Yesterday, The Motion Picture Association of America placed the following full page centerfold ad in the University of Michigan's school newspaper:
(Click image for larger version)
The ad features the usernames and partial IP addresses of peer2peer file sharers, surrounded by bold, red captions reading:
IS THIS YOU?
IF YOU THINK YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH
ILLEGALLY TRAFFICKING IN MOVIES, THINK AGAIN.
LAWSUITS BEGIN THIS WEEK.
It then proceeds to note that:
Pursuant to the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. Section 504(c)), statutory damages can be as much as $30,000 per motion picture, and up to $150,000 per motion picture if the infringement is willful.
If the MPAA spent as much on developing and advertising their legal movie download services as they're about to spend on ads and lawsuits, maybe people would use them. People use iTunes to buy music. Is it so farfetched?
On the front page of today's Michigan Daily, it was announced that the University is launching a service that will allow students to download music for $2.99 a month. If the MPAA wants to prevent "trafficking in movies" (what is this? the war on drugs?), they too will have to provide and market a legal alternative that appeals to mainstream consumers.
Scare tactics weren't what caused many students to stop illegally downloading music and to start purchasing downloads legally -- even here at the University where student and faculty names were subpoenaed by the RIAA this past May. Rather, it was the emergence of the iTunes music store.
MPAA, don't launch a crusade against the very people you're trying to sell to. They will buy your movies if you make them more accessible. Take the money you're spending on ads and legal fees and reinvest it in your business or pass it on to the consumer. We need it more than you.