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Entries in Movie Piracy (7)


Why Million Dollar Paychecks do not Justify Movie Piracy

If you didn't know by now, I do not recommend nor support piracy...specifically, movie piracy. Now with that said, I'm referring to instances where people buy or sell pirated movies, whether on the street or online. That is not to say that I am in favor of people copying movies or putting them up for others to download without the authorization of the studio or producer(s) who made these movies but that is another story and it is not a story that is worth addressing, at least by me.

What follows is my response to a comment left by someone named James on an old article titled "Why Movie Piracy is Wrong."

Many people seem to have the same feelings as what was expressed in his comment:

"I will believe the movie studios are losing money when they stop paying actors millions of dollars to be in films."

While paying millions of dollars to actors may be a bit extravagant for studios that claim loss of revenue due to movie piracy, it is still their right to pay actors whatever they please and even if they don't want to pay that much, actors have agents, managers and most often belong to a union that requires them to get paid more than the average service worker. There may be more to these million dollar paychecks than consumers think but even in cases where there isn't and it's just a move to cover the extravagant egos of top-of-the-line stars, that is still the studio's decision to make.

Supporting illegal transactions do not help the problem. If you want to really cause some changes in the way that they pay actors in Hollywood, then maybe it is better to hit them in the pocket using alternative methods other than supporting movie piracy. These alternative methods could include refusing to buy tickets for movies with stars that have paychecks that you find to be too much.

The CEO of a retail store is paid more money than cashiers and receptionists who work for the store so based on the million dollar paycheck argument, this should justify stealing. Are employees in the right if they still merchandise from stores or companies that they are working for and then sell it to other people for a profit? The answer is NO.

Jumping on that old and tired bandwagon of "actors are paid millions so money is not an issue in Hollywood" excuse to defend piracy or try to make the studios' claim of losing money invalid is nothing more than a scapegoat that defends (whether indirectly or directly) piracy....something that is ILLEGAL, no matter which way you put it or try to come down on studios and actors who get paid millions of dollars.

Why even pirate movies if you have a problem with the million dollar paychecks in Hollywood?

If you want to see one and don't want to pay for it, why not just wait until it comes out on DVD and then borrow that DVD from someone who owns it?

Just a thought!

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5 Ways Bootleg DVDs Make You Poor

Bootleg (aka Pirated) DVD movies are very popular in consumer markets. While they provide easy satisfaction, Bootleg or Pirated DVDs actually creates long term financial losses for consumers. As a cash-strapped movie fan, bootleg DVD purchases may seem like you are getting a great deal. It can be easy to notice the vast $10 to $15 difference between Bootleg DVDs and standard retail prices. That huge upfront discount will actually cause you to loose money without even noticing. Learn five ways bootleg DVDs make you poor. These points are especially worth considering if your bills exceed your income:

#1 The "Saving Money" excuse is based on a Myth
Sure, you can get bootleg DVDs at $7 or less on city streets or through some co-workers trying to make side income. A friend who knows a "friend" may also hook you up with a deal at 3-4 DVDs for only $20. As a hard-working consumer, it is easy to justify bootleg movie purchases as your way of saving money. Many people would rather spend $7 than $19.99 on most products whether they are movies or not. The problem here comes with the fact that you are not really saving money by purchasing bootleg DVDs. One of the solutions to saving money is to stop BUYING and start RENTING. This is can be especially beneficial to those of you who purchase pirated movies on a regular basis.

How many DVDs do you really need to own if saving is most important? You can download full-length movies for the same price or less on iTunes, Amazon Unbox and many other websites that offer LEGAL content. These websites offer Hollywood and independent fare at $2.99, $3.99 and $9.99 price tags for rentals and purchases. Movie rentals are also a worthwhile choice if you are really trying to save money. The same $5 spent on a bootleg DVD of Monsters vs. Aliens will get you at least two movie rentals on Netflix. This is not the only option, as Blockbuster also has a rental program where you can rent more movies for the cost of one higher priced bootleg DVD.

It would cost you $20 a month at the low end to watch one movie every weekend using bootleg DVDs. At the high end, you will be spending around $28 for four movies. One of the most expensive Netflix plans will allow you to watch 12 movies within a four week period for less than $18. Blockbuster also provides a similar deal for movie rentals at $19.99, which makes it a lot cheaper than bootleg DVD purchases. Eliminating bootleg DVD movie purchases can save you at least $10 each month.

#2 Bootleg DVDs Have Zero Long Term Value
Authentic DVD movies purchased at full retail price will usually have a used resale value depending on the title. They can be a great way to make extra money or help raise funds during financial hardship. You can trade in your used DVDs and maybe get back 20% or more in cash. This does not apply to bootleg DVDs since they are illegal products and more often lack in quality compared to a Manufacturer's copy. There are dozens of stores and private collectors who will purchase your old DVD movies and pay between $1 and $4 each.

Some stores also buy entire DVD collections, making it easier to get a substantial return on your investment. How many bills or expenses did you have trouble paying in the last 5 years? Your son or daughter's lunch money could be had from the resale of a used DVD if bootleg movies were not chosen instead. Money received from used DVD sales could also be spent on new DVDs, rentals or a new savings plan. You will not have these options if bootleg DVDs are where your money is spent.

#3 It's more than a Bootleg operation
In doing some research on bootleg movie sales and purchases, I noticed a trend in consumer attitudes toward these illegal products. Many people view bootleggers (or bootleg salesmen) as people who are doing what they need to in order to "get by" or "survive" and take care of themselves or their family. While that may be the case, do not fool yourself into believing that survival is the only reason that bootleggers have turned movies into a small business. A post by New Criminologist notes an MPAA financed study given by the Rand Corporation that reveals bootleg movie purchases funding organized crime and terrorism. Of course, the bootlegger who is trying to get $5-$10 from you on the street is not going to tell you that.

It is not to label every single bootlegger as a member of organized crime or a terrorist. However, some bootleggers buy their products wholesale from larger connections or networks that may be affiliated with organized crime or terrorist groups. For every bootlegger that duplicates and packages his or her own DVDs, there are dozens of networks that sell these products and use their profits to fund other illegal activities. Since bootleg movie sales are a black market business, it is not easy for the average consumer to differentiate those who are selling DVDs to "survive" from people who are selling them as part of a larger criminal network.

No matter if bootleg operations are used as fronts for more illegal activity or a method of survival, neither circumstance justifies breaking the law. Every bootleg movie purchase tells criminals that the public accepts their criminal behavior. It does not stop at bootleg movies. Criminals are criminals no matter if they are selling pirated media, robbing stores, posting internet scams or trafficking drugs.

By purchasing bootleg DVDs, you are paying the black market to steal from you later. That is not a benefit of supporting pirated movies, as it just takes more money out of your pocket.

#4 Deal or No Deal?
Are you really getting a bargain at "3 for $20". Bootleg DVDs attract impulse purchases, which does not help your finances. Chances are that men and women who are trying to save money would not visit a movie theater three times in one month. Therefore, you would be saving a minimum of $10 each week if bootlegs were not available. If you would not go to a movie theater repeatedly, the same should apply to bootleg DVD purchases. Movie fans who really want to see a film will pay full price for a movie ticket or newly released DVD whether they have the money or not.

The release of Twilight one a prime example. I know a few people who do not always have money for gas or lunch but would be willing to stand in a line with hundreds of other people to see Twilight. That is just one movie, which may cost $9 or less for students or people who arrive for early showings. The remaining $11 can be saved instead of spending it on bootleg DVDs. Before using your money to buy a single bootleg movie, ask yourself if standing it's worth standing in line for a few hours.

#5 The trickle effect of piracy will cost you big
Have you ever applied for a job? If so, you should understand how the movie industry's multi-million dollar loss due to piracy affects the average working American. Stop justifying your bootleg movie purchases on the fact that Hollywood makes millions of dollars anyway. The fact that Julia Roberts or Will Smith may receive over 5 million dollars per picture does not give anyone the right to excuse bootleg movie sales. Sure, Will Smith is not sweating his water, phone, heat or electric bill but piracy goes farther than movie stars. It's not entirely about Will Smith or 20th Century Fox.

This is about the people who are working at Best Buy to pay for their college tuition. It's about the people working at Blockbuster, AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas and the like to pay bills and "survive" like those bootleggers that you make excuses for. It is also about the people who are working in U.S. factories and production houses, packaging DVDs, CDs and other media. These are the average Americans who need their jobs. Do you know what happens when studios can't control piracy and big companies like Wal-Mart, Blockbuster and Best Buy lose money because you're buying bootlegs on the street?

Real people lose their jobs, which means that your cousins, friends or next-door neighbors won't be able to pay you that $50 owed to you after borrowing gas/food/babysitter money because they are out of work. Unemployment turns into welfare cases which turns into more taxes for people who work at companies other than Best Buy or Blockbuster, but now have to foot the bill for something that could have been prevented.

"None of these apply to me. It is still better to buy bootleg DVD movies", you say?

Consider the fact that you may still be SOL after buying pirated movies even when none of the previously mentioned points apply to your decisions. At their worst, pirated movies do not have a return policy. There is no guarantee that bootleg DVDs will actually work in your DVD player. That means you are essentially gambling with your money to buy a product that does not provide anywhere near the amount of returns as taking the same chances in Atlantic City, Las Vegas or your state Lottery.

Do you agree or disagree with the sale of bootleg movies?
Leave your comments below!

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Photo: Xandert

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Short Film Fundraiser Screening

Madlab Entertainment will be hosting a Short Film Screening in Philadelphia later this month. This event will help to raise funds for the Anti-Piracy Campaign and distribution of a new documentary. Films showing include "Timmy Beware of the Woods", "Gallows Hallow" and "A Joker's Card". I am working on getting the short film, "Adia" into the lineup for the Philadelphia screening.

The Screening will be held on Saturday, August 25, 2007 at 2:00 pm
Little Theater
7141 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA

For more information or Tickets, send a message at Myspace:

(I am currently updating the website, servers, etc. so all correspondence must be done through Myspace in the meantime)