In the 90s, the recording industry went after Napster and tried a case in the media that had no standing in the courts. There was, at the time, no law that declared the downloading of songs to be illegal - it was, at most, a murky gray area waiting for court or legislative clarification - but the recording industry, along with their criminal colleagues in the movie and television industries, hammered the public with the claim that there was until the court of public opinion was so solidly on their side that they could roll right over any opposition. This was followed in 1998 by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), written almost entirely by industry insiders and one of the greatest legal travesties ever foisted upon the American public. The DMCA upended decades (at least) of legal precedent and handed unimaginable power to the entertainment industry, power that is abused on a daily basis with bullying, unjustified "take down" notices and "civil" trials that fine average citizens more for downloading music than corporations get for causing grievous bodily harm. In the middle of this end run around all common sense, copyright ownership, which was intended by the nation's founders to be for a short time and for the benefit of public interests, was extended to "life of the creator plus 75 years". There is not one of these legal changes that benefits We the People, but everyone of them is tailor-made to benefit the recording, movie, and television industries at the expense of We the People.
And it keeps getting worse.
The entertainment mafia has been whining for so long about piracy cutting into their profits that people have stopped listening. (It couldn't have anything to do with poor quality product and the entertainment industry's adamant refusal to adapt to modern business realities, could it?) Now they're complaining about movie rentals cutting into their profits. Rather than attempt to come up with a new business model that addresses this so-called issue, the movie industry's plan is to pressure major rental outlets into accepting a new scheme where movies do not become available for rent until after they have been available for sale for one month. The rental outlets would probably make money on this deal because the only way they would play along is if the movie studios cut them in on a major bulk rate deal for their movie purchases. The only people who would lose out on this price fixing scam would be the rental customers. You don't actually believe the rental outlets would pass along those savings, do you?
The thing is, price fixing is exactly what it would be. If any other industry were colluding in this manner, they would be pounded with the anti-trust hammer. So why is the entertainment mafia immune from such considerations? Never mind the fact that this is one of the dumbest business ideas ever. There is zero chance that making rental customers wait an extra month is going to cause any noticeable increase in movie sales. Rental customers are already used to waiting and most of them will just wait a little longer. For that small percentage that absolutely must see the movie the day it hits DVD? The only logical conclusion is to expect an increase in piracy, the exact opposite of what those geniuses in the industry want.
Of course, maybe it isn't stupid. Maybe a measurable increase in piracy actually is what they want. Then they could use that excuse to flex their muscle and demand laws like the ones currently causing all the rage in Europe. You know, the ones that say that, if you are accused three times of copyright violations, you lose your internet connection for life. Yes, you read that right, "accused" and "for life". How's that for a nice, happy due-process thought?
What's that? You say it can't happen here because we have laws to prevent that? So do they. The European Convention on Human Rights - which, for human rights issues, functions for them much the way the Bill of Rights is supposed to function for us - states categorically in Article 6.2, "Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law." I'm not sure whether or not they have "punishment fit the crime" provisions but, since much of our law was based in British Common Law, I'd bet they do. It doesn't stop them any more than it stops us, in some states, from locking up people for life for stealing a pack of bubblegum.
The entertainment industry, as it exists today, is a criminal organization that strives to use force to maintain their profits because they are too lazy to try to run a business. They will continue to do so as long as we let them. Stand up and make your voice heard. Just Say No to organized crime running our legal system.