Saturday, June 13, 2009
Yarr! Me Hearties!
We watched a movie on DVD last night and had to wait while it played an interminable anti-piracy advert. We own many a DVD with the exact same anti-piracy message ... you wouldn't steal a handbag ... you wouldn't steal a car ... equating these actions as being the same as stealing a movie by viewing an illegal copy. The irony, of course, is that if we had obtained an illegal copy we wouldn't have had to sit through the annoying anti-piracy ad.
Copyright law, both national and international, has made criminals of us all for some time now. Have you made mixed tapes/CDs of music? Have you taped a TV show and then kept it for months? Have you taped a TV show for a friend? Have you made backup copies of software, music or films? Of course not, because if you had you'd be a criminal.
By the logic of the anti-piracy ad, if you answered yes to any of the above questions you may as well start stealing cars and handbags ... after all, it's the same thing.
As a creator of written content I have a love/hate relationship with copyright law. I do like the idea that if I write something that really makes it big it will be protected (in most countries) and provide an income for myself and my near dependents.
At the same time, I despise the way copyright law is updated in ways designed to stop creativity. I once wrote a story that featured Winnie-the-Pooh, and by rights the bear of little brain should be out of copyright by now and I should be able to publish that story. However, the law was changed to prevent characters like Winnie and Mickey Mouse from going out of copyright, and on current form the law will be changed again around 2019 when these icons and others are up for general release again.
We have figured out one trick though ... some DVDs we own ask you to select the country you live in. Being a fundamentally honest person I was choosing Australia, since New Zealand is not included as an option (oh, no, I live in a place that doesn't exist ... help me, I'm melting). This resulted in these DVDs playing the annoying anti-piracy ad. However, one day I got lazy and just selected the first country on the list, and to my delight the DVD went straight to the menu. It didn't even play trailers first. Once again, laziness has shown me the way.