Friday, October 14, 2005

  Let me clarify...

Piracy is the uncompensated act of distributing illegal copies. It's bad, immoral and even a crime...but it does not effect media sales. This has been proven in the marketplace again and again.

Bootlegging, on the other hand, is the illegal duplication and SALE of copyrighted media. That is a source of revenue loss and was a big problem in the US. I say was because, thanks to a market model known as 'sell-through' DVD prices are set at a point that is so low that only giant manufacturers can produce DVD's faster and cheaper. Back in 1996, the US almost put Chinese Laser Disk bootleggers out of business because $40.00 was about as low as they could go. In the US movies cost about HALF that.

The truth is that movies are so cheap to own that piracy isn't a factor. How could it be? I routinely pay $15.00 for a good sandwich here in America. Dropping $13.99 at Wlamart for a double-disk set of Pirates of the Caribbean just doesn't affect me. It's pocket change.

If box office dollars are being lost, look to or Walmart. They sell movies - THE ACTUAL MOVIES - for less than the average ticket price here in the US. How can a highly compressed DivX file compete with that? Even if it IS free?

The reason that box office dollars are low this summer movie season is because, more than not, the movies offered were horrible. Stealth? I paid money to see it. Thank god, because it is so godawful that I wouldn't waste the bandwidth to download that smoldering turd. It was ALMOST as bad as Batman and Robin...and that's saying a lot!

The reason music sales were low (by the music industry's estimations not the Wall Street Journal's interestingly enough) was because the major labels were putting out garbage. Worse yet, the music industry has chosen to demonize mp3 file sharing on college campuses when the DVD burner was the actual enemy. Why would anyone spend time file sharing an mp3 when they could get a copy from the guy next door in half the time? The RIAA and the music industry refuses to admit that an album is worth less to the average consumer than a movie. They routinely price albums above movies and the market is just unwilling to pay. No artist alive is worth $22.00 for thirty minutes of music. Drop albums to around $7.00 US and you'll triple your sales and double your money. Sell-through: a proven model for media sales since Top Gun.

Guys, piracy is wrong. I've never made any bones about that. But don't take the junk economic excuses and thug-arm legal tactics bandied about by the powers that be. Their plan is to create a world where we will literally pay per view - each and every view - for their media property. Such plans are on the table, believe me. I just want to know when I can stop paying for a movie or CD that I already own. I pay for Dish, movie tickets and DVD's. By the time The Two Towers (box set with bookends) arrived on my shelf, I had invested well over $200.00 in the damn thing. Don't you think that by now, if I wanted to download another copy while I was on the road, I'd be allowed to do so?

You tell me.

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