You don’t think so? Well, then read on!
This story from the LA Times. Also article on the passing of Nick Counter below.
Studios and theaters clash over FCC waiver
November 4, 2009 | 6:22 pm
The nation’s theater owners and movie studios are once again at odds when it comes to the future distribution of movies.
In regulatory filing today, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the chief lobbying group for the major studios, restated its support for a waiver of current Federal Communications Commission rules that would clear the way for a technology that would allow consumers to watch movies at home close to or during their theatrical release. The so-called selectable output control technology would prevent the illegal copying of movies, which has been a major stumbling block to delivering first-run movies directly to consumers.
“Many of us love movies, but we just can’t make to the theater as often as we’d like. That is especially true for parents of young children, rural Americans who live far from the multiplex and people with disabilities that keep them close to the home,” MPAA Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said in a statement. “Having the option to enjoy movies in a more timely fashion at home would be a liberating new choice.”
Theater owners, however, don’t see it that way. The National Assn. of Theater Owners is opposed to the waiver and reiterated its opposition today. Theater owners are concerned that narrowing or collapsing the current window between when a movie hits theaters and when it comes on DVD or video-on-demand would cut into box office revenues and erode the quality of movies shown on the big screen. The current window is about four months.
“We don’t argue against the use of anti-piracy technology if movies were to go to the home earlier,” said John Fithian, president of the National Assn. of Theater Owners. “But they [the MPAA] aren’t telling the FCC or anyone else how early they want to go, so there’s no way of telling what the impact is on the cinema industry and our consumers.”
Though the MPAA has been pushing this for some time, the issue has heated up again as various industry and public interest groups weigh in. Fithian himself said he would meet with the FCC on Thursday to state his group’s views. Several other industry and consumer groups have opposed the waiver, including the consumer group Public Knowledge, which maintained that the technology would shut down the types of devices consumers could plug into their TV sets. The MPAA disputed that claim in its filing today.
By Richard Verrier
Huh has the Ol’ Dog flipped his lid. This is strictly a MPAA/Theater Owners issue and has nothing to do with actors or the Screen Actors Guild. To the contrary I would submit to you it is just another step in our employers long range plan to eliminate another actors revenue stream. Pay TV residuals.
The following from our basic agreement with producers; it is under Supplemental Markets.
So, you still think this is only a producer/theater owner issue?
If this move by the MPAA is successful and residuals are to be saved the SAG membership needs new leadership. Do you think those USAN/UFS members, currently in power, with their go-along-to-get-along attitude, would stand up to employers to save Pay TV residuals? Hell, they caved in to producers on New Media residuals, force majeure, clip consent, and they wouldnt even stand up for our senior members sacrificing a revenue stream for them by handing over to producers all rights on the internet for pre 1971 features and pre 1974 TV shows without paying residuals. Oh, and of course, they agreed to let producers to do NON-UNION productions for the Internet.
But, but then they didn’t accomplish all of this alone, an apathetic membership voted for it. Well, that is to be expected isnt it? Weak, indecisive leadership leads to apathetic membership.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
By DAVE MCNARY
Nick Counter, recently retired as chief of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, died Friday at West Hills Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 69.
The cause of death was not available.
Counter had stepped down as the AMPTP president in March after 27 years as the chief negotiator for the studios in labor negotiations. He was succeeded by longtime VP Carol Lombardini, who was recently promoted to the presidency.
“Nick’s passing is a profound loss for the entire entertainment community,” Lombardini said. “We will all remember Nick for his passionate leadership, which was always guided by a resolute sense of fair play and an earnest desire that everyone come out a winner. Nick had a particular proficiency for developing consensus among diverse points of view and he used this skill to great advantage in negotiating hundreds of collective bargaining agreements that led to a sustained era of labor peace.”
Counter was a Pheonix native and raised in the Denver area. He attended the University of Colorado and played on the football team as a running back.
Counter had been the AMPTP president since 1982 and served as chief negotiator on 311 labor deals.
After the 1988 writers strike, the low-key Counter helped maintain labor peace in Hollywood for much of his tenure at the AMPTP. That ended in 2007, when he took a tough stance on behalf of the companies over residuals and new media compenation. The 100-day walkout ended in February 2008.
Directors Guild of America Secretary-Treasurer Gil Cates and National Executive Director Jay D. Roth said, “It is with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of Nick Counter. Although we sat on opposite sides during labor negotiations, Nick was a friend, man of honor and worthy adversary, doing his best to represent his constituents.”
Counter is survived by his wife, Jackie; his daughter Samantha and son-in-law, screenwriter Alex Kurtzman; his son, Nicholas; and grandson, Jack. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) or the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Services are pending.