The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… Video Piracy

Video piracy is GOOD for America in general and Hollywood in particular.

Now before you decide I’ve COMPLETELY lost my mind – let’s consider the facts. The industry claims it loses x billion dollars every year to piracy. But where do they get those figures? The only PRACTICAL source would have to be based on the number of pirate DVDs they estimate are made and sold – multiplied by the amount of revenue they would obtain from LEGITIMATE sales of that number of units.

Which is of course bollocks.

Let’s take an example. A man on limited means, living in England, has a DVD-player – which these days only cost around £25 ($40) – and has a collection of, say 200 DVDs. All pirate copies he’s obtained from an East European woman, who regularly hangs around the local market with a suitcase full of them. She charges £2 each.

But if he had had to purchase them from a legitimate shop, they’d have cost him over £20 ($32) each. So had that been the case, how many would he have bought? 200? Of course not. He has little money. At THAT price, he would only have got the DVDs he wanted BADLY – say, 20.

Thus, the REAL loss to the industry in HIS case – would be less than a TENTH of the industry’s claim.

And his story is typical of MILLIONS of people, World-wide.

The fact is that physically, DVDs are now cheap to make. Even with proper full-colour labels, inlay sheets – with HOLOGRAMS – they only cost around 60p ($1) a pop to produce. But they sell legitimately for anywhere between (in England, where people moan, but do nothing) £25 (still $40 – same price as the PLAYER) through (in America, where people DON’T allow themselves to be ripped off) £12 ($20) to (in Thailand, where the cost of living is one-fifth of that in the West) £4 ($7).

In short, whatever the corporations figure they can GET for them. (If you believed that “regional coding” ACTUALLY had anything to DO with “release dates”…)

Of course, they would claim that the much higher prices in the West are FAIR, since the richer countries can afford to SUBSIDISE the poorer ones. Which might hold water, were it not for the fact that DVDs cost twice as much in Britain as they do in The States. Are they seriously suggesting that British people are twice as wealthy as Americans?

Okay, so the industry is corrupt. But let us return to my original premise – that the piracy is good for Hollywood in particular and America in general. For the industry, these DVDs are “free samples”. They PUBLICISE the products. Your poor man in England will still go to the cinema to watch Hollywood blockbusters, thus generating revenue for said industry.

And as for America, it is a fact that the U.S. government have, for decades, encouraged the TV industry to syndicate their products, as cheaply as possible, to every nation that will take them. Why? Because it PROMOTES America to the World. Maybe Ali Ben-Bomber is less likely to do bad things to America, if he wants to see whether Rachel will get back together with Ross.

But less dramatically, the general American way of life, with its toys and goodies, will seem a lot more attractive to the World if they can see Americans as HUMAN – rather than just swaggering Empire-builders. The World will be more SYMPATHETIC to her. And after eight years of The Monkey, America now needs THAT more than EVER.


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