FACT on piracy?

There is a newscast that got to me in the middle of the night (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25575298).

Now, let me start that I am not in favour of digital piracy in any way. I have had a fortunate live, so for the most, I could go to the cinema and enjoy the big screen. At times I got to buy a DVD/Blu-ray, so I could enjoy the quality of the movie at home.

What gets to me is this quote “A spokesperson for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said that piracy puts jobs in the entertainment industry at risk and prevented future investment in entertainment.

This spokesperson needs to take a hard look at himself/herself in the mirror in regards to the ‘BS’ (as I personally see it) that is proclaimed by said spokesperson! Why?

The 25 most profitable movies represented in the US alone $5.2 billion dollars. At the top is Iron Man 3 which did $400 million in the US, but did an awesome $1.2 billion worldwide. So, there is no future danger to investments, there is a truckload of money to be made there and greed is trump. An additional interesting fact is that the second Hobbit movie is on that top 25 too. It made over 200 million in one week, so lighten up FACT!

Perhaps FACT needs to take a new look at the message they are proclaiming. What angers me is that this is pretty much the same BS Sony ‘voiced’ gave when all that music was shared in the early 90’s (when the US had similar poverty numbers) on how much damage they had.

These people do not realise that a large portion of the US and the EEC is in such a recession that the people cannot afford the luxury of going to the cinema (or buying a DVD for that matter). In the US the poverty line now hits 1 for every 7 Americans, so it is time for FACT to wake up! In the UK things are slightly better, but only 1.1% better, making it 1 in 7 as well. So, perhaps FACT would like to take that into consideration before blaming dangers to piracy?

Who downloads movies?

Well, the main group here in my view remains the student population (who can hardly make ends meet as school fees go up and up). In addition I must state that this does not OK the transgression, but consider that these people have little options to see anything. Prices go up, yet students end up with less and less. The second group is the poverty group, who likely have no internet, but rely on a friendly neighbour to burn them a DVD. I am not saying that this is good, legal or acceptable! I am just saying that perhaps setting the right dimension might help ‘comprehension’ for those who cannot afford any of it anyway.

the second quote that the BBC gave “Piracy threatens the livelihoods of over 1.5 million people whose jobs rely on the continued success of films, TV programmes and other forms of entertainment that are created in the UK.” reads a little better, but I fear that this is slightly disjointed. We dealt with films, but we did not deal with TV programs. There we see that the big ‘winner’ is Game of Thrones (HBO) the quote that another site gave me “It also seems that those involved in Game of Thrones are not too worried by the levels of piracy around their show.

This does not make it OK, but consider that these series can only be watched with a subscription and that in the UK and the US 1 in 7 is below the poverty line. The financial situation in many European countries is not that much better, then perhaps those involved should realise that they, for the most are not doing that bad. Forbes showed an additional side to the HBO dilemma (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/10/international-audiences-have-few-choices-to-legally-watch-hbos-game-of-thrones/). Consider that the three pirated TV series that truly jump out are all HBO series. Can FACT explain how these poverty driven families can shell out $50 a month for cable? And, even those making minimum wage (which is only marginally better than poverty) can often not afford any of the choices FACT would deem acceptable.

So, and your truly (meaning me!), did I ever watch an illegal movie version? (I never downloaded it!) Yes, I did once. It was Star Wars Episode One and I only watched it because the Movie was launched 4 months later in the Dutch cinema then in the US (an unacceptable time-lag for such a movie). I still watched it in the cinema, I bought the DVD and later the Blu-Ray and so they got more than their money’s worth!

So, is there a real issue?

Depends on how you look at it. From my point of view, the bulk of those downloading the movies and/or TV series cannot afford them in any way, which means that there would never have been a sale to begin with. Those who are above that mark are a decreasing population. As TV series and movies are offered via iTunes, consoles and other digital media for just a few dollars, getting the series (or movie) in that way would be preferable to many viewers, especially as those versions tend to be of better quality. The growth in sales as claimed by some (an increase of 40% in digital sales), means that the tide is shifting. The biggest group that remains has no way of buying it ever under the economic pressures they face.

Yes, you might have a case against these people, but consider how movies claim to make so many billions. Do they really want to go on a hunt for those who live below poverty? Has it truly come to this?

How about we use all that effort to get these people a ‘decent’ income?

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1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media

One response to “FACT on piracy?

  1. Pingback: You keep what you kill | Lawrence van Rijn - Law Lord to be

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