George Sarant

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ENTERTAINMENT PIRACY

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Entertainment companies are constantly complaining about piracy, but meanwhile they themselves often rip off the consumers who actually pay for their products. For example, I saw 2001:A Space Odyssey when it first came out in a premium-priced Cinerama roadshow. (For those who are too young to remember these terms, Cinerama was a process that used three screens to provide a really wide image of a movie. A “roadshow” was how major movies used to premier. They would initially be booked into a high-end theater, say on Broadway, and run there for months before going into general distribution).

So I paid for that ticket. Then I bought a VHS video tape when it came out. Then I bought a very expensive laser disc version. Then I bought a DVD, and finally I bought a blu-ray DVD. It’s the same with music- buying a record, then buying the CD, and if you’re too lazy to copy your own records, an MP3. Never mind the additional “collectors edition” that inevitably comes out after you’ve paid for the regular version. That adds up to a lot of money paying for the same product several times.

If these companies had any sense they would work more like software companies do with updates. You should be able to register your purchase, and then get a discount when the “upgraded” version or technology comes out. That would be a reasonable marketing approach. They in turn would benefit from a user or database.

There is a lot of piracy, mostly outside the United States, in places like China, and companies are losing a substantial amount of money as a result. If these items were paid for our trade balance would not be so bad. As usual Americans basically foot the bill for the rest of the world, just as they do in medical research, pharmaceuticals, etc.

The entertainment companies would benefit if they looked at their products more like software and treated fans of a title better. Then they might get more sympathy.

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Written by georgesarant

June 16, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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