Whilst concerns of siphoning substantial profits roar out of the film studios of Hollywood and cinemas throughout the globe when there is even a mention of DVD piracy we thought it might be worth exploring the other side of the coin.
The BBC report that DVD piracy is said to be worth $3bn in the US and £500m in the UK, but as customers, outside of saving a few quid, what are the wider impacts of DVD Piracy? Is it a victimless crime? And ultimately if you buy pirate DVDs are you getting a good deal?
Picture and sound quality? Will we believe all the hype of poor quality recordings filmed on handheld cameras? Well largely this is merely scaremongering and there are near perfect illicit copies of Hollywood - and other - movies available across the globe as a result of viruses, online hacking or merely as a result of staff downloading films in the office.
In my experience, you can pick up titles on the black market for as little as £2 from car boot sales, markets and from hawkers on the highstreet , despite in some instances being largely a game of Russian roulette in order to find that cinema quality DVD.
Where is the catch you might ask?
Why are the DVDs so cheap? Is it because the seller(s) is against globalisation or large corporate brands making huge profits on the titles and so tries to sell them at low prices? You would be kidding yourself if you thought that such sellers were doing you a public service, but can we be sure of the real ramifications of buying illicit DVDs?
Advertising.... And getting the message across: It you have visited the cinema recently you might have unfortunately had to ensure the Government's lastest marketing effect to challenge the social acceptability of buying illegally copied DVDs. An ensemble of pub revellers brand the lead a "Knock off Nigel" for buying 'Knock off DVDs', and despite encouraging you (the audience) to sing along one might ask if this is really going to do the job.
"Knock off Nigel" DVD Piracy Advert
Do we need scare tactics? Do we need to hear about national and international terrorism? Or what about public sector funding and benefits in support of those selling illegal copies on the side?
Perhaps we do? But perhaps transparency is far out of reach?
Would common sense paint us an accurate picture? And are pirate DVD sales a small operation of burning just a few copies or is it far larger and one that could rival the production efficiencies of Starbucks?
I guess any great reflection into the subject might consider who's making the money? and where this money is going? Particularly when considering that those who have made, acted in or even financed the films 'miss out' on the potential revenue to pirate copies. Does this result in price increases for titles as production houses strive to recoup some of this lost revenue? Or will it deny the funding for new films? Lead to cinemas and DVD retailers to go out of business?
Numerous sources including the BBC have directly related DVD piracy to criminal networks involving 'gangs, drug dealers, people smugglers, paedophile rings and even terrorists', whilst in 2003, Interpol warned that counterfeiting was becoming "the preferred method of funding for a number of terrorist groups".
But when there is money to be saved does ones conscience go out the window? One look at sweatshop fashion house Primark and the colossal queues would suggest so... It's such a shame, as, like with fashion, there are always going to be wider ramifications.
The following anti DVD piracy video is also worth reviewing:
Wondering what can be done to stop DVD piracy? A phone hotline in the UK has been set up to report pirate DVDs being sold -
it is 0845 6034567