Saturday, May 8, 2010

FCC ruling in favor of movie companies intrudes in your privacy

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FCC votes to begin Big Brother campaign to control your lives
By Ray Hanania

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has voted to give movie companies the ability to literally turn out a part of your home entertainment system so that the Movie Industry can prevent you from making a copy of their newest released movies.

The fact is that once I purchase a movie, I have a right to make a copy of it for my personal use, despite the ridiculous warnings and threats made by the movie industry.

For years, the movie industry has been driven by greed, a greed that helped destroy this economy by undermining independent video rental stores and mom-and-pop retailers who could not compete with the bigger retailers.

Here’s how it now works.

The movie industry releases their films to big screen theaters. You pay up the wazoo. It costs a typical family of four now more than $60 to see a theatrical movie release. Ticket prices at movie theaters are outrageous, and that doesn’t even include the snacks.

About four months later, the movie companies grant the cable companies the right to make the film available to your home entertainment system at another outrageous cost.

What the cable companies have done, of course, is violate the promise they made 25 years ago when they were first launch to provide pay-per-view without commercials. Today, cable TV channels are littered with commercials, more than so-called “free TV” which is no longer free because you can’t watch the local TV channels with any guaranteed quality without a cable hook-up that costs over $100 (when you include the government taxes).

The cable companies not only now charge you for the “new” movies. They also have put cost requirements to see old classic movies, too. Just look through your cable TV lineup. You are paying for movies that have been out there for years.

The cable company wants to also be able to take the new releases and sell them to you for at least three months before the movie is released on DVD, which the movie company wants to sell to you at another outrageous price and oppressive scheme. Yes, an oppressive scheme.

When the DVD comes out, it costs usually over $24. Now, they have added the Blue Ray option, which the movie industry falsely claims provides better viewing quality. Viewing quality has nothing to do with the movie DVD but everything to do with the quality of your home TV system. A great TV makes any format look good. A cheap TV makes them look bad.

Why Blue Ray? Because the movie industry wants you to throw out all the old movies from your home collection in order to force you to purchase more. All the VHS copies will soon be worthless as they phase our VHS players. They want the DVD players phased out too, forcing you to eventually buy Blue Ray. And believe me, after a few years of investing in Blue Ray DVDs under the exaggerated claim that your viewing pleasure will be better, they will come up with something new to replace that.

It’s not about better technology. It is about greed. Pure evil greed. That greed destroyed the way Americans used to enjoy movies as a family. They are the ones who forced drive-in theaters to shut down. They are the ones who made going to a big screen theater less and less enjoyable.

And now the FCC is joining in on the scheme to make our lives more miserable by forcing us to pay more.

The FCC has never cared about the interests of the public. All they care about are the high-priced lobbyists who donate money to the politicians who sponsor the appointments to the FCC board.

The only people who lose in this new law are the very people who should be the priority, the consumers and viewing public.

If you let the Movie Industry control your home entertainment system, starting with the “analogue” output devices (which will automatically be shutdown by the new DVD you rent or purchase, then you might as well give the keys to your home to the Hollywood movie industry fat cats who destroyed the whole experience of entertainment and the American Dream.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, media consultant and for many years owned video stores while working in the Chicago news media. He can be reached at

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