John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

It's Still Frickin' Illegal!

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM

In a blog post by Gene Newman titled "Just play the damn movie!" he mentions his distaste for all the propaganda that’s forced upon viewers before the movie starts, including the threats of being “thrown in jail for sharing this movie because piracy is a major crime.”


While I agree with Gene that these warnings are tedious and lame (which is one of the many reasons why I love my Kaleidescape system, which completely skips all that stuff and jumps straight to the film), do nothing to curtail piracy, and only end up “punishing” the law abiding, I’d like to talk about piracy for a moment.


Somewhere around the time Napster, Limewire, Bear Share, Bit Torrent, and countless other “sharing” sites emerged, it somehow became not only OK to steal movies (and music) in a way stealing other things would never be tolerated—it actually became cool. And I don’t care how easy it is to break the disc encryption and make a copy or to find a version online and download it. I don’t care if you don’t think it’s hurting anyone, or that it’s somehow your right because you bought something in the past, or whatever other excuse you like to use. Justify it any way you want—what you’re really doing is stealing.


As a custom installer, I deal with people all the time who would never think of walking into a Best Buy or Wal-mart and stuffing a Blu-ray or DVD into their jacket pocket. But those same people will openly boast about how they’ve downloaded some free (or pirated) software to copy a Netflix or RedBox disc—or just downloaded the latest blockbuster straight from the Internet, bypassing the disc altogether—and then put it on a hard drive and played it back using some version of a media player.


One guy described the process to me, which took multiple hours between searching for a version of the film, then the downloading, transcoding, and metadata tagging, then burning it to disc. As he boasted about his movie collection and his cobbled-together media server, all I could think was, “Really? How many hours have you invested in stealing a sub-par, not-as-good-as-the-actual-disc $20 movie?”


Another person told me he illegally downloads films because Hollywood isn’t making any good movies so he’s not going to pay for them. If he samples something and likes it, then maybe he’ll decide to buy it. He said that was the only way to make sure he wouldn’t waste twenty bucks on a dud. I suggested the more traditional means of trying before you buy. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s called renting.


I either rent my movies, through Netflix (discs by mail), or buy them. Why? Three reasons…


Click here to continue reading my story at Theo Kalomirakis’ new blog, Theo’s Round Table.

Categories: December 2012, Movies, Rants

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