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My view: Hollywood should not force SOPA bill

Ryan McDowell

Published: Friday, Jan. 27 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

John Morton, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at podium, is seen behind a computer display at a news conference to announce a new initiative to fight Internet piracy, including illegal movie downloads, on a sound stage at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

Reed Saxon, Associated Press

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My condolences to Hollywood on losing traction in its recent battle to push the SOPA/PIPA bills through Congress. I thought I would share a few thoughts on the matter.

You see, I work in the entertainment industry, thus making me one of the people whose jobs Hollywood is supposedly trying to save with this legislation. Yet I have a very different opinion on the matter. I believe the problem of piracy lies at their feet, the fault is Hollywood's.

Once again, Hollywood refuses to evolve with the times. Instead of trying to push legislation down consumers' throats and pout while it loses vast amounts of revenue, why not start taking steps in a direction that will not only benefit them, but benefit customers and those Hollywood employs as well, like me?

The truth is, no matter what Hollywood does to try to constrict piracy, it will always exist. Before the revolution of the Internet, people would take camcorders inside of theaters and videotape products to be sold on the street. The majority of people preferred to pay more money to see the film in the format Hollywood provided based on the fact that the quality of the product and the experience were far superior than the shaky hand-cam acquired from the scary looking man in a trench coat.

The same can be said for piracy over the Internet. Why not create an online store like iTunes and offer a better product minus the ridiculous pop-up ads that scream "Congratulations! You've won $1,000!" you get when visiting a pirating site and make the download of the highest quality possible?

You might think that Hollywood already does that, but the problem is it offers the consumer a digital copy for the same price as a physical copy even though Hollywood saves money on packaging, shipping, labeling, shelving, advertisement and many other things. How is this fair?

If Hollywood wants a win-win for everybody, it should take these steps: Open the vaults and digitize every title available. Create a convenient program that people can easily use to purchase goods from the comfort of their homes. Offer these products at a FAIR price, not an agreed-upon standard randomly come up with. Encode the products with a digital key that unlocks the product only to the consumer willing to pay a little extra for better quality and ownership.

I'm sure people would be willing to pay a little extra not only for better quality, but to be rid of viruses, pop-ups and a feeling of doing something wrong.

Or Hollywood could just try to force unconstitutional legislation restricting basic rights such as due process onto the people who pay its bills.

Ryan McDowell works in various departments of the film industry and is a proud resident of Utah.

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