Demonstration at the Oscars?

Posted 31 Aug 2000 at 17:41 UTC by hiller Share This

So, a good number of people -- particularly people with great concern for civil liberties, and a large number of free/open-source software developers and enthusiasts -- are greatly upset and dismayed by the actions the U.S. motion picture industry is taking to suppress unlicensed DVD descramblers (DeCSS, the css-auth module of LiViD, etc.) It's occurred to me that organizing a demonstration at the same time and near-as-possible the same place as a high profile film industry event would be a productive way to make our displeasure known. It would help raise awareness of the issue, and might even make it part of the national dialogue, which it really hasn't been as of yet.

Which high-profile event would we want to go with? The Academy Awards in March seem like a pretty obvious choice to me. If people think this is a good idea, the only real challenge'll be to distill the essence of what we're talking about to sound-bite-sized quotes. So, what do you all think? Good idea, bad idea, indifferent?

Be civil, be clear., posted 31 Aug 2000 at 19:57 UTC by tripp » (Journeyer)

A demonstration is a great idea. As I pointed out in my attempt to foment rebellion over on slashdot, it's incredibly important that our community, especially those being publicly vocal, come to some consensus about what the real issues are, and be civil, calm, and rational in our exposition of them.

That means we need to make it clear that artists have rights and consumers have rights, that the two are compatible, and that artists and consumers, as groups of individuals, can reach a stable, symbiotic relationship. Without the industry's "gentle" guidance.

The bottom line is that creators need to be reassured that consumers will feed them, even in the absence of laws designed to curtail individual freedoms. As creators of software, I'm sure we can all relate to the need to know whence comes our next meal. Let's not forget that we're artists, too.

Remember, the fundamental "battle", if it must be so, is between individuals (artists and consumers) and rapacious, greedy corporations.

(P.S. In the wake of my /. post, I've had it suggested that I'm down on the idea of profit and the idea of corporations. Far from it. I'm down on those institutions excluding fair and just commerce between individuals, and doing so with an air of righteous criminalization. As someone pointed out recently, the quote is not "money is the root of all evil", but "the love of money is the root of all evil.")

Any prominent actors on our side?, posted 31 Aug 2000 at 20:43 UTC by philhunt » (Journeyer)

Does anyone know of any prominent actors or other individuals in the movie industry who are pro-DeCSS and against the MPAA's campaign to stamp out freedom?

Perhaps we could persuade them to join a pro-DeCSS press conference, or something similar.

Great idea!, posted 31 Aug 2000 at 21:18 UTC by sab39 » (Master)

The Oscars are on the west coast somewhere, right? That probably rules out me physically attending, but here are some thoughts on good "sound bytes"...

"The MPAA has pushed through a law that makes singing this song and wearing this T-Shirt illegal"

"This has nothing to do with Napster - people on both sides of the Napster issue agree that DeCSS should be legal" [even people inside the community suffer this confusion, so you just know that the press will]

Actually, I was just the other day thinking about protests and imagining a bunch of people singing the Descramble song in the streets. I suggest printing up the words and music and handing them out to demonstrators - it's not an easy song to memorize :)

I suggest also printing out leaflets stating our case with the source code printed on the back. Make it clear that possessing the leaflet is not a crime, but that giving it to somebody else may be...

Other thoughts? Maybe protests in other regions for other events... are there any major NY events for us east-coasters? (my home town of Philadelphia seems to have largely missed its chance in the spotlight... I guess Philadelphians just aren't effective protestors ;) )

But how to get eyeball time?, posted 31 Aug 2000 at 22:41 UTC by jim » (Master)

Cameramen have lots of stars to shoot during the awards. I'm not sure a bunch of people singing an incomprehensible song is going to get air time. You will need to be on the news to be heard and you will need a striking visual image to get on the news during the awards.

How about people dressed only in either DeCSS source code or legitimate home made backup copies of movies? Challenge the MPAA to take away your DeCSS then! Perhaps someone with some fashion sense could post a set of instructions for turning printouts into various clothing items?

Local LUGS, posted 1 Sep 2000 at 01:15 UTC by MarkF » (Journeyer)

Something like this could be organized with the help of the local LA Lugs. Check out The LA Lugs page to find them all. I'd be willing to get my lug out there.
Is the MPAA/DVDCCA at all associated with the Academy of Motion Picture Art's and Sciences? If not, we'd need to make sure the press knows who our beef is really with.

Proposed last year, posted 1 Sep 2000 at 02:24 UTC by schoen » (Master)

A protest at the Academy Awards was propsed in February by several people, inluding some 2600 staff. Somebody at the EFF was even looking into permits, maybe not officially as an EFF rep. It didn't come together quickly enough, though.

Most films which get the most attention at the ceremonies are MPAA member studio productions, though not all.

If this gets a good enough head start, it could happen. Anybody for a mailing list? I bet crackmonkey would put one up right away...

Good idea!, posted 7 Sep 2000 at 21:34 UTC by jwcheung » (Journeyer)

Well it's not too early to get organized. MPAA representation IS guaranteed at the Oscars. Even if the overlap between the Academy and the MPAA is not perfect, movie people will get the message. If anyone is going ahead with preparations, let me know how I can help.

Great Idea!!, posted 9 Sep 2000 at 20:07 UTC by nyberg » (Journeyer)

I totally agree, I would totally want to see a demonstration at the Oscar's... To bad it's in the US and I'm in sweden :(

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