Video Privacy Protection Act

Bixby Bridge

Bixby Bridge

I like to watch movies, I always have. I have watched many of them. When I was young, I would watch movies on TV. When I was in high school, I loved Bill Kennedy’s afternoon movie on WKBD (Channel 50) in Detroit. When I met Anne and had someone to go to the movies with, we would go to a movie theater almost every week. First came love, then came marriage, then came le Marquis pushing a baby carriage. Fortunately, the boys’ arrival coincided with the age of Blockbuster. VHS technology morphed to DVD, which has now been subsumed by online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. This brings us up to the present, where I find myself watching more movies than ever.

Longtime readers of this blog will know that when I find a particularly noteworthy show, I like to comment on it. I don’t think that I am violating the Video Privacy Protection Act, when I do this. The what, you ask? Please note that I said video privacy and not video piracy. The Video Privacy Protection Act is a general ban on the disclosure of personally identifiable rental information unless the consumer consents specifically and in writing.

It was originally enacted to protect people like me from Blockbuster who wanted to sell our rental information. Netflix is lobbying to change the law, so that it can share viewing history on Facebook. I guess with the idea that if I watch a movie and Netflix/Facebook broadcasts it then they’ll want to watch it too. I figure that I’m OK with my blogging about the movies that I watch, because in these cases I am the consumer and I write about each specific movie. I’m no lawyer, but I watch lawyers in movies.

Last weekend a friend from work, at least I think that we are still friends, wrote on my Facebook wall, “You lie!” He had attempted to watch a movie that I had recommended and had also blogged about, “Iron Sky“. I’ll be the first to admit that this movie is really out there. It is campy and certainly not for everyone, but I thought that it would work for this friend. I guess that I’m just a poor judge of taste, when it comes to Nazis from outer space. Don’t worry; I have no intention to report said person’s violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act.

Moving along, I do have a new movie to recommend, “Man from Earth”. This movie is also in the science fiction genre. Here is a brief synopsis: an impromptu goodbye party for a college professor becomes a mysterious interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he never ages and has walked the earth for 14,000 years. Another friend from work had recommended it to me and it sounded so good that I watched it that night. It was produced in 2007. It looks like a made for TV movie, but the cast is good; you’ll recognize their faces, if not their names. This movie is a thought piece, there is no action, just dialog. It is the dying work of writer, Jerome Bixby. I wished that I could have somehow worked Bill Bixby, star of the TV series, “My Favorite Martian”, into this post. Oh wait, I just did.

Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth

Jerome Bixby’s The Man from Earth

4 thoughts on “Video Privacy Protection Act

  1. Hey man keep up your blog its great!

    I just started my first blog and need help getting some traffic! My blog is called MovieswithMusic and its a daily post of a kickass movie trailer and a tune weather it be a music video or audition anything you can Jam to! i was wondering if you could help me?

  2. I’m showing my age in telling you that I remember Bill Kennedy’s afternoon movie show. I remember he used to comment about movies and movie stars, and would take calls on the air – sometimes he argued with the callers (even though he was often wrong) about who was in what movie, etc. (This was long before Google, IMDb, or even the Internet, of course)

    You probably also remember Rita Bell’s Four O’Clock Movie show. Also, you may remember running home from school to catch the movies during the annual “Godzilla Week”.

    Thanks for this trip down memory lane. (Keep posting those nice Michigan photos, too!)

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