Thursday, January 29, 2004
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Clayton News Daily
In this week's issue of Time Magazine there was an article concerning the piracy of movies via "camcording" and hi-speed Internet. It seems the big Hollywood studios are cracking down and have done everything short of hiring Tom Ridge, director of Homeland Security, as their official adviser. Studios are now able to track film prints to specific theaters and pinpoint where this great film robbery is taking place. I applaud Hollywood's efforts, and not because I love the suits and neckties that run the studios, but because I respect the art form and its intended form of exhibition.
Camcording movies off the big screen has probably been around ever since camcorders were small enough to smuggle in your coat pocket with that soda and candy bar from the gas station. When I lived in New York I could buy the latest flicks on DVD in Times Square that were just released at the two megaplexes down the block on 42nd street. I refrained from buying these ragged low-budget copies and continued to the box office to pay a few bucks more to see the same film just once on the big screen. It is beyond me why anyone would even want to watch a grainy hand-held bootleg with terrible sound instead of enjoying a first run hit with a live audience. Some people have cited the audience as the main reason not to go to the movies any more. Some say they don't like all the rowdy kids or "gang activity" and the penny pinchers complain about the price. Meanwhile they are locked up at home watching movies in a vault, and those sitting on their wallets are getting a sore rear end.
To get down to brass tacks the main issues here are respect for authorship and quality of product. As a film buff I have respect for a director's vision and intentions. When I see a film from a director I admire I want to see the film as intended by the director and producer in terms of sound, editing, and cinematography. Bootleg cuts of a film may have missing scenes or may be from incomplete source material without proper sound or color correction. Paying to see a film at the theater is my way of supporting the medium that inspired my passion for photography and the other fine arts. It's just like music, if you don't pay for it, the musicians are not going to make music for free. Actors, directors, cinematographers and the endless slew of people listed in the credits all want to get paid. Those are actually real people in the credits, real humans, I swear.
So please, Internet geeks, stop all the uploading and downloading of movies. Most of them look like garbage anyway. Go to the movies and find a girl to make out with in the theater. Bootleggers, don't be an old "Brody" like the gun toting Seinfeld character, use that camera to make your own movie instead of copying someone else's.
Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.