posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 03:24 AM
Far too severe for a number of reasons.
The issue of piracy here - as always - is a difficult issue. Digital piracy isn't adequately covered by pre-digital (internet, technologies &c.)
terms and concepts. Theft is generally about the taking and the removal of an article. When files are copied and distributed this isn't actually
happening as the original is still there.
This leads on to whether the problem as to whether or not a 'copy = lost sale'. Whilst the lists of the RIAA, the MPAA et al would love this
to believed to be true, it's actually a nonsense. People with moderate or large collections of pirated material generally wouldn't have been able to
buy all that material in the first place. For example, a teenager getting his hands on say 3 or 4 films a week as well as a similar amount of CDs adds
up to somewhere along the lines of £60 to a £100 a week on entertainment media alone. I don't know many adults with that kind of disposable income
to devote to just films and music. If that money isn't there in the first place it can never amount to a 'genuine lost sale' - no matter how much
the RIAA and the MPAA huff and puff about the issue.
Regarding the actual camming and 'screener' DVDs, this is a very small area of piracy. As far as I'm concerned, screeners are pro-longed trailers.
Very, very few people accept screeners as substitutes for anything - not even an actual pirated disk. When disks are being sold and exchanged, far
more often than not they're actual copies/rips of films from disks and not screeners. What Hollywood doesn't like to admit is that more pre-release
pirate copies actually come from review disks or from within the industry itself - screeners aren't the real issue in this respect.
That's not to say that piracy doesn't damage industries, as I'm sure that to an extent it does. However, I'd say that old, out-dated business
models were as much if not more of an issue as well as the consumer being overloaded with options and alternatives for what disposable income they
actually do have. For example, the record industry can't whine about the glory days of the record sales of the 1970s without taking into account of
computer games, consoles, DVDs and so on.
The real issue in this story is the issue of copyright infringement. This is unavoidable. No one camming, ripping and distributing any kind of
material isn't even vaguely aware that there's copyright infringement issues here. However, 90 years worth? Not a chance. Is copyright infringement
- particularly in a case like this - really worse than murder or rape? In fact, in the current economic climate, that someone could get 90 years for
this when fat cat thieves and liars have been pocketing billions in insulting for everybody - even those who claim to work in the film industry and
are said to be more directly affected by the issue of piracy.
Also, it's worth pointing out but when 'examples' are made of people, that's never actually justice per se. That goes beyond the concept of
punishing someone for what they, as the accused individual, has actually done. When you punish someone as a deterrent to others, you're actually
punishing someone not just for crimes they might have done, but also for crimes that other people haven't actually even done yet. That's not
justice by any real definition.