Archive for January, 2012

By Joan Brunwasser

Film Website and Action Page

JB: My guest today is the Pen. Welcome to OpEdNews! Before we get started, can you please tell our readers a little about the Pen, who you are and what you do?

P: The Pen happens to be my full, legal name. But people call me just Pen, and I like that. I started my life as an internet policy activist, and have worked many years to facilitate the voices of others to speak out for policy advocacy. And I have also been responsible for creating various creative media projects in the past relating to policy issues. In this case, I had a vision of producing a full feature length film, The Last War Crime, about what it would have been like if Dick Cheney had already been indicted for torture, if justice had already prevailed, and at the same time produce an entertaining and suspenseful movie. At the end, there is a classic movie race against time, will the heroine succeed in getting Cheney served live with the arrest papers, or will they intercept her before she can do that?

JB: Is this your first effort, Pen?

P: For a full length feature film, yes. But I have worked closely with actors before to get performances. I wrote and produced a 40-minute radio play that got some exposure, and when the health care reform debate was happening, I wrote some video spots addressing that, and produced those with a full camera crew, so that gave me the confidence to tackle a larger project like this. And with the valiant help of many extraordinarily talented cast and crew members, we pulled off the production.

Busted: BitTorrent Pirates at Sony, Universal and Fox

With increasing lobbying efforts from the entertainment industry against BitTorrent sites and users, we wondered whether these companies hold themselves to the same standards they demand of others. After some initial skimming we’ve discovered BitTorrent pirates at nearly every major entertainment industry company in the US, including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox Entertainment and NBC Universal. Busted.

Read the whole piece. And get mad. Really mad. Don’t take it anymore.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.

Like the WTO this supra-national treaty aims to clamp down on the global internet in the same way that SOPA/PIPA would have clamped down inside the United States.

See the Wikipedia page for ACTA.

The bad news: Obama’s henchmen have already signed the treaty:

Signed 1 October 2011
Location Tokyo
Signatories United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea


Opponents have argued that the treaty will restrict fundamental civil and digital rights, including the freedom of expression and communication privacy.[7] “The bulk of the WTO’s 153 members” have raised concerns that treaty could distort trade and goes beyond the existing Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.[8] Opponents also criticize ACTA’s removal of “legal safeguards that protect Internet Service Providers from liability for the actions of their subscribers” in effect giving ISPs no option but to comply with privacy invasions.[9] According to an analysis by the Free Software Foundation, ACTA would require that existing ISPs no longer host free software that can access copyrighted media, and DRM-protected media would not be legally playable with free or open source software.[10]

This is pretty huge, the alleged “huge problem” of lost revenue due to internet piracy:

Finally, in 2010, the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that these figures “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology.”

How Copyright Industries Con Congress

Of the total $6.1 billion in annual losses LEK estimated to MPAA studios, the amount attributable to online piracy by users in the United States was $446 million—which, by coincidence, is roughly the amount grossed globally by Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

I would never label someone a Copyright Nazi Bitch, but if some viewers got that vibe…

Sign petition today and pass it on. The internet is rebelling against these authoritarian censorship measures.

Saving Private Perez (2011)

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , ,

Saving Private Perez

Joe Giambrone

A Mexican action-comedy that delivers a solid story. I loved this movie. It remained true to itself throughout and it brought some unlikely characters into the middle of the American invasion of Iraq, while keeping a distance from the American propaganda about that fiasco.

Crime boss Julian Perez, the most feared man in Mexico, is given one chance at forgiveness by his dying mother. Julian’s brother, a US soldier, has been captured in the initial stages of the Iraq War (crime). Julian must assemble a crack team of Mexican badasses to infiltrate Iraq and locate the captured brother before those holding him decide to execute him.

With the classic ticking clock, the blood is thicker than water theme, and the hilarious stylistic choices particularly the costumes, Julian accepts his mission to become an unlikely hero. A near impossible task pits his clearly out of place pistoleros against the Iraqi fighters as well as the American army. In order to find the secret location where the prisoners are kept the Mexicans go through hell. They choose no sides, and they remain focused on the one goal of bringing Juan Perez back to his mother in Mexico.

For such an obvious comedy, the film was actually played straight with deadly serious action and some plausible tactical situations. They did get silly every now and then to mix it up and let you off the hook, but all in all a very gripping tale that would have played US theaters if Americans could read subtitles.

It’s out on DVD now where it can be rented or bought and likely will be a hit with Mexican-American audiences. Viva Mexico!