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Theater war on the homefront?

November 29, 2006

I think its our right as consumers to own any piece of legal entertainment technology we can afford with our own legally-earned money.

Whether it’s the 56″ DLP projection HDTV, the surround-sound stereo speakers, the Blu-Ray HD-DVD player/Playstation 3 or the luxurious vibrating/heating leather recliner or any combo of the above, it’s my right to have those products in my home to enjoy movies and television with my friends and family.

The Motion Picture Association of America begs to differ, according to BBSpot. They are seeking laws to regulate large home-theater setups that can entertain more people than are in an average family.

Damn, and my industrial-sized popcorn maker was on order!

From the article (please read all the way through before blowing your top, you’ll thank me):

The MPAA is lobbying Congress to push through a new bill that would make unauthorized home theaters illegal. The group feels that all theaters should be sanctioned, whether they be commercial settings or at home.

MPAA head Dan Glickman says this needs to be regulated before things start getting too far out of control, “We didn’t act early enough with the online sharing of our copyrighted content. This time we’re not making the same mistake. We have a right to know what’s showing in a theater.”

The bill would require that any hardware manufactured in the future contain technology that tells the MPAA directly of what is being shown and specific details on the audience. The data would be gathered using various motion sensors and biometric technology.

The MPAA defines a home theater as any home with a television larger than 29″ with stereo sound and at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon. Anyone with a home theater would need to pay a $50 registration fee with the MPAA or face fines up to $500,000 per movie shown.

“Just because you buy a DVD to watch at home doesn’t give you the right to invite friends over to watch it too. That’s a violation of copyright and denies us the revenue that would be generated from DVD sales to your friends,” said Glickman. “Ideally we expect each viewer to have their own copy of the DVD, but we realize that isn’t always feasible. The registration fee is a fair compromise.

Are you laughing yet? You must be thinking “there’s no way the MPAA is this stupid desperate idiotic ridiculous.”

And you’d be right. This article is a big, fat fake.

BBSpot is a popular satire news site, but unfortunately, this story was linked to by bloggers and made the front page of very real news sites like TechMeme, and popular social news aggregators such as Digg.com. It got some very hilarious comments from unaware readers as well around the Web.

It even fooled tech columnist and cranky geek John C. Dvorak, which likely made him MORE cranky.

Why the confusion? Possibly because most fake news sites, such as The Onion, clearly state they are parody and satire. This story caught people off guard, even though, in the related articles section, the headline read: MPAA to Thwart Pirates by Making All Movies Suck.

I just hope this parody doesn’t give the MPAA any ideas. Hands off my home theater, Glickman!!!

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MPAA Lobbying for Home Theater Regulations [BBspot]

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