstein?

    The "filmmakers and producers" he's talking about are as likely to cozy up to Google out of sheer spite as to help Harv with his latest demagoguery.

  8. Steve Brooks


    Its quite unlikely, even given the absolute impossibilty of not being able to obtain media anywhere alse, that I would go back to watching TV, its not like if all cars stopped working, then we would have to go back to horse and buggy, TV is optional, its entertainement. Actually its not, having been forced to sit through some when the elderly relatives visited I find 10 minutes of show followed by 15 minutes of adds just excruciating, and worse the same add repeated 3 times (yes I kid you not, this is Australia) in the same add break.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TV?

      I concur - that TV in Australia really is fucking crap.

      "The 10 Network" would put on Star Gate Atlantis - with the draw card HOT babe, Amanda Tapper (All Woman!!!) which would be good to watch - even as it transitioned from interesting to the "Drag this out Gilligans Island" style of plot lines.

      By day they running the "sexual deviancy of Australia" on the news reports, the day time chat shows are filled with "Some women just have never had orgasams" type crap, and late at night, during Star Gate Atlantis, they run the adds for the (videos of?) "strippers on your mobile phone" (at $5.99 a minute or something).

      And it wasn't just the one add, it was the same 30 second add, repeated like 6 times in a row, every 5 minutes - during the show.

  9. Peter 39

    laid =/= paid

    Technicolor, Cinemascope, IMAX, MogulVision -- what more do we need ??

    Hey, Harvey, try "sanity".

    As the music industry discovered, people will pay a reasonable price for content (aside from a small number).

    The important principle for you to realize is that, if it's digital and you do not have physical control over each and every instance, it will be copied. Copy-protection stuff has been and will always be broken (for the commercial distribution under consideration here).

    So start with that as your premise and build your *new* business model from there. Quite simple, really.

  10. Kiwirob

    Rant much?

    Back on planet earth.... Apple and their AppleTV and iTunes products sell and rent movies to the public under license from the movie studios and distributers. I can't see how Weinstein can complain about this? Also Apple pretty much reversed the free mp3 movement and legitimised online distribution of music whereby the music companies got paid.

    Sounds to me like Mr Weinstein is a little envious of somebody else's bank balance and is going off on a baseless rant.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Waste of time.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aw those poow widdle actors

    When's the last time he paid them a share of the proceeds?

    And, hm, how is suing the youtube viewer going to help against youtube? Youtube who, AIUI, pay a small but nonzero something for each "view" already.

    I think this guy hasn't done his homework. But he's in good company. "Last to market" indeed. Psah.

  13. Richard Jones 1
    Thumb Down


    'Disincentified' totally sums up my attitude to the output of his poor industry.

    Frankly not only will I not waste money on an uncomfortable trip to a cinema with its sky high tickets and junk food, it would be a waste of line capacity to download the rubbish at home and I am not sure why anyone would bother.

    Is this part of his 'disincentifisation' scheme to discourage so called pirates who need tea and sympathy (and perhaps a life) for the time they have wasted?

  14. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    I'd call for Mr Weinstein to be disincentified,

    but that's proabably actionable, so I'll desist forthwith....


  15. K

    The movie business is shrinking

    Duh! WTF do you expect when it costs £30 to take me and my partner to see a film - Thats twice as much as it cost 10 years ago..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The movie business is shrinking

      How much of that cost increase is down to inflation?

      I suspect cinema chains will claim added value since 10 years ago - more comfy seats, more viewing times, 3D etc (not bothered about the last one personally but that's neither here nor there) but have they really doubled prices?

  16. Schultz


    Copyright laws are a gift of society to the artists and their industry. As long as the copyright doesn't get into the way too much, it's a reasonable proposition: give people some extra rewards for their work. If it starts to encroach onto the broader world (excessive intrusion into the private sphere of citizens, suppression of free speech, ...) it should be curtailed.

    Rewards for creative arts is a luxury a society can afford, basic freedom is the basis of our society and is not a luxury (think about the other tested models of communism, fascism, ...). Weinstein is trying to pull wool over your eyes and his personal motivation (greed) is obvious.

  17. detritus

    I clearly need a proper cup of tea this morning—my brain hung when reading ‘unionized labor’, trying desperately to work out how on earth one might strip ions from effort.

    1. Znort666

      Not just me then!!??!!

      I had to read it again, as the context seemed wrong...

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. EvilGav 1

    What ?

    It's quite easy to fix the problem :

    Actually make something that people want.

    Stop paying actors/directors/producers multi-million dollar/pound salaries.

    Stop shovelling 3D films down everyones throat and gounging on the ticket price.

    When I can buy the film on BD for around the same price as going to the cinema to see it and buy it on release day, which will be 90 days or so after theatrical, then there is something wrong - either the cinema "experience" is too expensive or the BD is too cheap. Pretty sure it's not the latter.

  20. LK19

    While I think that Mr. Weinstein may not have presented this argument in the most eloquent fashion, I do think that he makes some very valid points. The filmmaking industry is rewarded every time one of their products is shown on television. This is not the case for the Internet. One has to ask why this is. Isn't the Internet even more convenient than a television? There are much more limited commercials and any film you could imagine is at the touch of your fingertips rather than having to rely on television programming to show your favorite flick. Doesn't it make sense that for the same service television provides, for which we, as consumers, gladly pay, that we should be willing to pay at least equally as much for a more convenient service? The fact that France serves as a test run for these types of laws makes his argument all the more legitimate. A country has already implemented these laws and as Mr. Weinstein mentioned, none of the French branches of these companies have gone out of business. The fear that these restrictive laws against piracy will cripple the companies that provide them is irrational: these laws could boost the film industry, earning them more profits and thus, a greater capacity to produce new films. These new products would in turn give companies like Google and Yahoo more material to offer their customers and therefore, an even broader consumer base. More importantly than the profits of the industry, however, we need to be focusing on the underlying issue here: behaving in an ethically and morally right manner. Stealing is wrong and any law that allows for that type of behavior should be amended and that is precisely the type of change that Mr.Weinstein is proposing.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Right, first of all, try using linebreaks so people have half a chance of reading what you've written!

      The fact that France serves as a test run for these types of laws makes his argument all the more legitimate

      That would be the three strikes law that has resulted in massive administrative costs, but has yet to actually be used against anyone properly? I also seem to have missed the news of the Media industry crowing about how profits are up in France?

      I think most people are actually more worried that these restrictive laws seem to want the ISP's to actively police out internet connections, with all the privacy implications inherent in that. Oh, and they're probably also worried about having our tax money, and the money we pay to ISPs be used to help prop-up an industry that is still profitable and could think about adapting to how the world works now.

      New films are bugger all use to anyone if they're shite. The common consensus everywhere I look is that Hollywood is turning out remakes, recycled (but slightly different) plot lines and endless sequels. So, at the moment, I'm not sure 'new content' is that big an incentive to anyone except Hollywood who stand to make (more) money from it.

      Stealing is wrong and any law that allows for that type of behavior should be amended

      I agree, but funnily enough the law doesn't allow stealing. Let's avoid the argument about Copyright Infringement != Stealing as I really can't be arsed to break that one down for you. Copyright Infringement is already against the law, and the copyright holder is perfectly within their legal right to bring a civil case against any infringer.

      What they are not 'in the right' about, is their apparent belief that they should be able to have Government's do all the work (at taxpayers expense) for them.

      Mr Weinstein is proposing a change that, quite frankly, is in no-one's interest but the media industry's. I don't blame him for being self-interested, that's how you get to his level, but don't make the mistake of thinking what he says is anything but self-interested waffle with less accuracy than an 8 year old could manage researching the same subject with Google (as others have pointed out, both Apple & YouTube already pay royalties).

      1. Tom 35

        I also seem to have missed the news of ... profits are up in France?

        Yes, if the French laws are so great, and the content industry was missing out on tons of money do to downloading, they should be raking it in now. There should be a big bump in sales that can't be explained by any other change.

        But is seems that nothing is happening. Other then someone raking in a lot of money to run the system.

        There are lots of reasons someone might download, but not buy.

        They might think it has a value of $.02 and would not buy if that was the only way to get it.

        They might download something that they can't buy because it's not licensed for their region.

        They might even buy stuff they downloaded and like, now they don't buy anything.

        The idea that every download is a lost sale, and that stopping downloading will automatically give them that sale has been shown to be wrong over and over.

  21. LK19

    While I do not think that Mr. Weinstien made his point as eloquently as he could have, I do think he has a solid argument. Films shown on television are required to pay the artists and creators who bring those films to life. Why should the same not be true of films shown on the Internet? In fact, the Internet provides a more convenient service to consumers, allowing them to choose their films as they wish rather than depending on a TV programming to show their films at a set time. The Internet often gets a free ride, escaping under the guise of “freedom of information,” when in reality, offering a good or service for free, into which many people’s hard work and time went, is piracy. I could also understand people’s hesitancy to enact stricter laws, fearing that the laws that might have adverse effects on business. However, these laws have already been enacted in France and none of the businesses have failed. This should give Americans a greater sense of faith in the laws effectiveness. In fact, by requiring that the Internet providers pay the artists and creators of the products they stream, these laws may in fact provide a boost to the very same Internet providers they are fining. If the Internet providers begin to pay the artists and creators for the films they make, the film industry as a whole will grow, allowing them to make new films that may appeal to varied audiences. A greater audience means a greater support base of users for Internet providers, a boon to their business. But most importantly in this discussion is the fact that these laws are necessary for our own ethical and moral standard of behavior. We all know stealing is wrong. So why is it that we tolerate rampant piracy across the country (and, in fact, across the globe)? The passage of these laws could signal, loud and clear, that the US upholds its values and regulates itself to ensure that we always behave according to those morals.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      The Internet often gets a free ride, escaping under the guise of “freedom of information,” when in reality, offering a good or service for free, into which many people’s hard work and time went, is piracy.

      I think I can feel reasonably safe in saying that the Internet contains far more legitimate content than copyright infringing.

      However, these laws have already been enacted in France and none of the businesses have failed.

      See reply to your original post. TLDR: 3 Strikes has done no good in France either, just cost lots of money.

      If the Internet providers begin to pay the artists and creators for the films they make, the film industry as a whole will grow, allowing them to make new films that may appeal to varied audiences

      In North America, between May & labor day the industry had 'low' ticket sales of $4.28 billion. Now that's revenue and not profit, in fairness, but that's still a fuckload of dosh. I'd also point out that the demand for decent films is already there, but these films aren't being made. The market doesn't work on "pay us more for the shit we're making and we might make something decent in the future".

      A greater audience means a greater support base of users for Internet providers, a boon to their business

      Are you kidding? I suspect you'll find that in today's world, people are more worried about getting access to the net than seeing a flick. If anything, the net probably helps grow movie sales, not the other way round.

      The passage of these laws could signal, loud and clear, that the US upholds its values and regulates itself to ensure that we always behave according to those morals.

      Actually, I suspect it would signal that the Government is beholden to the media industry (something many already believe) and is willing to sacrifice user privacy and waste money to police something the industry could be doing itself.

    2. Tom 35


      I think you forgot to change to a different logon before you posted the second reworded copy of your astroturf.

      2 posts • joined Friday 12th October 2012 15:27 GMT

  22. Peter C.
    Thumb Up

    Japan got it right

    2 years in prison plus a serious fine for pirates and 10 years for facilitators and a whopping good fine is the correct punishment IMO.

  23. gd47


    Just my personal view...

    Bought my first album in 1970, for 30 shillings (alright, £1.50 in today's money)

    "Super Session", featuring Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills, Al Kooper, Harvey Brooks etc...

    10 years later (not After, thanks , Alvin, et al), it was released on a cassette.

    Bought it. Forgot the price..

    10 years later, released on CD.

    Again, I bought it. About £12, I think.

    Now, I've downloaded it to play on my mp3 player...for free.

    Because of that, I'm a fucking pirate and need to be imprisoned????

    Fuck. Right .Off.

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