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back to article Blighty's film biz asks gov to hurry up pirate crackdown

The government should implement anti-piracy measures contained in the Digital Economy Act (DEA) "as quickly as possible", an independent panel appointed to review the future of the UK film industry has said. The Film Policy Review Panel was appointed by the government and has said that copyright infringement is contributing to …

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Anonymous Coward

So while the US are having a massive backlash against there poorly thought out rushed ideas, these guys want to push through THERE poorly thought out rushed ideas.

Great idea!

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WTF?

SOPA and PIPA got debated by elected officials, our DEA is only alive because the system of law was abused so blatantly by a twice caught fraudster (Mandy). It got rushed into law in an completely undemocratic process called "the wash". This is a period of time when parliament is dissolved in the run up to a general election but somehow laws still get passed with no-one able to debate or challenge them.

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WTF?

At least....

SOPA and PIPA got debated by elected officials, our DEA is only alive because the system of law was abused so blatantly by a twice caught fraudster (Mandy). It got rushed into law in an completely undemocratic process called "the wash". This is a period of time when parliament is dissolved in the run up to a general election but somehow laws still get passed with no-one able to debate or challenge them.

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copyright infringement is contributing to declining industry revenues and that a "key element" to addressing the problem was in implementing the measures

One of the biggest factors is the stupidly high prices charged to visit the movies and to buy films which are only compounded when you see films getting the highest box office takes and profits of 100million+

The measures and monitoring they suggest will only ever catch out the small time people who don't know enough about how peer2peer and other technology's work to protect themselves. They major pirates will still continue, lets face the actual downloading of the movie is the tip of the ice berg..... who's going after the people selling them in pubs, shops and other places.

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FAIL

"The Film Policy Review Panel was appointed by the government and has said that copyright infringement is contributing to declining industry revenues"

I just took the liberty of scanning through that PDF and there is not a SINGLE statistic to suggest that piracy is causing any sort of significant detriment. In fact, Piracy only features as 9th on a list of methods for digital viewing. FUCKING NINTH! And they believe that this is enough to call for the application of draconian laws.

Other fun statistics include:

- Paid digital media consumption is growing

- Overall costs for producing film have lowered.

- Much of losses can be attributed to disproportionate box office share between films (so not piracy)..

And yet they insist that the film-makers must line their pockets with even more of their customers' money by dragging them to the court room.

I weep for humanity, I really do.

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Pint

I think you've answered my question

which is "Will this lot be bust before 2013 hence the reason for the rush?"

seems a rather large NO.

When will everyone realise that the casual "pirate" is the one this is aimed at - because the other pirates have been doing well since Betamax. Heck, I've only ever seen ET on Betamax pirate tape and would never want to watch it again and destroy that experience!

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Anonymous Coward

Guilty until proven innocent

Guilty until proven innocent.

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Anonymous Coward

'Some dispute'

'The film body acknowledged that there was some dispute over the quality of evidence that the creative industries have previously produced to make the case for new anti-piracy measures to be introduced. '

In much the same way as there is some dispute over the quality of evidence for the existence of Bigfoot.

There's also some dispute over the calculation of losses incurred by piracy, eg basing them on retail sale value of a DVD, as opposed to (say) the revenue generated by 1 night's rental.

Calculated the latter way, the losses would be orders of magnitude smaller, which would weaken the case for cosseting a cartel unable to adapt to a changing marketplace.

In other news, the Gas Mantle Manufacturers Association is lobbying for a levy on the electrical light bulb.

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big question

Where is all this money they expect to make going to come from? Pirates are not lying around in piles of cash they would have spent on cinema/dvds, they are largely young folk with little spare cash.

Btw, there's an interesting levelling factor in piracy...if something is massively popular and thus profitable, it's easy to pirate, but obs.cure stuff can only be paid for. I think many petiole have a sense of this and are not so bothered about Beyonce losing a few sales.

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Flame

An open letter...

To the Film Industry and their political friends.

Dear Sirs,

May I politely point out that you need to get your act together and bring your industry into the 21st Century.

Do you really still think that one "pirate" copy equals one lost sale? Perhaps you need to start assuming that your customers are on to your little scheme and wisen up.

I do not go to the cinema now and have not done so since the major chains turned their "theaters" (sic) into warm places where people can enjoy a bit of food and drink, while using their phones and talking to their friends. I believe there was some sort of film being shown the last time I went, but nobody seemed to be taking any interest in that.

Consequently I tend to buy (yes buy) films on DVD so I can watch them in the relative comfort of my home. Now I may be slow on the uptake here, but I have learned that if I can bear to wait a month or so after the UK release of your latest "blockbuster", I can actually buy the wretched thing at a supermarket for about 10% of the original price. (You notice the 'buy' word again.)

While I'm ranting, could I also suggest that you might consider using some sort of 'plot' in your next production. Again I realise that I'm somewhat old fashioned, but I do rather prefer films that have some sort of storyline, rather than those with only clever special effects, and nausea inducing 3D.

Not, I hasten to add, that all recent films are totally devoid of 'plot'. That would be too sweeping a statement given the number of remakes of 'classics' that are now appearing. Incidentally I did notice that many of these films were 'classics' because they had a 'plot'.

Still at least these remakes make a change from yet another sequel to some tired franchise. Although I do notice a trend where these are simply a vehicle for some 'star' or another. Which reminds me has the person responsible for casting Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau in 'The Pink Panther', been hunted down and fired yet?

If any of these suggestions are useful, then please do get in touch with me. My IP lawyers are awaiting your call.

Yours etc.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld's cat.

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MJI
Silver badge

Steve Martin was never Clouseau

Another film to ignore with the US Wicker Man, Taxi (NOT Taxi Driver) ect ect

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Bronze badge

Unfortunately they're attending live theatre too, now

I do not go to the cinema now and have not done so since the major chains turned their "theaters" (sic) into warm places where people can enjoy a bit of food and drink, while using their phones and talking to their friends. I believe there was some sort of film being shown the last time I went, but nobody seemed to be taking any interest in that.

+1

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Silver badge
Go

Wicker Man

NOT THE BEEES! NOT THE BEEES! AAARGH MY EYES!

You don't need to see the film, but you do need to see the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_mW8mBzmHo

The French version of Taxi is awesome, from the inimitable mind of Luc Besson. Everyone needs to see it:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0152930/

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MJI
Silver badge

Taxi

I know - that is why I mentioned it - got all 3, pity 1 is non anamorphic and the subs are off the screen in letterbox mode.

Funny really I had completely forgotten about the ruining of the Italian Job

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Thumb Down

It'll be a farce

I like this, I can't wait for this to kick in and sales of the british film industry to remain poor because it is all shite anyway.

The amount of false positives will be massive, when saas and cloud technologies with IPTV etc all rolling out the systesm won't cope.

Roll out wide spread use of encryption.

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Pirate

Stop lecturing me on theft everytime I try to watch a film

or making me watch trailers, adverts etc. ad nauseam. It's not as if the "pirates" have to put up with that shit.

Making a product that I can use for the purpose it was intended might go some way to preventing copyright infringement.

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Anonymous Coward

I rip copies of my purchased DVDs

=== TRAILER ===

If you enjoy the rant that follows, you'll enjoy my other rants on topics such as:

'Why the film studios are bastards'

'Trailers are evil'

'DVD - winning the war against pleasure'

=== END TRAILER ===

I rip copies of my purchased DVDs, just so I don't have to watch the trailers. How fucking dare they force me to watch trailers when play a DVD that I've paid for.

I think you'll agree it was worth waiting through the trailer to read that

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MJI
Silver badge

I gave up

Stopped buying, stopped watching.

Tired of put disc in get warning, unable to skip, go to PC, rip DVD, find a blank, burn it, put in DVD player, watch film.

After this I gave up buying and just waited for BluRay to arrive, until they started it as well - well look numpties, we spent a lot on a player, TV, sound system, and between £5 and £10 per disc, LET US WATCH THE FILM OR WE WILL STOP BUYING THEM.

I am also a lot more selective with only about 20 BluRays, compared to about 200 DVDs

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Silver badge
Joke

"You wouldn't steal a handbag. You wouldn't steal a car. You wouldn't steal a baby. You wouldn't shoot a policeman. And then steal his helmet. You wouldn't go to the toilet in his helmet. And then send it to the policeman's grieving widow. And then steal it again! Downloading films is stealing"

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Ru
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Pirate

"You wouldn't download a car"

I rather like the newer DVDs I've seen which have a very brief message saying 'Thankyou for supporting the film and TV industry!' or somesuch. Seems like finally the publishers are catching on to quite how universally they are despised.

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Anonymous Coward

Stealing

And so is charging me $25 for a movie when it's sold for $5 in another country (legally I might add, but I'm not legally allowed to import it). Or selling me the latest version (blu-ray) of the Star Wars trilogy as the original, but failing to mention on the packaging that they've been 're-made' with the wonders of c.g.i. and still putting 1977 down as the year it was made.

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Anonymous Coward

You could return it as not fit for the stated purpose

but you won't get anywhere cos they'll just assume you've ripped it!

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MJI
Silver badge

return - no luck

Hassled the producers - just told them I no longer buy them - if I miss a good film - tough

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Megaphone

The hope is...

the longer it takes the better the law will be. (hopefully)

Better to mean.... better in terms of a balance between the rights holder and the consumers.

Everybody deserves to be paid but copyright needs balance and that is something which has been sadly lacking in these big business sponsored laws.

Of course where Big Corp have been found to be avoiding Tax. You can steal their stuff as they steal from us. Trying to think of an good example...........Ahhhh! there's one: U2 they provide no benefit to any society the money hoarding ............. Can anyone think of any other Big Corp that steals from the tax payer.

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>>"Of course where Big Corp have been found to be avoiding Tax. You can steal their stuff as they steal from us. Trying to think of an good example...........Ahhhh! there's one: U2 they provide no benefit to any society the money hoarding ............. Can anyone think of any other Big Corp that steals from the tax payer."

Why 'steal' *their* stuff?

If you don't like them, then whether you like their stuff or not, why not just ignore it?

Personally, if I *really* disliked someone, I'd find it hard to enjoy what they produced, especially in a world with so much choice of stuff from people I don't meaningfully dislike.

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Megaphone

because if enough people complain

then maybe Gubermints will plug the loop holes which MegaCorps use to avoid tax/steal money from hard working tax payers.

Vodafone taxed their employee's UK wages and then kept the money. That £12bn would have saved a lot of jobs in the UK.

Keeping silent just condones their larceny.

Shout it loud because those are our jobs they are destroying.

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Flame

Nail on the head

"The panel ... recommends that rights-holders and retailers more actively take advantage of the growing consumer demand for access to films online via a broad variety of devices. A wider range of business models could be explored, recognising that there are opportunities for the private sector to use cloud-based facilities and for copyright owners to make their material legitimately available in an increasing number of different ways," it said.

Well it is at least refreshing to see that the panel recognizes the fact that the movie industry needs to move with the times.

Take the new UK launch of Netflix, the content is poor due to the fact that the movie wants to increase the time (and many have done so) between when they release the film and when it is available to rent. Or the industry is so bloody greedy they impose draconian terms and conditions on allowing their content to be available that many streaming services just cannot abide by and so thus further reducing the content available.

Many many people would pay good money for a streaming service that had the latest films available to watch on demand (and a decent back catalogue) rather than the utter shite that is being peddled at the present time.

The more I read about how lobbyists are pushing for more draconian laws to be implemented due to their utter contempt for others and just trying to line the industries pockets further just pushes me further away from buying their products.

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MJI
Silver badge

Film obtaining

I have only done this for films not available in formats I want.

In my case HD-DVD rips I then copied to my PS3.

Was not buying a DVD as it was SD, and of course the PS3 can play HD rips of the the dead HD format.

That said I think I only did 2 films like this.

I would have bought them too.

I was awkwards back in the rental tape era as well - I used Beta and refused to downgrade to VHS, the rental shop owner had the same VCR as well. Luckily I was saved by DVD. For the 7 or so years I just watched films on TV. For recording I was using a HiFi Sanyo with an old Ondigital box.

But I can see piracy of films being low and also definately they are rental losses not purchase losses.

The film industry needs to look at the films (forget remakes and star vehicles), the competing technologies (especially video games), wives watching the pap leaving no time, and the worst - locked down discs which do not let you watch the film (especially Fox - they are an automatic NOT buy) most peoples introduction to piracy are those stupid adverts on DVD telling you - the person who bought the DVD that it is also available for free.

I think it comes down to that films buffs want to own the film, if the film is worthwhile.

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Paris Hilton

Guess what, UK film industry...

...these silly laws won't effect your sales one jot.

Where's the Paris angle, because having her in one or two of your films might increase sales in certain markets.

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Mushroom

quite interesting numbers in that report

It is interesting that before the 2.5% of watching films by p2p, there is 26% from dvds.

That legal download is but 1% (no mention of margin of error) and online streaming only 1.9% suggests that people use p2p because online viewing is just not available (or looking at lovefilm and netflix - there is nothing you want to watch).

Another piece of data is found interesting is the source of funding for British films. The first point is that its the only table in which the figure are not sorted. Is it perhaps to hide the point that the second largest source of funding is the UKFC lottery (at 18%). That is the national lottery. Its only behind distributors at 20%.

Me think they protest too much

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re: download and streaming

These numbers may be low because of very low download caps - with an hour of 720p iplayer taking ~1GB (in practice), that's <10 hours of video per month on BT's bog-standard broadband offering.

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Anonymous Coward

Try before you buy

As many have already mentioned the quality of the output of the film industry is pretty damn poor. We have quite an extensive collection of DVDs and Blu-Ray disks, however 95% of them have been bought as a result of seeing the movie first. Since we only go to the cinema maybe twice a year I think it is fairly obvious how we initially acquire & watch most stuff.

If a film is great, we tend to buy a hard copy, if it's crap it is deleted from both HDD and memory.

If they succeed in stopping me downloading movies for free, they will also succeed in greatly reducing the number that I purchase.

I used to buy CDs once upon a time, but only in the period when napster and winMX were popular, where a friend would reccomend an artist I might like, I would download a few tracks & have a listen. If I liked enough of the tracks I would go & buy the CD. I haven't bought a single CD since about 2005/ 2006 when the winMX users dropped below a threshold that enabled pretty fast single track downloads.

I know I could torrent entire albums or discographies, but then I can't be bothered to trawl through so much content to find decent stuff.

I am now back in the position I was before the internet. Mates bung me CDs they have burned. Unfortunately for the recording industry, having a hard copy given to me doesn't make me go out and buy the CD (it does however sometimes make want to go and buy some more CDs by the same artist)

I have said for years that cinema's should charge the fee on exit of the cinema representative of how long you could bear to sit through it. This way box office returns might actually reflect how many people liked the movie rather than how well marketed or hyped it was. All too often you finish a film and think - er that was pretty crap, but by then they already have your money :/

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>>"I have said for years that cinema's should charge the fee on exit of the cinema representative of how long you could bear to sit through it. This way box office returns might actually reflect how many people liked the movie rather than how well marketed or hyped it was."

Interesting idea.

Might increase people taking a chance on something they're unsure about.

Some places could probably boost profits by selling more snacks and drinks if attendance went up, even if lots of people left films early.

Though if it was a really crap film, there could be an annoying queue as everyone tries to get out while it's cheap (or free).

Maybe 'leave early - your refund goes to local charity' would be an option?

Though I have to say that the worst films I've sat through weren't overhyped Hollywood tat, but ones that a mate who read too many pseudointellectual reviews insisted on seeing.

A subtitled film about two Dutch tramps screwing a dead body in the sea? Now *that's* 'Art'.

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Bronze badge

ok, you hooked me.

What's the Title?

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@theodore

>>"What's the Title?"

If it's the Dutch (or was it Belgian?) film you're asking about, I didn't pay much attention to the title (and maybe it was dubbed rather than subtitled) but given the guy who insisted we see it, I guess it would have been around 1990/91.

I would look for more information, but that might risk me remembering more of the film.

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WTF?

Lets face it, it's the blockbuster films that suffer the most from piracy, and not the small independent film makers.

So instead of this stupid legislation, if they want to increase revenue, why don't they cut back on costs, like the ridiculous salaries paid to executives, producers and film stars.

In turn they can lower the cost cinemas play to show the films, and reduce ticket prices, meaning more people will go to see the film legally.

I find it hard to feel sorry for a industry that is so full of self indulgence.

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>>"So instead of this stupid legislation, if they want to increase revenue, why don't they cut back on costs, like the ridiculous salaries paid to executives, producers and film stars."

At least when it comes to 'stars', surely one reason they get highly paid is that (rightly or wrongly) producers/backers think that having one or more big name will increase bums-on-seats and DVD, TV and other sales enough to justify the cost.

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FAIL

Unbalance

The content industry is corrupt through and through, I simply will not support them in any way and the numbers of people thinking like me are only going to rise.

The film industry wants to push increasingly poor quality product, in an increasingly poor delivery mechanism for ever higher costs... They are greedy, and have absolutely no respect for their potential customers.

Copyright terms are simply too long, I believe in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay... The idea that someone who produced a piece of media 50 years ago still being paid for it today is absolutely farcical.

Cinemas are unpleasant environments (noisy, smelly, dirty, over crowded, uncomfortable, you've paid but are still subjected to commercials and patronising piracy warnings) and aren't getting any better, only more expensive.

DRM schemes artificially restrict paying customers and then try to rip them off by making them pay again for what they would have had in the first place (ie ability to view the movie you purchased on other format devices)... While pirates enjoy superior drm-free media.

Many movies are simply lousy, and yet instead of trying to offer a product people actually want, the movie industry is angry that modern communication technology allows people to spread the word too quickly and they cant stage their old scam or hyping a crap movie up and making a fortune before the word spread about how awful it is.

Region restrictions on media are an insulting form of discrimination. Why should I have to wait longer and pay more to see the exact same movie my friends in the US have just seen? On the other hand, why would i bother because by the time its released here i've read all the spoilers online. Why should i not be able to purchase dvds while on holiday, and why should i have to entirely repurchase my movie collection if i go to live in another country?

Whats even worse is that in countries like china or russia where piracy is rampant, cinemas are much nicer and/or cheaper, dvds are much cheaper and often released more quickly and the other legitimate offerings are often much better than whats offered in the west. So as a reward for having a lower rate of piracy, we simply get shafted.

There's no way i would want to support an industry that treats its paying customers with such utter contempt.

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@Joe Montana

>>"Region restrictions on media are an insulting form of discrimination. Why should I have to wait longer and pay more to see the exact same movie my friends in the US have just seen? On the other hand, why would i bother because by the time its released here i've read all the spoilers online. Why should i not be able to purchase dvds while on holiday, and why should i have to entirely repurchase my movie collection if i go to live in another country?"

Why would you repurchase an entire movie collection rather than just taking your old player with you or buying a region-free or unlockable player?

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Anonymous Coward

I'm quite a big DVD buyer, but only because I cannot buy films online free of DRM, and I then rip to my media server so its available anywhere on my network.

The film industry needs to get itself together and push new films to us through different means if they want to reach that extra... 2.5% of people who use P2P...

Wow 2.5% really? they expect them all to buy all the films they download? unlikely...

But since film people are generally not good with numbers, you cannot expect any valid estimates. The same goes for the politicians that will vote on it.

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min

anything...

...the Minbird at home wants to watcn, i'll tend to rent from my local library, if they have it, and to their credit in these torrid times for libraries, they generally do. if is it something she really wants to see in the cinema, i'd rather she goes with friends, or come to a local independent cinema with me, which does not have verbose teens with mobile phones surgically implanted to palms or cheeks. no popcorn, but that's no bad thing. nowadays it is rare that i'd buy a DVD/BR, unless i was really keen on a film i had seen - a rare thing nowadays (and it is certinly not going to be a region 2 disc).

given the quality of most films nowadays, i'm not really feeling like i'm missing much. did watch the new Johnny English film recently...it was the exact same as the last one - generally only funny for RA's physical comedy, but as unmemorable as the first one.

if this is the general quality of films that they're trying to protect, then best of luck to them. i don't see it changing their bottom line one little bit. as mentioned before, there'll be a load of false positives and general inconvenient crap for a good number of innocent people.

thank god for other distractions than films...

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So if you guys think its all rubbish

Why the hell do you spend time and effort ripping it off? I think the film industry's content is lagely mass market b*****s, so I don't watch it at all: not even on freeview. The thing you really can't replace, if its such dross, is not the money, but the irreplaceable hours of your lives you spend watching it.

If on the other hand you actually do think its worth watching, but don't want to pay for it, then that's another thing entirely, and all this preaching about value looks a lot like hyprocrisy.

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Vic
Silver badge

> Why the hell do you spend time and effort ripping it off?

We don't.

But the film industry has seen a decline in profits because we aren't bothering with the tosh they put out. And they seem to have convinced the last government that that decline is because of pirates with cannon and swords and bandanas and lots of swashbuckling.

If even the FPRP - which I'm absolutely certain will have no hint of bias in its output - only puts the problem at 2.5%, it is clear to anyone who is looking that the whole "piracy"[1] problem is a storm in a teacup; the decline in film revenues is because people are deciding that going to the flicks is no longer worth the price they charge.

The government[2], in its usual fashion, chooses to put in place yet more draconian laws rather than fix the real problem, though...

Vic.

[1] And I use the word quite wrongly.

[2] This isn't a party-political thing; the DEA was introduced under a Labour government, and supported under a Tory/LibDem coalition. All three main parties are equally clueless[3] in this arena.

[3] I'm being generous; there are other, more sinister words that could be used here :-(

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>>"But the film industry has seen a decline in profits because we aren't bothering with the tosh they put out. And they seem to have convinced the last government that that decline is because of pirates with cannon and swords and bandanas and lots of swashbuckling."

Surely having far more movies available from broadcast (and more easily recordable) must also be a factor in what happens regarding DVD sales, and maybe cinema attendance?

If people aren't bothered precisely what they watch, there's a fair bit to watch legally, either free, or at least covered by their satellite or cable contract.

>>"[3] I'm being generous; there are other, more sinister words that could be used here :-("

You intrigue me there - I guess the source of the [3] got removed during editing?

(Unless 'they' are censoring you.)

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MJI
Silver badge

We will buy good films

I tend to record the odd film off Film 4, I don't bother with HD films on C4 or ITV - those logos do my head in.

But I used to buy DVDs like they were going out of fashion, but cold turkeyed at the time, film quality dropped and locked adverts on how to pirate came in.

I now buy on average 1 Blu Ray every 2 - 3 months and now that is enough.

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I..

...should have gone to specsavers.

Scratch my comment re the [3] - looked for it in *all* the text, twice, but didn't see it.

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Bronze badge

he pulled a Pratchett

his footnote has a footnote.

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Bronze badge
Happy

ignore my reply

I'm above deleting posts that turn out to be stupid, wrong, or both.

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Vic
Silver badge

> Surely having far more movies available from broadcast

> (and more easily recordable) must also be a factor in what

> happens regarding DVD sales, and maybe cinema attendance?

Undoubtedly.

And yet our Dear Leaders see the "answer" to the above is to get ISPs to spy on their customers. I am in awe of the genius behind that.

Vic.

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Megaphone

This is getting ridiculous. Yes, everyone working on the films deserves to be paid, but the ISPs do not have a role in ensuring that. The only two roles they should have at the moment is building a decent infrastructure (because a lot of what we have at the moment is crap) and providing improved customer service (because what we have at the moment is crap).

Further, I do not believe piracy is the cause of their falling profits, as I don't believe that one pirated copy = 1 lost sale. Also, piracy is nothing new. I believe the main causes of falling profits would more likely be the increased choice offered by the availability of other forms of entertainment (games, more television chanels, etc) and the industries own greed (the cost of getting the films, the cost of going to the cinema, annoying adverts about piracy at the start of DVDs and their lack of willingness to play nicely with the likes of Netflix and let them stream new films).

I believe the solution for them is to play nicely with the steaming services and make it easier to get the films at a fair price than it is to pirate. I feel that Spotify does this for music and I believe there is room for a similar service for films that has still not been filled.

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