Well, something had to drag me out of my self-imposed exile from Blogland, and at the same time make me write a post with YouTube videos embedded in it for the first time. What was it? It was this hilariously terrible and misguided attempt at a viral video on behalf of the film industry:
What exactly is the message behind this video? I can think of two, not necessarily exclusive ones:
- It’s perfectly OK to sell on unlicensed copyrighted material on DVDs, as long as the films on them are actually any good. Only pirating bad films is wrong.
- The “bad guy” DVD tout actually has better taste and more respect for his audience than the “good guy” movie studios and distributors he is robbing; after all, they were the ones who produced such an appalling film as Little Man and foisted it on an undeserving public in the first place. It really says something about your industry when petty criminals want to disassociate themselves from what you do for a living.
Here’s the more “serious” viral they have attempted to push out as well:
DVDs fund the drug industry? Isn’t it able to fund itself? If not, they must be absolutely shit at their job. I can just imagine the conversation between two such crap drug dealers, in their yellow three-wheel van awaiting the next mule-laden flight from Bogot? to touch down:
“Del, even though we sell a highly addictive range of products and the people in this country can’t get enough of them, we are struggling to turn a profit! We’re obviously in the wrong business – I say we quit and become chandelier repairmen again.”
“Don’t worry, Rodney, I have the perfect solution. Since our drugs business is not really that profitable, we will continue to sell them… but at the same time prop the business up by selling dodgy copies of The Da Vinci Code in ropey pubs up and down the country at two quid a pop. We’ll make all our money back in no time! This time next year we’ll be millionaires!”
“Brilliant, Del. I wonder why Rover MG didn’t think of that.”
If pirated DVDs really are “funding” the drugs racket, and if you believe that drugs are worse than pirated DVDs and that markets work, then the logical choice would be to buy more and more of them; with rising demand for DVDs, sooner or later those in charge will realise that piracy is a better trade than drugs – the hours are nicer and burning dozens of DVDs in a warm lock-up garage is a lot less hassle than extracting smack from inside condoms covered in someone else’s faeces and cutting it with a load of brick dust.
Meanwhile, by refusing to pay full whack, we are also cutting off the funds to the well-known and proven link between unpirated DVDs and the drugs trade – all those actors, directors and producers with drug habits will have their lines of revenue cut off, thus ensuring they can no longer prop up the widespread narcotics racket in their midst. It’s a win-win situation. Except for the movie studios and distributors, they’re going to get it in the shorts. But that’s OK, because if they find things are getting tough they can make it up on the side by selling pirated DVDs.
Right, time to wrap up now. Somewhere in all the scaremongering that passes for “debate” here, there are salient facts – DVD piracy is rampant, copyright law is being blatantly broken and that is undeniably a crime, and the gangs behind mass DVD piracy regard their activity as another one alongside, not supporting, other rackets such as drugs trafficking, arms dealing or people smuggling. There is a debate to be had about to how to police copyright infringement, without being heavy-handed or infringing on fair use rights, and indeed what the future holds for copyright in a digital convenience-led age. Instead, we get propaganda and outright lies from an ailing industry that is not only clueless about how to deal with the threat its profits face, but every time it tries to take the moral high ground, only ends up making itself look even worse. Someone needs to buy these people a clue, and quick.