I walked into my corner dairy the other day and there was a cardboard box on the floor. It was full of ex-rental DVDs for sale at $5 each.
I spoke to the shopkeeper and he said no one was renting his DVDs anymore, so he was selling them off.
It felt like a worrying sign for the movie industry. As though the canary in the cage had just fallen off his perch with a death rattle.
I'm a bit worried about the future of the movie industry. The internet has changed everything and there is no going back. Among many people, stealing movies off the internet has become the norm.
I look at what is happening to the music industry with dismay and worry that the same destructive wave is about to break on our movie houses. How high will that wave break and, when it recedes, what will be left?
I worry that if people keep stealing movies off the internet we will just get more horrible films like Transformers 2.
This cinema marquee puts it better:
If we steal movies, box office and DVD sales will fall, Hollywood will become extremely risk-averse and we will end up with safe bet, dumb sequels.
Yes, New Zealand gets a rough deal and has to wait for movie releases. Yes, Hollywood movie stars are rolling in cash. Yes, the film industry hasn't been quick enough to catch up with rapidly changing consumer expectations.
But does this give us the right to just grab everything we want, whenever we want it?
The internet has made information free and put it in the hands of the people. It's a beautiful thing. But, there is such a thing as taking the mickey. As Spiderman always whinges, with great power comes great responsibility.
If you steal a movie, have you lost the right to complain about the crap that Hollywood churns out as a result? Is it like losing your right to complain about politicians when you don't vote?
So, as you can tell, I'm worried. I don't like the look of those empty DVD shelves in my local dairy.
Is stealing a movie off the internet sticking it to the man or sticking it to an art form we love?
What do you think?
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