Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Score One For Hollywood, Hatch and Hollings

The Entertainment Nazis won one today, the good guys at 321 Studios have shut down. Anyone who actually used their products was not using them for piracy. The fact is very simply that people pay a premium price for DVDs and video games, and that disks tend to get scratched or in other ways become unusable (I cannot tell you how many game disks my kids have that have become unplayable through just normal kid [ab]use). It's a consumer's right to make a backup copy for just such contingencies (I wouldn't want to take original disks on a trip, for example, where they might easily be lost and cannot be replaced, or if the studio - such as Disney, Senator Hollings - decides you can no longer purchase their product. You're SOL, or have to buy the replacement on eBay). However, Mr. Valenti and Mr. Sherman's appartchiks have bought and paid for their court decisions and their politicians, and they're getting ahem, value for their dollar (why does that bit in The Godfather where Vito Corleone tells Tom Hagen to give the political job to "the Jew in the next district, not to our paisan" come to mind).

We the consumers just lost a big one. The software was not a piracy tool, dammit! It takes under the best of circumstances between 90 minutes and two hours to copy a single DVD, and each copy was serialized and had an indelible prominent notice that it was a copy made under fair use legislation. Perhaps Disney doesn't want to endanger the child labor arrangements they've made in China for making plush Poohs instead of taking the intellectual property piracy issue up with Beijing (or any of the other piracy capitals like Brasilia, Seoul and Taipei). Then again, that little party at Tiananmen Square showed how fair and easy those guys are to negotiate with. Mass copying of DVDs requires specialized duplication equipment, out of the reach of Joe Consumer.

Moral: only buy content from Good Guys (i.e. directly from the artist). Don't give the MPAA and the RIAA any vig.


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