May 31, 2005

A Modest Proposal [7:26 am]

Photo by Mark Ralston/Reuters.

Oh, and what about that region encoding thing? A straight-to-DVD solution for piracy [pdf]

Here’s one solution to the nagging problem of movie piracy — release films in theaters and on DVD on the same day.

Frankly, it’s already happening. Less than 24 hours after its theatrical release, bootleg DVDs of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” were selling in small shops and on street corners around New York, and probably lots of other cities as well. Though the quality ranged from poor to decent, from what I’ve seen, it’s a safe guess that lots of people bought them anyway since they cost around $5, about half the price of a movie ticket. And for those with the patience and hardware, the film was also available — illegally, of course — over the Internet.

[...] Already, the Motion Picture Association of America is threatening to file lawsuits against those downloading movies from online file-sharing services. As with the music industry, yes, that’s one way to fight piracy, but suing the same people you ultimately want to purchase your product seems like a pretty shortsighted business plan.

Instead of strong-arming its customers, the film industry needs to consider eliminating the so-called “window” between theatrical runs and DVD releases.

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