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Regulating for Hollywood:
The Enforcement of Copyright Laws
Pia Guyman
Academic affiliation: Oklahoma State University
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Hollywood is confident that the future in computers will bring major changes, but similarly they are taking action so that they too may have a say in what happens with technology and the laws passed. Regulations are being fashioned to prevent future hackers from duplicating products with copyrights and giving them to the public without charge. Companies are creating programs that prevent viewers from receiving free movies and songs over the Internet. There are also companies who have used the availability of the Internet to their advantage by creating products like the iPod, which infringe on copyright laws. Mike Godwin talks about these issues in his article, "Hollywood vs. the Internet." Hollywood and computer companies alike have the right to try to filter what the public can access through the Internet. If they do not start to regulate how much we can download soon it may become pointless for the public to invest in products like CDs, DVDs, or even tickets to the movie theater.

Computer programmers are working diligently to find a solution in making any kind of downloading without copyrights illegal. Godwin mentions a recent proposition made by programmers: " a ban on software, hardware, and other digital-transmission technology that does not incorporate copyright protection" (173). Though limiting access to the consumer may sound absurd this may save money in the end. If Hollywood and computer companies keep losing money, they might turn around and begin to raise prices on their products like movie tickets, DVDs, CDs or even computers. Programmers are working hard with Hollywood so the future of computers and entertainment are not destroyed by those who continue to copy documents and music illegally.

The music and movie industry have been battling with not only the public but also with high profiting companies over copyright infringement. It becomes obvious that there is a lack of copyrights security when companies can establish themselves purely off the concept of taking others work and selling it for their own earnings. To help, Orrin Hatch came up with this bill, "The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights act of 2004-the "Induce Bill" for short-would make liable anyone who "intentionally aids, abets, induces or procures" a copyright violation" (Vadasz 1). One bill alone cannot stop piracy in all of the United States, but with it they hope to cut down the amount of material that is illegally downloaded. Piracy will not stop by itself and unless action is made the staggering amount of illegal downloads will only get worse.

The Induce bill can possibly cripple the companies who thrive off the Internet and copyright infringement. IPods and other products that have the ability of being banned because the bill is left open to anyone who aides in the misuse of products. "A mock lawsuit is currently circulating on the Internet showing how iPods could be deemed illegal under the bill, and how Apple could face fines of 150,000 for each one produced; Toshiba could even face fines for making the hard drives inside them" (Vadaz 2). Though this bill would be helping the music and movie industry, it could severely hurt the manufacturing companies who would inevitably go out of business from countless lawsuits.

New programs have been created to prevent hacking but some of these programs are still a work in progress. Copyright holders have a little hope in a new program called watermarks. Godwin explains: " Invisible to viewers, the watermark would contain information telling home entertainment systems whether to allow copying and, if so, how much" (Godwin 174). If this product were to succeed the amount of illegal downloading will decrease. On the other hand, an increase in products that reduce piracy will bombard the consumer with more to purchase and spend. In the end, these programs have been created to thrive and terminate possible economic loss for music and movie industries.

Technology has brought a new trend of appliances that may spawn a problem with current users of computers who do not have updated equipment. Not everyone can afford new electrical devices, for example, older home videos may not be compatible to the new high tech DVD players. It becomes inconvenient when a person has to buy extra appliances like converters to be able to make their computer compatible to the brand new DVD that they bought. Knowing that certain products are in higher demand, like converters, may cause manufacturing companies to raise their price to make up for any net lose due to the Internet. The hassle of new products may also become bothersome to users of current equipment that may not be as advanced as systems designed to regulate the use of illegal downloading or CD burning.

Unlike Hollywood, one group accepts technologies rapid growth and is enthusiastic in allowing the consumer to gain more access of computer sites and programs. Tech Faction gives their customers the right to use almost everything over the Internet. Godwin states, " The Tech Faction believes people should be able to do whatever they want with their digital tools…" (178). Giving the public access to all products will hurt other companies because people will stop purchasing movies from the video store or CDs from the record store and instead get them at no cost over the Internet. Creditable companies like Tech Faction, who pride themselves in giving the customer everything they desire from the Internet should work with Hollywood so that both can profit from the world of computers. Ultimately, allowing the public complete access to the Internet will hurt other companies who similarly are trying to profit from their own web sites.

Computer companies and Hollywood have the right to control what the public is able to obtain over the Internet assuming that they do not become domineering and begin to raise prices and lower Internet availability. They too have to be able to promise a future where citizens all over the US and around the world will have access to the Internet. "Electronic democracy will never succeed unless there is at least the reasonable prospect that online access will be nearly universal" (Valvovic 131) This is true in that the future of computers could quickly turn if companies begin to monopolize the industry and make it difficult to afford a computer or other entertainment products like CDs or a DVD player. If these highly powered companies come up with a good solution in making the Internet accessible to everyone then there should be no reason why new laws preventing hacking and illegal copyrighting should hinder the public from enjoying all the Internet has to offer.

With a promise in Internet security Hollywood would be willing to broaden their online market. Since Hollywood lacks assured copyrights in technology world, they have had to distribute their products wisely. Meaning they have not had the freedom to put products online because there is no protection from hackers who would copy and sell their movies and TV shows. Godwin mentions: "But if Hollywood could be assured that its content would be protected on the broadband Internet, the theory goes, it would offer more compelling online content, which would inspire greater consumer demand for high-speed service" (177). The reality is that we as the consumer are lose the benefits of Hollywood making movies and TV programs more accessible to us over the Internet because there is little stopping the public from copying and selling their products.

Integrating products that Hollywood has to offer over the Internet would be beneficial to the companies whose products would then be in higher demand. For example, the more popular the Internet becomes the more likely a new trend of computer buyers will appear and soon people will buy better and more expensive high-speed service for a better connection. This benefits telephone and cable companies, motivating them to come out with up to date and more advanced products that will cost more for the conumer. The same can be said for the computer companies who are constantly competing for the next big thing. When the public sees how accessible Hollywood can actually make all of its products the Internet will thrive and be in more of a demand.

The movie, music, and computer industries are collaborating to work for a future where fear of copyright infringement is no longer. Many are already campaigning to pass laws that would stop any kind of illegal hacking and downloading of music or movies from the Internet. Programs are also being made that control the amount of downloads per computer. If laws are passed that would make it harder to access material over the Internet companies who promote consumer use are going to have to rethink their strategy. In the end, more inventions mean higher costs for the consumer who will be forced to buy products to stay caught up with technology. Hollywood and computer companies should be allowed to protect their products from the public because just like any other company, what they produce is theirs and it would not be justifiable for the public to download and copy everything they create.

Works Cited

Godwin, Mike " Hollywood vs. the Internet." Speculations An Anthology for Reading, Writing and Research. Landrum, Jason ,Matthew Wynn Sivils, and Constance Squires, eds. Duduque: Kendall/hunt, 2003.173-78

Vadasz, Les. "A Bill That Chills." The Wall Street Journal 21 July 2004. 17 Sept. 2004 .

Valovic, Thomas. Digital Mythologies The Hidden Complexities of the Internet. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000.

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