You know those ads before movies, that try to scare you about pirate movies? The ones that incidentally don’t appear on illegally downloaded movies?
They take different angles in different countries, but the basic message is that piracy is stealing, and wrong, and dangerous. They used to play on people’s fears of bringing home a bootleg video of Bambi only to have a squashed and stretched, grainy picture and a house full of crying children who will never respect you again. Then, as pirate copies stopped being a potential waste of money and became free, the “stealing is wrong” angle was introduced. In Britain, anyway, the ads equated downloading mpegs with assaulting someone for their purse or breaking into a car for its radio.
I have a problem with that. It’s not that I think piracy is perfectly ok- but the act of downloading one video is a victimless crime. The situation where nobody pays for entertainment means people in the industry lose money, sure, but by downloading something, you don’t deprive anyone of their money or movie. It’s not stealing if the original owner still has their dvd. It’s not stealing if someone copies a movie and gives it to you, any more than it was stealing when we used to listen to the radio and hit record just as the song started. It’s not theft. It’s illegal, and it damages the industry, but it’s not stealing. Just because something isn’t mine to start with and then I obtain it without paying, doesn’t make it theft. If I go into a shop and physically take a copy of the dvd home with me, then the shop or rental place has been deprived of a dvd. They lose money.
Someone might say that by obtaining a free movie, a won’t buy a movie or rent one, so then I am depriving the industry of my custom, and losing them money. The thing is, I never really spent much on movies. Movies are expensive. I don’t like going to the cinema, because there are idiots there who laugh at the worst bits, and there are years of ads before the film, and the food is so expensive, you can’t pause to go pee and I just like the comfort of being at home when I watch something. Renting movies is expensive too, and you always have to rent a few because movies are mostly shit. Hint: If the box says “funniest film of the year” or “your sides will split” or “laugh- a- minute” it means it’s a piece of shit with a few obvious jokes that will have already been shown to you in the trailer, and you’ll just spend the whole film waiting for that bit that looked funny to come up. So many movies are shit, and any time a good one comes out it’s too short and then it’s over. Then you get that sinking feeling that you have to wait at least a year before something watchable, because you just watched a good movie and that’s how it works.
If I pay for it, and then it’s a piece of crap, the fact that I paid just means that they will make more crap like it. I propose a system where you can watch the first 10 minutes of anything, and if you don’t want to keep watching, you don’t have to pay. They could work out some way of tracking how much of a dvd rental you watched, and I’d happily pay for the rest of the film if it looked interesting or funny. I have no problem paying for entertainment, but most of the stuff being churned out these days is utter garbage and you have to start watching 10 bad movies just to get to one that is a tolerable way to pay an hour and a half. That’s expensive and frustrating.
And seriously, enough of the books, comics, toys and Disneyland rides being made into films. Screenwriters are being deprived of income because a book that sold well wants to straddle the different media- I think that’s wrong. By the logic of the piracy ads, that’s stealing too, because it makes screenwriters lose potential income. And another thing- I’m really sick of how obnoxious all the characters in kids movies are. Why does a giraffe have crippling neuroses and take pills? Why do children have to suffer animals with psychiatrists? Oh stop, brain, let’s not go there now.