January 29, 2010

Pirates of the movie industry..

Just today when S was watching a series of videos on Indiaglitz, I eavesdropped on an interview by Karthi, the star of the recent movie, Aayirathil Oruvan. It was basically a plea to stop piracy and avoid the flooding of bootlegged copies of the movie on CDs and Internet likewise. And it sparked this entire blog and a worthy discussion at that.

Of course anyone with the slightest scruples of morals would agree that it is indeed unfortunate for the producers who dished out all that money in making the movie to not get their fair share from the movie watchers. But you know what? All of that makes sense if you were pretty petty sitting in India with a million theatres available to see the movie, and still chose the slow internet + download-cap ridden broadband to sit and download a lousy copy of the movie to see it at the comfort of your home. Indeed I know of no one who does that. On the other hand, bootlegged CDs and DVDs are a real problem. What's shocking in some cases is that the print is pristine. Practically as good as what the late "officially-released" versions are likely to have, indicating that the leak is somewhere high up the order, alongside the copies being distributed to theatres for shows. And that comes down to trusting the wrong people, which is up to the distributors.

On the other hand, I am certain that less than 10% of the people want to see a shaky handy-cam footage of a movie on a CD that cost 30 bucks (Indian rupees) anyways rather than pay a bit more and hit the cinemas or wait further for a decent copy to turn up. But the real conundrum lies with the actions of people living away from immediate access to these movies. Eg. People like me. What do we do? None of these movies release here in Paris (Hindi and Tamil alike) unless they are of exceptionally big banner (read Rajinikant). And hence the pseudo-Indian market is strewn with copies of the latest movies, weeks after the release. So are we morally wrong to buy them as the only opportunity to watch the movies? Or is it worse downloading a semi-decent copy of the movie before all the copyright infringements pounce in and wipe them off the Internet? In this case, is it the fault of the distributors for not catering to scattered audiences across the world or is it ours for wanting to see them with the best solution to the earliest-possible-time-cum-least-cost problem?

All the same, I know of people with extremely high morals who would never buy music unless it was the original CD, and the likes of that. I must admit that my ethics aren't on that kind of pedestal as far as the entertainment business is concerned. It was like I was trying to explain to S. It isn't that I go looking for opportunities to "pirate", but I don't unconditionally stop them either. In other words, if someone invited me to watch a downloaded version of a brand-new movie, I wasn't going to call in the cops and raise hell. Unfortunately I guess most of us are in the same page. Which brings us to the other big issue. Are we at fault for downloading these movies/songs or does the blame solely rest with the people who first obtained pirated copies and put them up for download? For a wafer-thin argument siding "us", if it wasn't freely available, we weren't going to do anything phenomenal to find it, are we? Another of those grey areas in the context of right or wrong. And since this topic relates to something we've all done or seen done in the past, I'd like to hear from the rest of you on where you stand in this whole issue from the moral viewpoint and otherwise. Anti-piracy? Prove it.


Anonymous said...

What about movie makers who pirate creativity from hollywood and foreign movies in the name of inspiration :-)

Shant said...

Its not that bad for people living away to buy "those" DVDs or watch it over the wire. The producers are not seeing the potential of an untapped market - scattered desi population :).

Madhumathi said...

I do rent quite a lot of DVD / CD from the lib...i dont see anything wrong with that, its just a matter of comfort & not shelling abt Rs1000 for 2 movie tickets on some crap movie.... i would go to the multiplex only if the movie has a good script, locales & is a HIT...else... i dont care...who makes money or not... As long as i am not shelling 1000bucks for some crap movie like "Do not Disturb" , "Singh is King" & the like....

Madhumathi said...

forgot to mention, i also get very good prints...not the camera print... Also, am not sure if the CD lib has the pirated copy or the original ones.... not that i care!

Jaya said...

Anon-> Good one. But that also brings in the music industry and warrants and entire new post. :D. Thanks for the comment and keep visiting!

Shant-> You're probably right. I guess they lose most of their business when the advertising has done such a good job of getting the word around to everyone that they are eager enough to see it.. but the piracy has done a bad job allowing all the eager persons to buy a bootlegged CD rather than book tickets and go for the movie afresh. And of course most of the people who "buy" these movies are likely to be old/uninterested in the whole movie theatre experience when they could just kick back, chill at home and watch the movie with pauses for tea/kaapi etc. and resume from where they left off... doze off with no qualms and the likes of it. Thanks for the comment n keep visiting!

Madhumathi-> I think you are on the safe shore if you are "renting" from a library. I highly doubt the libraries store pirated copies of movies. And they probably also "get" the movies much later than they are actually released in theatres, unless it is an unmarked case with ambiguous markings to differentiate movies. Is that the case? Either ways, your shrugging away responsibility is very similar to me claiming that downloading torrents of a movie hardly is a fault when the real person to blame is the one who uploaded it in the first place. Looks like we are on the same page. Thanks for the comment and keep visiting.

Sangeeta R. Goswami said...

Hiii, Jaya
Me and some of my frnds hv started an E-magazine called Reader's Quotient, it is totally for a noble cause, i came across ur blog in my quest to search excellent writers and felt worth to inquire if u shall be interested to come along with us,
If yes pls contact us at sangeeta.goswami@readersquotient.com

waiting for ur revert

regds Sangeeta

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