Hollywood's problem is too much greed and slow adaptation to the digital world. The Apple iTunes Music Store model proves that consumers will buy products that are priced right. There are simply too many middlemen making lots of money with the old-fashioned distribution model. Instead of rapidly adopting to technological changes and giving us CD and DVD burner kiosks in every mall where we can get what we want at a reasonable price, the entertainment industry hires lawyers and tries to keep the old business model fully functional in the Digital Age.
The fact that CD sales fell during the period when digital audio technology became widely available does not prove causality. CD sales were kept at "unnatural" levels from 1983 to 1999 by the baby boomers, who gradually repurchased, in the new format, music already owned on vinyl. But by 1999, boomers had repurchased all the material they ever wanted, including many overlapping compilations containing many unwanted duplicates. (I count no less than eight copies of Hey Paula in my collection!)
Your article focused on what the victims of piracy must do to protect their product and their income. There was no discussion of the immorality of the criminals who pirate the movies or buy from the pirates. It is as if there is no crime if it is cybercrime. It's somehow different from someone stealing a disk from the video store -- it's a delicate suburban stunt as opposed to a brutal urban robbery. People stealing movies or audios are criminals. We should not praise their ingenuity.
The final sentence of "Hollywood heist" ends: "...you have to give the people what they want." What they really want is something for nothing. I am in the production business, so I am very afraid that the product of my work and investment will be stolen by these very petty thieves. Yes, we need to give them what they want, but they also need to pay for it. If they don't pay for it, let's give them a lot of what they do not want -- fines and jail time!
Richard L. Jessup
Sage Road Productions
As a college student, I have been exposed to this wave of "piracy" that you claim has crippled the music industry and now moves to strike the movie industry. The movie industry spends billions of dollars on steaming piles of "artistic" expressions, lies to us through the entire advertisement phase, and then wonders why people don't want to pay $10 to see it at the movies. They are guilty of the same price-gouging scheme as the music industry. To me, the surge in piracy has been just the wake-up call the movie and music industries need.
In 2002, Taiwan's Joint Optical Disk Enforcement Taskforce, with members from the Public Prosecutor's Office, police departments, and other ministries, conducted 297 inspections of optical disk manufacturers ("Tinseltown's aim: To catch a thief," Cover Story, July 14). Of these, 157 were random inspections, and 33 were carried out at night, after regular production hours. Sixteen of the raids were successful, resulting in the seizure of eight manufacturing machines and 1,130,000 pirated disks. Fifteen illegal optical disk manufacturers were closed permanently.
Director, Information Div.
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office