It's wrong to steal, right?

Last updated 12:14 25/05/2012

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:

Torrent

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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85 comments
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John   #1   12:21 pm May 25 2012

I don't watch DVD's but I don't download movies either. Instead will watch it on Sky Box Office if it's something I'm keen to see or if there's not the same urgency I'll wait for it to come out on Sky Movies.

ellgieff   #2   12:25 pm May 25 2012

Copyright violation is not theft. Please stop doing that.

I don't download movies illegally, because they're not generally worth the time invested to watch them. The things I do want to watch repeatedly, I buy.

I hope the movie industry dies a horrible and painful death, so that it can go back to being an art. Similarly for the music industry (as an aside, I spend an average of $50 a week buying music).

redeye40   #3   12:25 pm May 25 2012

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?

short answer...yes

Glen   #4   12:26 pm May 25 2012

I think you missed the point really, people arnt just stealing movies from the internet, in some cases they are paying for them, when you take away the option to quickly download and view a movie for a decent price you make people steal it to get that format.

In actual fact a DVD can be watched hundreds or thousands of times for the $30 you pay for it.

The problem is the stupidity of the movie industry, if they charged say $2 for a single access pass to stream a movie over the internet to your tv they would cut out all the middle men, 90% of people who cannot afford the $18 each to take a family along would watch alot more, which would be very profitable.

The problem is the dairy and cinema are dying, and the studio's dont want to admit this.

Chasm   #5   12:27 pm May 25 2012

Personally I think you have it the wrong way around, I find most people download movies because they have been stung paying for crap movies too often. I used to work in the film industry so here's a little insight, about 15 years ago they released maybe 10 films a month at a cinema, these days there is up to 8 a week, so around 36 a month, or those maybe 3 will actually be cinema worthy films. Because the staff are limited to seeing maybe 2 films a week they can't give a good opinion on what's the best movie to see.

With food and drink prices as high as they are plus the $15 or so for each ticket you could be paying up to $50 for 2 people to watch a movie. How many times will they go and get stung by the film turning out to be rubbish before they decide to stop going?

Niri Tacen   #6   12:30 pm May 25 2012

A lack of DVD rentals doesn't mean that cinemas are about to collapse.

You can now buy movies through iTunes, and websites like Netflix are (at least in the US) making films available online.

Although iTunes doesn't have all the big hits, you can rent or buy at half the (respective) price of stores.

A lack of DVD rental just means that people are getting post-cinema-release films elsewhere.

Cinemas are failing because their prices are too high. And also because the film companies still use an idealistic 1950's vision of how to release a film.

I don't doubt that people are downloading newly released films. But that's not what's causing your dairy owner to lose out. Did you actually look at the DVDs in his box? How old were they? In my experience diary rentals are too old to bother with.

km   #7   12:32 pm May 25 2012

I'd love to have a dvd collection, but never has one been bought with my own money to grace our shelves. Dvd rentals are expensive, torrenting is free, and it's so easy to access. Sharing is caring.. isn't i?

anabels   #8   12:32 pm May 25 2012

There has been a similar discussion over at the On the Box blog. The big problem I have is that a lot of the content I would like to buy and would happily pay for there is no legitimate way for me to get. For example the last time I checked "Red State" wasn't available for download to New Zealand. While I could set up my machine to spoof my IP to appear to be in the US this is a total pain and doesn't always work. Services like Hula and NetFlix are not available in NZ, things may not be released to DVD for a considerable period of time. I have the money I'm willing to pay but I can't get things in anything like a timely manner. A month, ok, three months delay maybe, but no idea how long I will have, well why wouldn't I download it??? catch 22 I guess.

JW   #9   12:33 pm May 25 2012

If you paid $70 for a family to go and see Tranformers 2, you'd realise shortly after walking out of the theatre who was ripped off. Most of the drivel Hollywood produces deserves to be stolen. And is. And always will be.

Roy   #10   12:34 pm May 25 2012

The demands of the consumer dictate the market.Not the whims of the movie industry.For years the consumer has demanded a easy,cheap way to watch movies.Not $20 cinema tickets or $40 DVD months after the movie is released.Nearly all would happily pay $5-$10 to watch/DL/stream the latest blockbusters,as with all things in the real world there will be always some looking for "free" stuff.The solution is with the movie industry,if they stop trying to penalize/persecute their customers and provide a service that is simple and without gimmicks all will prosper. BTW,if LOTR is sci-fi,then we are all doomed!


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