Saturday, February 07, 2009

Piracy ads

You know what this ad always make me want to do? Steal a car. Steal a purse. Steal a cellphone. Steal a movie.

I mean, not exactly, since I'm not really going to do any of those things, but really, they look so exciting and sexy when you're watching the ad. I'm not even sure it's really intended to convey the message it's supposedly trying to convey.

But you wanna know what really makes me want to pirate movies?

Yeah, Warner Brothers, I know you own Casablanca, but damn! I don't understand why you would desecrate something that's important to the culture and should be important to you.

Mostly I don't understand how disrespecting your intellectual property is supposed to teach us to respect your intellectual property.

Who makes these things? Are the ad makers deliberately trying to undermine their point?


Tali said...

I was laughing my ass off, because I thought this was satire- that's how bad this is!

Neil Sarver said...

If only... as a satire, you're right, it would be funny.

Jonathan Lapper said...

The problem with the first ad, which you see on practically every DVD now, is that it equates copying something with stealing an original. Stealing a car is analogous to stealing a DVD from a store or someone's house, it is not analogous to pirating a DVD. Copying a DVD does nothing to the original article. The original DVD still exists and has been purchased. Once a copy is made it could possibly affect future sales in that people won't buy the DVD because there is a replica available. So really, the crime is one of future consequence, like Minority Report.

Most movies, and I would say all new movies, released on DVD make their money in the first week of sale, then it peters off until settling in with the other older DVDs after about a month. After that any money lost to pirated DVDs is negligible.

In 2006 the movie industry said it stood to lose 250 billion a year from piracy. This was immediately pounced upon and ridiculed. The worldwide combined profits of every moviemaking country adds up to 23 billion for 2007. So how the pirates could then make more than 10 times the combined worlwide totals was a mystery for the ages until it was revealed that the industry had not done any actual research and had simply made up a number.

The largest pirated DVD bust came in Lima, Peru where tons, literally, tons of DVDs were confiscated. It was massive! The total wholesale cost, going with the prices of the DVDs were they studio made? $220,000 dollars.

In real facts and figures, the industry drops or fluctuates by a couple of hundred million a year. Most of that is the ebb and flow of audiences, a summer not having as many blockbusters, poor marketing and so on. The estimated true loss to pirating is around two million dollars. Spread that over ten studios and production companies and you're looking at Warner Brothers, a company which makes 11.7 billion a year, losing 200,000 dollars.

I'm sorry, I know it's illegal. I've heard the arguments ("how would like it if someone stole something you owned? What if they plagiarized you?"). Well first of all, the plagiarism argument I've heard isn't analogous. No one is copying a DVD and removing WB's logo and saying they made the movie. So the only argument that works is someone stealing something you're selling. And I'm sorry, but if I was making BILLIONS selling something, and other people figured out a way to copy it and make a couple of hundred thousands for themselves, I WOULDN'T GIVE A FUCK!

I'm sorry, but these fucking corporations are populated by the smallest human beings on the planet.

Neil Sarver said...

There was a discussion recently also of the article Digital Pirates Winning Battle With Studios by Brian Stelter and Brad Stone.

The best comment was from Paul Anthony Johnson who wrote, "And to think, if it weren't for all the piracy, The Dark Knight could have been a hit." I think that about sums up how I feel about it.

And I agree with everything you've said, Jonathan, thank you for your comments.

They are trying to oversimplify an issue that simply doesn't break down in simple terms. And even people who don't fully grasp how it works can still see that the simplified version doesn't quite gel with reality.

Frankly, I think they could get some real traction with public opinion if they were to frame their argument in terms that applied to the real world. But any moron can tell that not every person who downloads a movie for free would have purchased one if the option to download for free wasn't available. Trying to use that as the source of your math comes off as both insulting my intelligence and diminishing my opinion of their intelligence.

Neil Sarver said...

Ultimately, what I find odd is the fact that I think if you could really sit in on their meetings, their concern isn't so much any dollar amount, but is simply losing the war of perception. They want to make sure that an entire generation doesn't grow up believing that movies should be free and one should be able to expect to take them at will.

Ok, I don't think it's odd that they really want to win that battle. I just find it odd - practically unbelievable, in fact - that they somehow imagine that these campaigns will gather any traction. As I said, they seem to be almost designed to have the exact opposite effect, and I can't imagine they aren't succeeding wildly at having the exact opposite effect.

Jonathan Lapper said...

But any moron can tell that not every person who downloads a movie for free would have purchased one if the option to download for free wasn't available.

Exactly! Most, and by most I mean 99.9999 percent, of my free online or download watching was/is of movies that I only watched because they were free. I would have never bought them anyway but since they were free, I watched. Had they not been available I wouldn't have bought, I simply wouldn't have been able to watch them.

As for a movie I really like? I buy it.

They want to make sure that an entire generation doesn't grow up believing that movies should be free and one should be able to expect to take them at will.

Right again. They just want to 'make a point' so to speak and throw their weight around.

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