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How To Address A Visit from MPAA Senior VP Rich Taylor? 314

Posted by Zonk
from the no-tar-or-feathers-please dept.
tedswiss writes "Fate has dropped a unique opportunity upon my lap: I teach at a moderately small independent school who has as one of its alums Richard Taylor. Mr. Taylor is both speaking at our start-of-year festivities and being honored with this year's "Distinguished Alum Award." Having followed and been disgusted by the MPAA's corporate practices regarding DRM and government lobbying in the past (Anyone remember DeCSS?), I would love to make his visit a chance to truly educate our student body, not just indoctrinate them. The school administration is sympathetic to my plight, but I want to present them with more than just my complaints. How would you best make use of this opportunity if you found yourself in my shoes?"
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How To Address A Visit from MPAA Senior VP Rich Taylor?

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  • Hmmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:22PM (#20377163) Journal
    Ask him if the MPAA uses the same "accounting" for determining losses due to piracy which its members so often use when declaring that movies rolling in cash in fact lost money.
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:56PM (#20377589)
      Ask him to say hello to your little friend..
    • With such a visit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alien54 (180860) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:10PM (#20377759) Journal
      from someone as illustrious as this ...

      It is well worth it to propose a week long series of special classes about the man, the organization, and the controversies. This allows plenty of time for a balanced presentation from all of the viewpoints. And of course, you can encourage students to put on their on presentations and reports, etc. This should be done in advance of the visit, so that when there is a question and answer period with the celebrity, you can rest well assured that students will ask well informed questions.

      Remember that Copyright [youthforhumanrights.org] is included (under Article 27) [un.org] in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (some clever human rights PSAs here [youthforhumanrights.org])

      Article 27.

      1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
      2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
      and this provides for other angles and viewpoints that the MPAA might not be actually friendly to, even if they claim to be artist friendly. (Remember Hollywood accounting!) There is also the argument that the corporations are not acting in the best interest of the Artists, but their own personal profit.

      finally, the European view on copyright and an artist's rights are significantly different compared to typical american viewpoints.

      • by Glonoinha (587375) on Monday August 27, 2007 @07:28PM (#20378595) Journal
        Yea, or they could plant a two ounce bag of crack in his jacket pocket, 'tip off' the police and have him arrested and thrown in jail for posession of crack cocaine on a drug-free school zone with intent to distribute. Fuck his life up real good for something he didn't do, destroy him professionally / financially / emotionally and then say - there now, that's not very nice, is it? You don't like it when people do it to you, don't do it to other people.

        (Does crack come in bags?)
      • Re:With such a visit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by metlin (258108) on Monday August 27, 2007 @08:17PM (#20379017) Journal
        You know, that just gave me an idea.

        Just prepare a list of questions (say, 10) and print them out clearly. Distribute that to the students and to Mr. Rich Taylor.

        Tell him that you expect clear and concise answers, not fluff and excuses. And in that list, you could include such questions as --

        1. Why the MPAA's principles do not seem to agree with what even the UN's Declaration of Human Rights dictates?

        2. Ask them how they think that the exaggerated numbers of piracy relate to the actual numbers? Bring some tangible evidence to the table and ask them how they think that copied media equals revenue lost.

        3. Ask him what the MPAA thinks about such things as Creative Commons and how they could think that long-term copyrights (e.g. Disney) is conducive to what the founding fathers of this land had in mind?

        4. Cite some examples of how DMCA has harmed people, and ask him his opinion on that. If he agrees with the DMCA, then obviously it is wrong. If he disagrees, you can ask him if he thinks the law should be tested in a court of law. After all, their tactic seems to be making even fair use hard for people.

        5. Why are the big boys (RIAA, MPAA) afraid of new media? Isn't it like a scrivener complaining about the arrival of the printing press?

        6. Bring up the issue of fair use and piracy - you could cite personal examples where you (or your friends) have had to download media because it was easier than making backups of your own data. How can the MPAA distinguish between such piracy?

        7. Citing the previous case, explain that they should either understand that not all variants of piracy is bad, or alternatively make it easy for you to back up your own media. Trying to discourage both sounds like they are against the very concept of *you* copying *your* media.

        8. Ask him what he thinks of you lending a book to your friend. And how is it different from you lending your movie to a friend? Now if the friend could easily make a copy of the book without spending a penny, is it bad? Ignoring today's copyright law, ask him if his business model is wrong or is the friend wrong?

        9. On that same note, ask him if there are any plans of improving the existing business model, since it is clearly unsuitable for an era where things can be copied for free. Clearly, artists are being robbed, given how poor the Hollywood actors are and how they live in filth and squalor (well, to be fair, they *do* live in LA, but still...)

        10. Bring up the issue of suppressing your own customers - and how it has worked out for people in the past. After all, suppressing something is not the best way to accomplish it, and sometimes being open can be better for everyone.
        • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @12:16AM (#20380693) Homepage

          Just remember that a man who was the senior vice president for external affairs of the MPAA has probably heard all of your questions before and has a prepared response for each of them. Be prepared to have your questions dismissed without any kind of real answer and quite possibly twisted around into something completely different. Read old interviews with him, watch videos. Try to get an idea of what to expect.

          If a professional weasel with his background and in his position lets himself get blind-sided by a couple of University students with an obvious axe to grind then, first off, something is very wrong with the world.

          And secondly, if you think that's what really happened, count your fingers. And your toes. And review exactly what was said by whom, and ask yourself if you have any way of proving it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Johnny5000 (451029)
            Just remember that a man who was the senior vice president for external affairs of the MPAA has probably heard all of your questions before and has a prepared response for each of them.

            Usually that response can be as simple as saying "I'm glad you asked that, it's a very important question" and then he can ramble on for 10 minutes about something entirely unrelated, until everyone forgets what was asked in the first place.
    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

      by MrSteveSD (801820) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:24PM (#20377911)
      Very good point. For example, you may remember a popular Sci-Fi Series called Babylon 5. J. Michael Straczynski absolutely killed himself making it, writing entire seasons by himself. It was a very successful show and has made a huge amount of money in DVD sales. Yet Warner Bros have done some amazing Hollywood accounting with it and have managed to make it all look in debt, so no-one gets a dime.

      So you could ask, "Piracy may effect the money made by hard working writers and actors, but do you think your members should perhaps set an example by not stealing from them through Hollywood Accounting trickery?"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @08:04PM (#20378911)
      Get all of the attendees to not defecate for about two days before his address. Once he starts speaking, have everyone sit silently for about 5 or 6 minutes. At that point, set off a discrete signal that all the audience can see. At that very moment, everyone simultaneously releases the feces they've been holding for the past two days. After everyone has done their business, continue to sit there, silently. He will likely smell the smell that tends to be released when 350 people simultaneously crap their pants.

      You think he'd be able to complain, but he really can't. Do you really want to say that that a speech of yours made over 300 people shit themselves, and it wasn't even because they were laughing? No.

    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Informative)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @03:48AM (#20381561) Homepage
      You COULD try to attack based on past MPAA mistakes, but in all likelyhood he can deny his hand in those and at the very best it'll just be an ad hominem attack that does nothing to disprove the MPAA's claims.

      You've gotta ask yourself what you want out of this. Is it your goal to convince mr. Taylor or is it your goal to convince the students. With the right questions it's very possible to let mr. Taylor leave feeling he won whilst in fact having demonstrated to the students how wrong the MPAA is.

      Ask him to explain to the students what "Fair use" is, and what is allowed by Fair use.

      Next, ask him to explain how having DRM is more consumer friendly than not having DRM.

      Make sure you've studied the subjects beforehand so you can correct him. Don't attack the MPAA, just state facts and numbers to undermine the claims. Also try and catch any logical fallacies and make sure to label them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wharlie (972709)
      I wouldn't "ask" him anything, we all know his stance on copyright.
      You and your students should take this oppourtunity to politely "tell" him your views on how copyright affects you.
      He probably never gets a chance to hear from "real" people.
      Make sure that you consider your comments carefully before making your opinion known.
      Do your research, have your comments prepared.
      For instance, instead of saying stuff like "MPAA rips off artists" say something like "I would be more likely to pay for material if it was
  • Tear Gas (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:22PM (#20377167)
    I think that would be the very best way to welcome your fellow alum back to campus.
  • Teamwork (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:23PM (#20377175) Homepage Journal
    I suppose it depends on the opportunities and contexts you have access to (what classes you teach, whether you can hold a seminar or discussion panel before/after his address, etc). But my primary advice would be:

    Be respectful. Think teamwork. Don't try to rain on the parade the college is throwing for him. Nobody will thank you for that. Not that you seem to be leaning that way, but it bears mentioning on Slashdot.

    Consider sitting down with Mr. Taylor privately (asap, if it'll be in addition to other things). The article you linked said he seems willing to take outside concerns seriously. It sure seems that he could be a great resource in 1. getting the MPAA to take consumer/citizen concerns more seriously, and 2. helping educate the student body about what's at stake here (on both sides).

    Perhaps you could set up a panel on intellectual property/DRM while he's in town (you, him, maybe some other relevant folks), and invite the student body. Man, I'd love to go to that.
    • Re:Teamwork (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:26PM (#20377217) Journal
      Just let him do his talk, usher him out of the building with a nice certificate, and leave it at that. The MPAA isn't going to change its ways because you had a talk with this guy. You'd be wasting your time talking to him privately, and would embarass your school if you went after him publicly.
      • Re:Teamwork (Score:5, Informative)

        by FuzzyDaddy (584528) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:42PM (#20377425) Journal
        I disagree. I think this is a good opportunity to make a point. No, the MPAA isn't going to change, but you're at a school, and educating the students by getting them to think about things they might not otherwise is a good thing to do.

        I don't have specific ideas about what to do, but I have some advice on what NOT to do. Don't attempt to harass, trap, or otherwise embarass this guy. Be civil. Your goal here is to get people thinking, not to attack this particular person. Likewise, your goal isn't to express your anger or disgust - it's to educate the student body about the very real and sometimes subtle issues. Handouts? Teach-ins? Big signs and pamphlets? Parody films? It depends on your target audience, venue, etc.

        But do something!

        • Re:Teamwork (Score:5, Interesting)

          by poopdeville (841677) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:48PM (#20378181)
          You need to be very careful when you approach events like these. For example, David Horowitz was invited to Reed College to participate in a "discussion" (read: debate) his "Academic Bill of Rights". See: http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/archive/ 2006/August2006/ReedCollegeSteinbergerDebate082806 .htm [studentsfo...reedom.org]. (Yes, TL;DR, I know. But the Ask Slashdotter might want to check it out)

          Accusations of bad faith were flying all around. The consensus after the fact was that there was a miscommunication with David Horowitz. The event was billed as a debate, but he thought he could wing it and showed up essentially unprepared. Steinberger was very prepared.

          The point being, accusations of bad faith were launched at an event where both speakers should have been prepared to debate. It would only be worse to try to seriously debate someone who isn't prepared.
      • Re:Teamwork (Score:5, Insightful)

        by blhack (921171) * on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:49PM (#20377503)
        His point isn't to change the mind of the MPAA, it is to prevent the MPAA from indoctrinating his students with their views on the matter (or rather, indoctrinate them with his own). No offense, but I HATE it when people claim to be "helping the children" by "telling them the real story". So often that "real story", is a bunch of bias garbage that ends up hurting them 10 fold when the reach adulthood. They end up having a completely warped view of reality (at least warped relative to the their peers; even if they are right, they are stilling playing with a handicap). For instance, lets say that we took a group of elementary aged kids and taught that that IP was a totally evil concept. To US (adults) that is okay because we have grown up around IP and understand the reason that it needs to be changed; however, if you teach somebody that has no frame of reference that IP is evil, they won't understand why. This will end up actually hurting them in the long run. People need the ability to come to their own conclusions. People who try and let their kids skip that whole "experience" thing, and jump right into the understanding part are doing their children a great injustice.
        • Re:Teamwork (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:53PM (#20377553) Journal
          We're talking about a bunch of kids that probably download episodes of their favorite TV shows, so I doubt very much that some MPAA mouthpiece is going to make them burn their DVD burners, shave their heads and begin worshipping Hollywood.
          • by blhack (921171) *
            I really think its a problem that kids are growing up today not know that blatant copyright violations really ARE stealing. Somebody really DID have to go through the work to create whatever it is that you're getting online for free. Most of us grew up having to actually purchase our music in a record store. When we download something online, we know that it is something that we would have normally had to pay for. If we understand that the recording industry is screwing the artists, that this CD used to
            • by Simon80 (874052)
              Copyright infringement is not theft, it's copyright infringement.
              • by jedidiah (1196)
                Spreading creative works far and wide and building on them is the whole (original and ultimate) point of copyright law.

                Perpetual copyright is stealing from future artists.
        • "even if they are right, they are stilling playing with a handicap" O_O Do you realize what you're saying?! Doublethink > Truth?
          • by blhack (921171) *
            And in the story that you're referencing with "doublethink" what happened to winston? He ended up exiled from his city, barely survived the ministry of justice, and had to live out the rest of his life in the proles knowing that his society had serious problems, but that there was nothing he could do to change it.

            Think about a person sitting on their deathbed; if they truly believe that when they die they will live out eternity in heaven, they will have a MUCH more peaceful death than if they know that the
            • The rest of us slashdotters value truth more than a peaceful death or a happier life, or even safety- unlike the rest of the world which will accept anything and give up any freedom to a power guarantees their safety in a time of danger. The willingness to accept lies because they're afraid to stand up for themselves is what got Airstrip One in that pickle in the first place. But enough reasoning- the plain fact is that your argument is disgusting and deserve to be modded -5 troll for the rest of your days
              • I doubt you can speak for every /.'er. Though personally I prefer the truth over all too. If the truth is that horrific then you maybe need to change your attitude towards it rather than try to ignore it..
              • by blhack (921171) *

                the rest of us slashdotters value truth more than a peaceful death or a happier life, or even safety

                I'm glad that slashdot has elected you to speak on behalf of us as a whole, but count me as at least one person who wasn't included in the vote.
                Valuing truth more that a happy life is a contradiction, in the case of a person like you, truth is what gives you the happy life. The fact that you stated you would prefer to live an unhappy life (you said you value truth over happiness, meaning that you don't ACTUALLY find happiness in truth) leads me to believe that you are either a masochist, or have big time

        • by dcollins (135727)
          "People who try and let their kids skip that whole 'experience' thing, and jump right into the understanding part are doing their children a great injustice."

          I've heard this before, and to me it's nonsensical. By saying that, you're asserting that teaching and writing have zero value. The advancement of civilization intrinsically runs on being able to communicate highly condensed lessons from one person's experience, to many others, through language. While it may not work for *some* boneheaded kids, I'm pre
          • by blhack (921171) *
            "Understanding" without the actual experience to back it up isn't understanding, its recitation. The knowledge that A will lead you to B doesn't allow the opportunity to infer anything, it also doesn't allow for improvement. All you will ever know is that A leads to B. What people with your philosophy on teaching are suggesting is that concepts should be layed in stone, what i am suggesting is that they should be layed in clay. Your model doesn't allow students to ask "Why?".
    • by Tackhead (54550)
      > Be respectful. Think teamwork. Don't try to rain on the parade the college is throwing for him. Nobody will thank you for that. Not that you seem to be leaning that way, but it bears mentioning on Slashdot.

      And by "respectful", we mean "moon him so wide the Goatase Guy would be impressed", and by "teamwork", we mean "everyone in the auditorium", and by "don't try to rain on the parade", we're not sure, but it probably involves some sort of Rube Goldberg contraption involving an enema bag, a colostomy

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:23PM (#20377177) Homepage Journal
    AK47
  • well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by onemorehour (162028) * on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:23PM (#20377189)
    First off, I'd announce the planned visit on a very popular website (making sure to mention his name in the title), thus dramatically increasing the chances that he will catch wind of whatever clever plan I come up with.

    Okay, sorry. In all seriousness, I think the coolest thing to do would be to invite him to a Q&A session with your class, and try to ask him questions that shed light on these issues (lobbying, legal overreaching).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:24PM (#20377203)
    File a whole bunch of baseless lawsuits at him as soon as he walks in. He'll feel right at home!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I can provide you with a photocopy of screen capture you can use as evidence of his wrongdoings.
  • Don't be a jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:26PM (#20377215) Homepage

    Seriously.

    Somebody more powerful than you thought it a good idea to bestow this honor on him. I wouldn't ruin the ceremony by sandbagging him. Perhaps you could invite him to your class to discuss some issues but I wouldn't use this opportunity to harangue him and make yourself look like a whiny prick in the process.

    • Re:Don't be a jerk (Score:5, Interesting)

      by darkhitman (939662) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:29PM (#20377251)
      Somebody more powerful, yes, but not necessarily someone more intelligent.
    • by Stubtify (610318)
      I have to agree with OP on this. You'll be the one with the egg on your face. I've had the pleasure of meeting with high level executives. It's a strange feeling, when you converse you'll get to see that they are no different than you. Just as strongly as you believe they are wrong, they believe they are right. A discussion, even in private, is not going to bring to light the fact that you are indeed correct. Someone that high up has a strict script they must stick to in answering questions. Their personal
    • by arth1 (260657)
      So let the people more powerful eat their canapes and drink their champagne, but the best YOU can do is to show total indifference. MPAA is a has-been on the way down, and is best ignored, lest it drag you with it.

      In other words, don't treat this like an "opportunity", cause there's only opportunities for bad things, whether you honour the guy or ask him pointed questions.
  • by joeyspqr (629639) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:28PM (#20377245)
    how easy and rewarding it is play one his client's movies using software approved by his organization ... say, an HD movie on a Vista laptop? be sure to point out how the enhanced experience will motivate customers to pour bushels of cash on them.
  • Don't be a jerk. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wheatwilliams (605974) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:31PM (#20377271) Homepage
    The word that worries me in your discussion above is where you say that you have been "disgusted" with the Motion Picture Association's activities.

    If you've got a distinguished and influential guest addressing your class, you need to show him respect.

    You are not in the business of making or financing motion pictures or record albums, so you have no real stake in the argument. It does not affect your ability to earn a living and feed your family one way or another. Richard Taylor, on the other hand, speaks for tens of thousands of people who earn their livings making and financing motion pictures and record albums. He wants to present their point of view, and he knows what he is talking about.

    So show some class, act like a gentleman, and make sure your students are respectful as well.

    You won't convince or influence anybody with scorn and invective. If you listen to Richard Taylor, you might learn a few things and better understand his point of view.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by djdbass (1037730)
      F-that.

      Burn the Witch!
    • by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:53PM (#20377557) Homepage Journal
      If you've got a distinguished and influential guest addressing your class, you need to show him respect.

      Why? Respect is something that must be earned, and people devoid of ethics deserve none.

    • Re:Don't be a jerk. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by langelgjm (860756) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:57PM (#20377613) Journal

      You are not in the business of making or financing motion pictures or record albums, so you have no real stake in the argument.

      I have to disagree here. The legislation that is produced on behalf of MPAA and similar lobbying has real effects on many, many more people than just those who make or finance movies or music. It's one thing for an industry group to try and promote their own interests; it's something completely different when they do it at the expense of the public.

      Certainly I agree with the necessity of showing respect, but on the other hand, the MPAA's representatives would do well to show some respect and attention to these students, as well - they are the generation that is growing up with torrents while Blockbuster slowly disappears. Their attitudes towards media consumption are shaping and will continue to shape the industry, whether the MPAA likes it or not.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RobertM1968 (951074)

      You are not in the business of making or financing motion pictures or record albums, so you have no real stake in the argument.

      Let me correct this error. Everyone of us who buys DVDs or VHS or goes to the movies, or watches them on Pay Per View IS in the business of "financing" motion pictures.

      It does not affect your ability to earn a living and feed your family one way or another.

      Well, in the case of people erroneously sued by the **AA, it definitely does. Suggesting a business model that protects the investments the labels have made - that we are then expected to pay off (and then some) - while dropping the "Sue em all - whether they are guilty or not" business model would be quite valid topics to discuss... sh

    • Wheat has also worked as a technical writer, music journalist for national magazines, and publicist in the music industry. Off and on over the years he has been a professional musician as well.
      (see: http://wheatwilliams.com/computers/index.html [wheatwilliams.com] )
    • by jedidiah (1196)
      > You are not in the business of making or financing motion pictures or record albums, so you have no real stake in the argument.

      What a total load of bullshit.

      These people are lobbying for laws that harm ALL OF US. They cause creative works to be lost to history and time. They make it more difficult for new artists to create. They interfere with the process of documenting history. They can be used to suppress academic inquiry.

      They are harrassing institutions such as this one through abusive litigation.

      Th
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:31PM (#20377279)
    Get ahold of Ali G and let him handle the interview...

    there you go.
    MPAA owned
  • Put 'im in the scuppers with a hosepipe on him.
    Put him in the longboat till he's sober.
    Heave him by the leg in a running bowline.
    Put 'im in the cabin with the captain's daughter*.

    I could go on...

    *The "captain's daughter" is a cat o' nine tails.

  • I'll do the rest :)

    (for any law enforcement reading this comment, its a joke, not a threat).
  • Organize a protest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406)
    Unless you can get the school to organize an official debate on intellectual property, that's all you can do.

    Come to the event with a big sign illustrating your message and objections to his status as a distinguished alum. Have a group of students do the same as well as boo and chant before/during/after the event. Engage in civil disobedience by bringing a notebook and helping friends make backups of their own DVDs in his plain sight.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by E++99 (880734)

      Unless you can get the school to organize an official debate on intellectual property, that's all you can do.

      Come to the event with a big sign illustrating your message and objections to his status as a distinguished alum. Have a group of students do the same as well as boo and chant before/during/after the event. Engage in civil disobedience by bringing a notebook and helping friends make backups of their own DVDs in his plain sight.

      Are you serious? Why? How is making yourselves look like obnoxious and i

  • To think about how they would solve the problem of compensating those involved in media production, and if lawsuits would be an ethically appropriate part of your business model.

  • At a certain point you have to follow street advise of: Don't hate the player, hate the game.

    The fact is the overzealous legal system, big-business government, and uninformed politicians have lead us down this path. The MPAA is winning within the rules given to it, and using loopholes to create their own rules. We are at that "certain point" where we (as a country made of citizens) have to take responsibility for what we have allowed to happen.

    Don't be petty or childish and try to embarrass him in some sort
    • by daeg (828071)
      What's wrong with hating the player? There is no game if there are no players.

  • Something along the lines of:

    "Today, we welcome Richard Taylor, of the Motion Picture Association of America.

    As a member of an association of movie makers, his task is to..." ...At this point, you can go two ways. First, you could be honest and say that his task is to help garner as much money as possible for his group and the studios that fund them. From that, you'd say, "What I would do if I were in his position, is to figure out how to milk even more money from artists, and to cheapen art as much as po
  • Two words:
    Cream Pie
  • by mykepredko (40154) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:36PM (#20377351) Homepage
    In your question, you are asking what question to ask to educate the student body - I would think that this would be an opportunity to educate Mr. Taylor.

    If you read some of the other replies, you'll see that people believe that the appropriate greeting for him is tear gas or an AK-47.

    I would think that the meeting would be a chance for him to see your fellow faculty and students as people and not as criminals as we are always viewed by the **AAs. It could be a good chance for him to sit down with students and understand how they would like to enjoy the products that he represents and discuss ways that are mutually beneficial to both parties.

    If he isn't receptive to this idea, then bring out the tear gas and AK-47s.

    myke
  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:43PM (#20377437) Homepage Journal

    What I've always wondered about companies that require DRM on their products is simply this: why do they insist on making their paying customers suffer, which those that don't bother supporting the content creators get a more convenient product?

    With movies, the pirated version usually jumps straight to the movie without going through previews or FBI warnings. It doesn't include slow, time-wasting menus. It doesn't force you to skip by commercials for other movies. It just gets you to the product and lets you view it with minimum hassle.

    As an added bonus, the pirated version doesn't prevent me from transcoding to a format my iPod can support or prevent me from storing it on my computer and streaming it via my TiVo. If I ever get an XBox360 or a PS3, I can stream them to that too.

    With a DRM-encumbered movie, I can't do any of that.

    Why do they insist on giving their paying customers a product that's simply worse than the pirated version? Why do they think we'll put up with it?

  • 1. A few days *before* his visit, open a debate in your classroom about filesharing, DMCA, DRM, piracy and the music and film industries' business models. Make your students do a research paper on it for homework (the homework will be BEFORE the class debate), and give the homework a +1 point over the final exam.

    Perhaps you can research a little and give some pointers (links) that they can use for the research i.e. hackers' rants, slashdot posts, the 09 F9 scandal [wikipedia.org], and so on.

    2. Invite the students to ask any questions they had when the MPAA Senior comes.
    (I'm sure that after being educated with the debate, they'll ask questions on playing movies on Linux machines, DMCA, the broken DRM security model and so on).

    3. Buy some popcorn and enjoy the fun. Trust me, It will get more embarrassing than Bill Gates' BSOD on the Win98 presentation. ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Great idea although I'd tackle it without direct confrontation.
      Organise a student debate make sure both sides are well covered with a mixture of good debaters and the tech and arts students.
      Don't frame the debate as an attack but as a more general discussion.
      say "Is IP good for my creative health?"

      Then Invite Mr Taylor as a prominate member of a organisation charged with protecting the IP of creative content creaters you would like to take advantage of his insight to moderate and critic the debate. If the d
    • I agree that this is a task best handled by your students. If you can actually get this guy to come talk to your class, you as the teacher (and in this case the moderator of the discussion) are not in any position to ask these kinds of questions. It needs to come from the students or from the speaker. Your job is to make sure the discussion stays on topic and keep track of the time. The homework idea above is a good way to get the students to ask the questions. I have a way to make your speaker ask th
  • fire extinguisher.

    Then, whenever they say "Distinguished", let loose and "extinguish" him.

    It's only fair.
  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert AT laurencemartin DOT org> on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:53PM (#20377549)
    Before he speaks have a lawyer type give a 5 minute discussion on how the preceding speech is CopyRight (R) $date by $school and reproduction by any means
    will result in prosecution. Then Lock the doors (make loud slamming noises) and have him give his talk.
    • by HunterZ (20035)

      Before he speaks have a lawyer type give a 5 minute discussion on how the preceding speech is CopyRight (R) $date by $school and reproduction by any means
      will result in prosecution. Then Lock the doors (make loud slamming noises) and have him give his talk.
      Preceding speech? I'm resisting the urge to be pedantic and failing, sorry >.>
  • ...full of ferret pee.
    Then offer to pay his dry cleaning bill. No need to be a jerk about it.
  • The Biggest Lie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:04PM (#20377691)
    The Biggest Lie of the MPAA (and RIAA) is that every download equates to a lost sale, or a percentage of a lost sale. I'd love for him to have to explain how he can truly justify that position.
    • by Teancum (67324)
      I would note in particular that the motion picture industry had perhaps their largest box office total ever this past summer... over $4 billion dollars worth just in the USA alone. And that little factoid has been in the news quite a bit lately.

      More to the point, is this hardcore attitude toward cracking down on somebody who brings a camera into the theater and prosecuting somebody who grabs 3-5 mintues on their their cell phone something really worth prosecuting, or "charging" off to the respective movie
  • I'm not joking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squarefish (561836) * on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:05PM (#20377707)
    But rather than post here what you should ask him and risk he won't, see if he'd be willing to provide a /. interview.

    It's worth a shot and may be the best way for someone to approach him directly about it. I'm sure he's probably been asked in the past and was able to easily ignore the emails or phone calls. Asking him to do so in person will put him on the spot and he may take it more seriously.
  • .. shoot a video of whatever it is you do.... :)
  • by kramer (19951) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:11PM (#20377777) Homepage
    Interrupt the beginning of the speech. Ask him if he stole his car. When he says no, ignore him and launch into a 5 minute prepared speech about how stealing cars is wrong, and the effects of stolen cars on everyone. Tell him how bad he is for stealing his car, and how he'll be punished when he gets caught. Most importantly, do not let him interrupt you or skip any portion of your speech. When you're finished, ask him how he appreciates being treated to a lecture about being a thief during time that is supposed to be his.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by E++99 (880734)
      If I ever saw someone behave in that manner, I would have to assume that whatever their point was, they couldn't possibly be right.
    • by SimonInOz (579741)
      So appealing ... after all, they call me a thief when I'm not and waste my time in a maddening fashion. Insulting. Pirate DVDs from Thailand are so much nicer to use.

      Sadly, this action will result in little more than getting you fired. Or something.

      Here in Australia, we have a wonderful program on ABC (non commercial) television called "The Chasers War on Everything". They do exactly the sort of things like this that you really want to do but won't dare. (See www.abc.net.au/chaser/ and http://en.wikipedia.o [wikipedia.org]
    • by NullProg (70833)
      Interrupt the beginning of the speech. Ask him if he stole his car. When he says no, ignore him and launch into a 5 minute prepared speech about how stealing cars is wrong, and the effects of stolen cars on everyone. Tell him how bad he is for stealing his car, and how he'll be punished when he gets caught. Most importantly, do not let him interrupt you or skip any portion of your speech. When you're finished, ask him how he appreciates being treated to a lecture about being a thief during time that is sup
    • When you're finished, ask him how he appreciates being treated to a lecture about being a thief during time that is supposed to be his.

      and then AK47.

  • by turgid (580780) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:12PM (#20377793) Journal

    Ask him to explain the difference between a copyright held by a corporation and by an individual, rights and protections for the individual copyright holder v.s the corporation and Fair Use.

    Ask him to explain why some "copyright" (sic) works may be freely redistributed (GNU, BSD, Creative Commons, Public Domain etc.) and why others can't.

    Ask him how technological measures to enforce copyright can respect these different regimes, and who polices them.

    Ask him to explain the difference between copyrights, patents, intellectual property.

  • How does it feel to be a dinosaur?

    I kid, I kid.
  • And do it in a non-obvious way. Like complaining about how the auto industry is deliberately designing vehicles so they can't be serviced on your own any more.
  • The root issue here is copyright. The founding fathers of the USA made provisions for copyright for a set of stated purposes.

    The movie industry owes much to being able to make derivatives of others' works, and copyright legislation hinders their creativity just as much, if not more, than others. The Internet has revolutionized the economics of distribution (or, at least, it has the potential to do so if the proper frameworks are invested in). In this new environment, what is the optimal period for soc

  • "How would you best make use of this opportunity if you found yourself in my shoes?"

    Bullets.
    Well probably not, but it's nice to daydream.
  • Sure, it's easy to just throw out barbs and generally make the guy feel hated. The MPAA makes it easy. But this is an opportunity to show Taylor, and by extension, perhaps the MPAA in general, that tech-savvy consumers are not copyright-hating anarchists.

    Address concerns like the limitations put on consumers from making legitimate private use of the content they buy. Make it clear that you don't endorse copyright infringement, but also be clear that much of the content industry's DRM efforts haven't been
  • I don't think "Distinguished Alum Award" means what either you or your school think it does. Alum is a mineral, mostly used as an astringent (as in a styptic pencil) or in pickling. The word you want is "Alumnus."
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Monday August 27, 2007 @07:26PM (#20378585) Journal
    > How To Address A Visit from MPAA Senior VP Rich Taylor?

    I believe to correct title is 'Darth'
  • by Garwulf (708651) on Monday August 27, 2007 @11:05PM (#20380197) Homepage
    I've read through a lot of the ideas on here, and I figure it might be worthwhile to throw some of my own words into the mix.

    There are a lot of anarchists on here - they don't like to be called that, but that's what they are. There are a lot of people who wouldn't know copyright law if it hit them in the face, but insist on speaking out as though they're authorities on it. There are people here who are quiet and informed, and quiet and uninformed. There are informed brawlers, soft-spoken lawyers, writers, programmers, and pirates. And, there are a lot of people who would push their own agenda on anything that comes their way, even to the detriment of you and your class.

    Trust none of them.

    Your students are about to meet somebody who is at the heart of one of the major social issues of our time. Get them reading up on it, make sure they're reading both sides of the issue, and then leave it in their hands. Don't put your trust in Slashdot, or some online forum - if you do that, you're putting it into the hands of a bunch of people who you've probably never met, and who may not even be who they say they are. Put your trust in your students - give them what they need to be informed, and then trust them to understand it (and if they disagree with your conclusions, keep in mind that YOU could be the one who misunderstood something). The most important part of education in the end, the part that ultimately can save you from something terrible, is learning to think critically for yourself and make up your own mind. Let them do that.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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