For the benefit of the film industry

February 12, 2007

And for the music industry too, in most of the following. First some definitions:

Theft: Taking someone else's property without their consent. After an item has been thieved, the original owner no longer has it. For example, Alice takes Bob's dictionary without his consent, and Bob can no longer look up words because he has no dictionary anymore.

Robbery: Theft carried out via violence or intimidation. For example Alice hits Bob on the head with the dictionary she stole earlier, then steals his shoes.

Piracy: Robbery carried out at sea. For example, Alice invades Bob's boat, kicks him to death with the shoes she robbed from him earlier and steals the cargo of replacement dictionaries he was shipping.

Copyright Infringement: Use of material protected by copyright law. For example, Alice looks over Bob's shoulder at the copyright-protected dictionary he is reading. She takes a photo of the page he is on and reads it from a print later.

Right, with that lot nice and clear for anyone who has had their dictionary stolen (there's a lot of it around, apparently), let's move on.

On many of my legally purchased DVDs, after the unskippable self-indulgent producer logos, before the main feature, there is a short piece of film. This film is also unskippable, and says "You wouldn't steal a car/handbag/mobile". I wouldn't, but the film's makers don't know that.

Then it goes on and says "movie piracy is a crime". Well, yes, I suppose it is. Stealing someone's DVD collection is a crime, although the theft of some DVDs seems fairly petty when put against the crimes of high-seas robbery and pillaging.

Next it says "stealing is against the law". Again, yes it is, but how's that relevant to the real subject of copyright infringement that the film is trying to talk about? More to the point, when you force someone to sit through insinuations of theft, piracy and copyright infringement just to get to the content they've legally purchased, how can you expect them not to turn to illegal sources?

Downloaded movies for example don't contain any unskippable bits. They don't hit the viewer with scary sounding threats. They don't contain adverts for other content by the same publisher, and they don't refuse to play in various different regions due to arbitrary market control attempts.

It's enough to drive you to piracy! Rant over.


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  1. Ciz says:
    February 13, 2007 @ 01:42 — Reply

    If Bob used the dictionary to perform a brute force attack against Alice's hash-encrypted message, then she's quite right to hit him over the head with it.

  2. Not a BitTorrent user, honest guv. says:
    February 13, 2007 @ 08:18 — Reply

    If they put better programmes on British TV, and sooner, one would theoretically not need to download TV shows from the States. Why is there such a delay anyway? I'm sure they can transmit the newest Prison Break, Lost or Heroes episode over to the UK via some Internet trickery way faster than BitTorrent speeds, and probably at much higher overall quality too.

    What am I going to choose, the latest Anthea Turner show (ugh) or the latest adventure or Sci-Fi romp into the imagination? Something to simply watch ('flick on the tube', as Bill Hicks eloquently puts it) or something that excites and stimulates?

  3. Rockvole says:
    February 13, 2007 @ 14:41 — Reply

    In Canada they do this UNBELIEVABLY annoying thing where you will be watching a series - say at 8 every Monday. Then the next week halfway through the series your programme will be gone and replaced with a double episode of something else they want you to start watching.
    It means you cant plan to watch series, and get used to not anticipating the following week as there is a reasonable chance it wont be on anyway. In a couple of cases this gave me time to contemplate the series and realised it wasnt worth watching anyway. And of course one day the decline in TV watching will all be blamed on piracy and not these stupid things they do to completely ruin your TV experience.
    It seems there is a trend for people to not bother watching TV anymore. It seems there is a trend for people to not bother watching it on TV and just buying the series on DVD. Hypothetically an alternative is to just download it on bittorrent where someone has thoughtfully recorded it in nice hidef and removed all the ads.
    Anyway Im off to play world of warcraft because there are too many ads on telly.

  4. stephenw32768 says:
    February 13, 2007 @ 16:06 — Reply

    In related news: HD-DVD and Blu-Ray DRM cracked:

  5. Still not a BitTorrent user says:
    February 13, 2007 @ 17:27 — Reply

    "They're like blacksmiths meeting to figure out how to protect the horseshoe racket by sabotaging railroads."

  6. Ciz says:
    March 4, 2007 @ 20:46 — Reply

    Someone took you rant and turned it into a poster!

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