Importance: The New Economy

The Truth About Movie Piracy


I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I thought this would be something worth hanging on the internet for people to read as they walk by.

Defending the Undefendable

I'm not going to defend piracy. The laws are clear about copyright infringement, and even though peer to peer networking was not specifically outlined in the letter of the law it definitely violates the spirit. That being said, lets talk about the stupid behavior and big lies that are going on within the film industry about peer to peer movie piracy.

Don't hurt the little guy

What started me on this tirade was going to the movies and seeing the "helpful" public service announcement from the movie industry about why I shouldn't pirate movies. The PSA features several regular blue collar people who work on the movies as carpenters, electricians, etc. asking you not to pirate movies because they have to feed their kids. Look, the movie industry isn't going anywhere. These people will still have jobs. The part that gets me is that, the regular people featured in these clips don't get any extra money based on the success of a movie. That privilege is reserved for industry fat cats, highly paid actors, and directors, but Steven Spielberg standing in front of a mansion saying "Don't Pirate" really doesn't make you well up with sympathy. On a non holiday weekend the top 20 movies grossed almost 99 Million dollars. That's just 20 movies, one weekend out of 52. Trust me the movie business isn't going anywhere.

Every person downloading is money lost

"Every download is another sale lost," is what the industry cries. No. You might lose a person here or there who realizes how crappy the state of movies are after they've downloaded them, but most of the time it's people who wouldn't spend $10 on anything less than a sure thing. These are not people with piles of discretionary income choosing between going to the movies or sniffing coke off a whores back. These are people doing crack, watching Sponge Bob and pirating movies. Trust me you're not missing their money. They need it for crack.

Have you ever tried this?

Anybody who thinks pirates are downloading these movies at a lightning pace clearly has never tried to do it. The kinds of movies you can pirate split into two groups:

Taped in the theater
Who the hell wants to watch a movie that someone taped in the theater? It sucked when people did it in 1977 and it sucks now. Typically the people who do this, highly compress these washed out flicks to get the file size down, leaving you with a grainy 320x240 image for your desktop. File sizes run from 300-400 MB

Ripped from a DVD screener
These are movies that are ripped straight from copies intended for industry big wigs and oscar judges. The quality is much higher, but you're still looking at a 550 - 1,450 MB download. These are hefty file sizes of popular movies. The demand is high and the time is slow. You could spend over a month trying to get one of these movies, and it may only crash your computer 3 or 4 times while trying to watch it.

And don't even get me started with the guys on the street corner selling these pirated films. When was the last time you bought anything from anyone who caries his inventory in a sack.

Why stay in?

The point of the story is, watching a downloaded movie sucks. It sucks hard. People are downloading on a whim. No one is actually saying, "Watching a highly compressed, small, jittery, crash prone, movie on my computer is way better than going to the movies. Screw them and their $10 I'm staying home." Although in the end the movie industry may have a point. With the miserable experiences I've had at the theater, combined with the ridiculous ticket prices, maybe they do have something to fear. Actually I wouldn't mind the price so much if they could guarantee me that the kid behind me wouldn't sing the theme song, the man to my right won't add his own sound effects, and the lady with the biggest hair ever won't sit her fat ass down in front of me. If you can guarantee me all that, then you may get my business again. But for now I'm sticking with my Netflix membership. I've even put movies in my cue that still in the theater. Screw you and your $10 I'm staying home.