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Film makers join revulsion at Pepsi RIAA doublespeak

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Award-winning film maker and Apple user Brian Flemming has become the second artist to release his critique of the now notorious SuperBowl commercial, which promoted Apple's iTunes store.

Documentary film maker James Saldana posted his annoted version here.

Now director Flemming, who created the intriguing spoof documentary Nothing So Strange about reaction to the fictional assassination of Bill Gates [our report - official website] has juxtaposed the idealism of Apple's 1984 Superbowl commercial with its Pepsi-sponsored, RIAA-blessed counterpart.

"I'm still a huge Apple fan, as I have been for years," explains Brian on his weblog. "Apple's products have had a huge, and positive, influence on my life. That's why I'm so let down by Apple's involvement in this propaganda. Pepsi sells slow poison to children - it's hardly surprising that they'd stoop to this. From Apple I expected better."

In Orwell's 1984, Flemming reminds us, "Television is a key device used by The Party to lie to citizens and keep them afraid and obedient… Facts that The Party finds contrary to its purpose are dropped down the Memory Hole, and new facts are manufactured to replace them."

Fast forward 20 years, and a few facts have dropped down:

"Despite Apple/Pepsi's wording, no target of the RIAA suits was charged with a crime ... However, many parents and kids watching this commercial are likely unaware of the fact. Fear is a primary means used by The Party to maintain control over expression in 1984."

"Fear is also a potent weapon used by the RIAA to exert control over the behaviour of music fans," adds Flemming, noting the fraudulent use of paramilitary tactics< to bust a 4 foot 11 inch high Mexican parking lot attendant in Los Angeles before Christmas. (Although it doesn't seem to be working.)

The video concludes with this image, which invites us to ponder the question of whether the billionaire founder has become everything he once loathed:

Don't think too different

As you can see from the reaction, Flemming received a few of the same identikit AstroTurf responses that we received about the subject (although with a little more vernacular:

how the f&%$ did Apple get lumpped in with them??? The FACTS are that if you want to do business in the music industry then you MUST deal with the RIAA no matter who you are Apple or Napster or Walmart etc.... Who do you think is holding up the use of ITMS in Canada, Europe, Austrailia etc?????? hmmmmm could it be the record lables, and maybe the RIAA???? hmmmmmm i wonder..... DUMB ASSES!!!! all of em..... - writes one die-hard Apple dingbat.

Clearly Apple has a short-term interest in promoting DRM, but in the long-term, it is wise not to bet the farm on the RIAA's tactics succeeding. And it surely hasn't.

As Jim Griffin pointed out last week here, Apple's iTunes music store will have a rosy future: as a portal onto flat free services. The iTunes store exists only to sell iPods. With 'piracy' decriminalized, demand for iPods would go through the roof. But it will be a brave or foolhardy Apple shareholder who wants to argue against a model that could revive the arts and our civic spaces - and technology investment - for the cost of a $99 cent download per week. Why would anyone argue against that? That would be plain irrational.

But such people exist. Irrationality abounds in this parallel universe, as the satirical reaction to an earlier, brief shower of falling AstroTruf illustrated in 2002 - "Apple users demand higher prices, worse treatment".

With over half the votes counted in our poll, 14 per cent of Register readers would happily allow their children to eat worms on television for Apple Computer for no fee. As the POTUS himself might ask: "What values are our kids supposed to be learning, here?"

We'll tot up the final scores and present them to you in an exciting multimedia format very soon. Is there a statistician who can help us with this important research? ®

Post-iTunes Compensation Models

Free legal downloads for $6 a month. DRM free. The artists get paid. We explain how...
Why wireless will end 'piracy' and doom DRM and TCPA - Jim Griffin
Blur/Banff Proposals 2002 [PDF, 473kb]/a>

Related Link

'We Will Bury Them In Their Own Confusion' - Flemming's Critique of Apple-Pepsi ad

Related Stories

iPod owner's open letter to Apple
Apple family values - Pepsi TV row rumbles on
Apple users' disgust at RIAA's Pepsi child ad
Double Jeopardy for kids caught in Pepsi Apple promo

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