opinion piece posted by

Hysteria in the media.


This poster is dotted round London at the moment (click on thumbnail for larger size). What bugs me is not the drive against dvd piracy per se, but the fact that they’re peddling an hysterically exaggerated set of facts,  cloaked in a sinister pseudo-official veneer (note the violent staged police arrest), in order to drive their economic agenda. Do these people care a jot about crime on our streets, or is it all about profit? What do you think?

Their actual ‘facts’ as presented amount to a handful of arrests where the premises contained ‘quantities of drugs’ (e.g. in one case 11 wraps of speed!) and various other things like counterfeit currency. Hardly front page stuff!

This type of wanton fear mongering is totally out of proportion when set against real social problems like domestic violence, racial attacks, murder and other nasties. And let’s not mention how irresponsible entertainment industry leaders like Sony have proved to be in burying rootkit malware in people’s legitimately purchased music. There’s something seriously wrong here, and it’s about time that the entertainment industry as a whole was brought to heel.

 ‘The True Price of DVD Piracy is Crime on Our Streets. Right across the UK, DVD piracy is linked with criminal activity, including: Drug Crime, Money Laundering, Benefit Fraud, People Trafficking, And Violence. Face Facts: Piracy is not a victimless crime’.


  • The problem seems to me to be the application of the most basic legal approach of “going after the deepest pockets”. There is little point in going after backstreet duplicators in third world countries, because siezing stock doesn’t stop the problem. I was in a neighbouring Middle-Eastern country two weeks ago where current box office hits were available on DVD for 35p each. There is nothing to sue here, no way to close off all the supply lines.

    The approach being taken by the Entertainment Industry is analagous to the anti-drug campaign – that is to kill of demand by scaring away the “users”.

    If the music industry had acknowledged that production costs for downloaded mp3’s was virtually nothing, then a huge audience of people like myself would have happily paid a “reasonable” subscription to download music from the back catalouge. Music you used to own on vinyl; music you always wanted to own etc. The problem was that the insisted that you pay 200x prices for 196x music – and millions turned to Napster. Having done that, having taken the “soft drug”, many (not me of course…) used the same sources for new music.

    Now the same scenario is being played out in relation to DVD’s. Like many others, I will only buy DVD’s I want to watch multiple times. For the rest we have Blockbuster. So I resent paying twenty quid for a copy of “Dr Strangelove”.

    While I don’t have the banwidth to waste on DVD downloads I will remain honest. But this will change when a Napster-a-like makes this easy…

    Conclusion? A bunch of industry managers who can’t adapt to new technologies are always doomed to fail. Fire them now, and hire the originators of the P2P sites.

  • Nice points Huw. I agree, and think that what makes it all the worse is that they are so underhand and hypocritical about it. It’s OK for their industry to ride roughshod over users, and over the copyrights of others – as we’ve seen with Sony failing to honour license requirements of Lame in their DRM scheme – but if anyone else makes a mistake, they’re jumping up and down like the world is ending. It’s just getting beyond a joke really. And I say that as someone who has a vested interest in keeping their IP intact as a writer. :-)

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