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Internet Movie Piracy
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I was watching 60 Minutes last night, and one of the stories was on the piracy of movies over the internet.

Here's a partial transcript, narrated by Leslie Stahl. And she starts out by saying this:

It's no secret that online piracy has decimated the music industry, as millions of people have stopped buying CDs and started stealing their favorite songs by downloading them from the Internet.

Huh? The music industry is "decimated"? I don't keep up rabidly with the economic situation of the music industry, but are they really hurting that bad? Have there been massive layoffs? Which record labels have gone out of business?

I'm not endorsing media piracy, but Stahl framed it as if Hollywood was in threat of going out of business.

And now, you don’t even have to watch a movie on a little computer screen. On the newest computers, you can just "burn" the movie onto a DVD and watch it on your big-screen TV.

And that's a dagger pointed right at the heart of Hollywood. “Where movies make the bulk of their money is on DVD and home videos,” says Chernin. “Fifty percent of the revenues for any movie come out of home video … so that if piracy occurs and it wipes out your home video profits or ultimately your television profits....”

And even if movies still continue to be made, [M. Night] Shyamalan says they wouldn't be any good, because profits would be negligible, so budgets would shrink dramatically: “And slowly it will degrade what's possible in that art form.”

Um, anybody buying this load of crap? So half of their money comes from video sales. But is piracy stopping people from buying videos and DVDs?

Apparently not. If Stahl had watched Dan Rather on her own station, she would have seen this story, broadcast last week.

Home video sales will hit $25 billion this year, and Hollywood can't burn the discs fast enough.

Home video sales now account for nearly 60 percent of Hollywood's revenue. DVD sales are not only the fastest growing part of the movie business, they're changing the way Hollywood does business.

DVD sales are exploding, so piracy apparently isn't hurting the industry too bad right now.

As I said, I do think peer-to-peer file-swapping services should be regulated, if not illegal, but somehow I'm having a hard time mustering up a lot of sympathy for those poor, distraut movie executives.

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