For anyone who might have been keeping track, Marnie was my 100th review. I know, you must feel lightheaded. Have a drink and sit down.
When I was watching Melinda and Melinda tonight, the DVD started with that obnoxious ad that seeks to discourage tech-savvy teens from ripping and sharing movies on the internet. These ads are such a miscalculation that it’s hard to know where to start.
First of all, what that ad was doing on a Woody Allen film is beyond me. The driving beat and grunge-rock guitars are hardly going to appeal to Allen’s audience. Something from Coltrane might have been more effective, as if the MPAA had anything to worry about from this demographic any way. The arty, upper-middle-class folk who embrace Woody Allen movies probably have to consult the instructions every time they need to load their new Miles Davis CD onto their iPod. They would be among the least likely people to have a BitTorrent account.
Of course, among those young, tech-savvy high school and college students, the ads are probably a failure, too. Despite the hip trappings, the basic message of the commercial reads like a lecture from your parents. If these kids were the kind who listened to their parents on these matters, they don’t need to have it reinforced by the MPAA, and those that aren’t are just going to laugh at the ad and go on downloading.
So does the MPAA need to come up with better, more effective commercials and place them only on DVDs targeted at the right audience? Well, that would be more intelligent than what they’re doing now, but still far short of actually being intelligent. If they had an ounce of common sense they would stop treating every member of their customer base like potential criminals. If the movie industry really is losing its shirt due to piracy, it has nothing to do with the odd frathouse technophile sharing movies with the rest of his dorm, but with professional, large-scale bootleggers in Asia. Fighting piracy is probably going to solved, if at all, via trade agreements with those countries in question, not by dragging some grandmother into court because she bought the computer that Junior used to share his copy of X-Men 2.
I’m not convinced that piracy is quite the scourge of the entertainment industry that their lawyers would have us believe. I would be willing to bet that they people picking up Asian bootleg copies of Spider-Man 2 for $3.00 at the local flea market are unlikely to spring for the full priced item at Wal-Mart. Now maybe piracy is hurting the movie studios in the overseas markets, but that’s a poor excuse to take it out on their American consumer base.