Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I don't wanna be a pirate

In January 2005 I stayed in Quezon City in the Philippines. One of my most vivid memories of that trip was was walking through MegaMall and repeatedly having local traders surreptitiously attempting to offer me pirated DVDs, which of course I refused to buy.

DVD piracy is rampant in Australia. According to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA), illegal DVDs, which are often openly sold at suburban markets and computer swap meets, deprive the film and television industry of an estimated $82 million in lost revenue annually. Law enforcement agencies claim that international organised crime syndicates use film piracy to finance other activities including drug trafficking, terrorism, and prostitution. 

This comes as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which has long been combating film piracy, published a report which alongside markets in the Ukraine, Beijing, Toronto, and Rio, names Caribbean Gardens and Market, a tacky market in suburban Melbourne, as one of the world's worst film piracy hot spots.  

In response to this news, one host of a morning talkback radio program invited his listeners to call and answer the question of whether or not they buy illegal copies of DVDs. One caller justified it because he felt that film companies rip off consumers because cinema tickets are too expensive, and it costs $30.00 to buy a legitimate DVD. Never mind that many retailers and discount home entertainment stores often discount these items, using them as loss leaders to attract customers into their stores, so the consumer rarely has to pay full retail price anyway. $30.00 may be the average recommended retail price of a new release, but as with other technology products, if you're patient the price will eventually come down.

Film piracy costs jobs, funds organised crime, and short changes the consumer by giving them an inferior product and film viewing experience. If you sell or buy illegal copies of films, you are committing theft. 

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