Yesterday I went to the New York Public Library to see Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to her”, as part of a series of Almodovar’s films screenings in the NYPL. But, to my surprise, the screening (and remainder ones) had been cancelled.

I talked to the person in the information desk, and she told me that the collecting society (that would be the despicable SGAE, which does not even deserve a link in my blog) and Almodovar’s Production company (El Deseo Producciones) had raised what they had previously been asking for as royalties or compensation for the (free) screening of the (not in movie theater) films, and the amount they were now asking was so high, the NYPL could not afford it, so they had to cancel the screenings.

Although obvious, my comments, surely shared by most people with more than one money-obsessed-short-term-neuron, are:

GREED: By asking for too much and “breaking the deal”, they get nothing.

SELF-DEFEAT: This does not only work against the publicity of Almodovar’s films, but also generates very bad press.

AGAINST-CULTURE: Forcing a free public movie screening in a not-for-profit library is definitely not defending culture (which is what those people constantly defend in the media and in front of politicians when talking about “copyrights” and “rights”, and “royalties”, etc).

CRIMINALS RUNNING THE SHOW: several members of SGAE’s former board of directors are up to their neck in formal accusations (pending trial) for money embezzlement, corruption, and other “cultural acts” such as paying for prostitutes and champagne and dinners for politicians with the royalties collected, after police investigation in Operation Saga.

And while the PSOE political party made all efforts possible to accomodate SGAE’s requests, demands (like Sinde’s Anti-Download Law, demanded in conjunction with the USA ambassador in Madrid at the request of the MPAA), and privileges, it does not look like the new PP government is going to improve things for culture (PP’s new Culture Minister considers killing bulls in “bull fights” is culture and needs “support and protection” with public money, in time of severe education budget cuts, although most spaniards oppose “bull fighting”) or internet users.