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6 May, 2007

Unfair use

A few days ago, I bought 'Blade Runner' on DVD (I know; it surprised me too that I didn't already have a copy, though I have both versions on VHS).  Inside the case, there was no leaflet offering further information about the film or chapter titles (frankly, the 'Director's Edition' available in the UK isn't a great package – there are no extras on the disc, either).  There was an anti-piracy leaflet, though.

It seemed better than most, thanking me for "doing the right thing by buying this genuine DVD". Too often, industry messages seem to characterise legitimate purchasers as potential criminals.

However, the content of the other side was jaw-dropping.

Immigration Crime: By rejecting DVD piracy you're helping us tackle it.
It went on to provide details of the Morecambe Bay deaths in 2004, mentioning that those responsible also happened to be DVD pirates. It doesn't state a causal link between DVD counterfeiting and the cockle-pickers' deaths, but that's the link implied by the non-sequiteur.

That's appalling. I wasn't personally involved, but the deaths occurred only a few kilometres from my home, so perhaps I'm a little more sensitive about the commercial exploitation of the tragedy than I might be otherwise.
Unfashionably, I support copyright and the rights of intellectual property holders, but for the industry bodies to express their legitimate concerns in such a way is totally alienating and hence counterproductive.


That's appalling, and goes to show how morally bankrupt the big media cartel has become.

The trouble is now that the whole concept of legitimate intellectual property rights has become hopelessly blurred with the cartel's heavy handed efforts to defend their existing business model.

Posted by Tim Hall at May 6, 2007 12:49 PM

dear lord. that's somewhere between hilarious and a headfcuk. my initial reaction was to interpret the line as co-advertising by the government bureaucrats, but yeah if it's just the DVD chaps, they need a serious reality check. preferably administered by the age-old mechanism of having their heads knocked against a wall until they grow up.

i'm with you on supporting the right of people to earn money from their creations. trouble is, i see no clear path (in a dishonest world) from the old control mechanism of restricted physical assets (eg DVDs) to any solid new control mechanism.

but just an observation re "immigration crime" -- it's very noticeable in london that all of the people who come round the pubs selling pirated DVDs 2-5 times a night are (far-east) asian, as are all the people lined up both sides of brick lane on market sunday with pirate DVDs covering blankets around them. this in no way excuses the DVD boys from seizing on the multiple death tragedy of morecombe bay's cocklers rather than a more real world example. but it is an interesting thought, re one possible incidental spinoff of reducing piracy, that i hadn't really thought through: reducing the ability of illegal immigrants to survive here, and reducing the ability of poorly skilled/poorly connected legal migrants to survive here.

Posted by Saltation at May 10, 2007 12:03 PM
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