April 7, 2004

Pirates Without The Eyepatch

An article in today's New York Times on the apparent epidemic of pirated DVDs in Russia has Cinecultist thinking about our changing attitudes towards copyrighted material. As MPAA president Jack Valenti, one of the biggest advocates for harsh strictures against pirating, retires will the American attitude towards unlicensed material go the way Russia's has? It seems to CC it comes down to an issue of math -- according to the article, 9 out of 10 DVDs sold in Russia are copies but with the average monthly income set at $200, and the cost difference between licensed version versus pirated at $20 to $30 versus $4, it makes sense. Even CC won't pay $30 for a mass market DVD, except for the occasional Criterion box set, and we make a touch more than $200 a month.

The article also argues that the Russian attitude towards artistic production, wherein the artist is paid a salary and their product belongs to the state with no Intellectual Property issues, allows for the government's laxness towards the massive CD and DVD bazaars. Here in the States, we even think it important to remind you not to steal licensed material after you've paid $10.25 to watch the latest Angelina Jolie with those guilt-inducing commercials before the previews. That poor stunt man, he needs his paycheck from The Man, don't download movies from the internet damn you!

Thoughts on pirated material, Jack Valenti, those don't download commercials or why you wouldn't even pay $4 for a copy of the Brother Bear DVD? Leave them in the comments.

Team Gallery in Chelsea is currently showing work by Jon Routsen, a Baltimore artist who exhibits his pirated videos, capturing "the raw material of the original projected film, a second skin. One that was there all along but which we never noticed." Through May 8 at 527 W. 26th Street.

Posted by karen at April 7, 2004 8:25 AM

What always struck me watching the stunt guy PSA is that while he does the voice over, they show a clip of a stunt from Enemy Of The State. Enemy Of The State? Couldn't they have picked a better stuntguy/more impressive film? Maybe if it were the stunt driver for Ronin, I'd pay more attention. But probably not.

Also, I think those PSA's have a reverse effect. I suspect when he says that you hit a couple of keys and you've got the movie, that people who aren't so tech-savvy are saying "Hey, is it THAT easy? I'm gonna go figure out how to download Taking Lives when we get home from Sizzler."

Posted by: drew at April 7, 2004 11:46 AM