John Walker's Electronic House

by on Aug.30, 2004, under The Rest

There is a new initiative, attempting to scare the British public away from purchasing pirated DVDs. This is post isn’t about the rights and wrongs of piracy. This is about the rights and wrongs of telling lies to further your profits.

The Industry Trust for IP Awareness Limited have launched a new campaign called Piracy Is A Crime.

Never mind that they at no point attempt to explain what they mean by “Piracy”. It’s a safe phrase to use, because yes, boarding a boat at sea and stealing its cargo is indeed a crime. Incidents of piracy are on the increase, with one major shipping channel seeing a 33% increase in attacks. None could claim that piracy isn’t a real and dangerous problem. Although, as a rule, it’s not quite such an imposition upon those of us living in the British Isles.

However, as we well know, this is just the lazy catch-all phrase used by the various industries to make “copying” sound scarier. But apparently not nearly scary enough. Because now we are being asked to believe that copying DVDs funds terrorism.

It’s all such pitiful rubbish that it becomes painful to refute. There is no presentable evidence for any of their claims, their information is littered with “could be”, “might” and “potentially”. Their headlines are statements, their proofs are wishy washy filler. Because they’re hoping rather desperately you won’t bother to check.

If, for some reason, you did want to check to see if they are lying to you, here are some good places to go.

Stuart Campbell’s forum has been anonymously posted to by an individual calling himself HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC (a rather pointed reference to previous such campaigns, that were equally deceitful), who has done some fantastic work taking the literature apart, and addressing what the real intentions are.

Stuart Campbell himself has written an extensive article, pulling together all the current activity by the industries, which is a must read.

Also there’s some fascinating (if horribly painful) listening here. A programme from BBC Five Live on Sunday morning, looking at this current campaign. Lynn Faulds-Wood, fronting the campaign alongside Jonathan Ross (sigh), manages to make an utter fool of herself. The balance presented is abysmal (but then the BBC are on board with this ludicrous movement, so that shouldn’t be too surprising), but there’s a nice twist at the end when the Lib Dem MP, brought in to back the whole thing up, actually rubbishes the entire terrorism angle.

Finally, there are a couple of additions to the panel at the right (or at the bottom if you’ve got a rubbish computer). One, not to do with the subject, is Victoria Hiley’s excellent new blog. Then there’s some new magazine articles of mine, on the topic and contravening the topic at the same time, so shhhh.

A lot of money is being spent on this campaign. Don’t let it have worked. Look into it, and then tell others to do the same.

4 Comments for this entry

  • Charybdis

    One thing I generally take up with people pushing this stuff is “If the counterfeit goods look just the same as the real product, HOW THE HELL ARE PEOPLE MEANT TO KNOW THAT THEY’RE FAKE?!”

    Seriously. I had Microsoft waxing lyrical a while ago about their holographical symbols and layered packaging and all the other nonsense, despite the fact that anyone trying to check doesn’t have the faintest clue what they’re looking for beyond “Oh, look. The hologram doobrie says it’s legit.”

  • Cian

    Talking of the radio, whats your opinion on the ’99p Challenge’ which was on last wednesday?
    Thought it was awful myself. Not even Simon Pegg could save it.

  • John

    I love the 99p Challenge. But I love it after it’s finished, when I remember all the good jokes, and not the bits that fell flat and poor Sue Perkins having to read her script.

    It’s the fourth series, and some of the episodes in the previous three have been excellent. Others have been pleasant listening, and only a couple have been rubbish.

    Simon Pegg was strangely flat in the recent episode. Normally he’s the hook. Although if Peter Serafinowicz or Nick Frost are in any of the following episodes, give it another chance. Especially Nick Frost.

  • Victoria

    Your propaganda means the terrorists will win, you evil thief. They won’t be able to pay Nicole Kidman $20 million a movie soon… I bet you’ll complain then.