Archive - Jun 17, 2004

Rated "D" For Really, Really Stupid

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Memo to Jack Valenti and the MPAA: YOU ARE DUMB.

I hate to do this to a man who made fun of his own cheeks on Freakazoid!, but Valenti and the MPAA have their cheeks so far up their own cheeks on the piracy thing it's insane. They are in the midst of a golden moment, a perfect opportunity to discourage 99.8% of all illegal movie downloading. It'll only take a week, tops, but they won't do it.

Here's what they're doing instead. First, they ran a series of ads in which average, blue collar stuntmen, lighting guys, and fluffers talked about how every time you download a movie off the Internet, one of their many children goes to bed hungry. And they ran these ads in movie theaters. Right before movies. Showing them to a bunch of people who had ALREADY decided to go to a theater and watch a movie instead of pirating it. Brilliant maneuver there. Valenti. Odds are, most of the people who saw those ads learned, for the first time, from those ads, that it was even POSSIBLE to download movies from the Internet.

It's a good thing Valenti wasn't the president of Redi-Whip. He'd put big signs up in supermarkets that say "If you hold the can like THIS..." (and there'd be a helpful picture of a puppy or something holding the can up to its snout) "... and sniff, you'll get really high for a little while. That wastes the dehydrated milk protein and carageenan loaded into these cans by hard-working members of the whip industry. So don't do it, OK? Even if you will get REALLY HIGH."

And now, this weekend, Valenti is rolling out a multimillion dollar ad campaign in newspapers and magazines. Valenti, who is four thousand years old, thinks that "...it's a pretty damn good ad. We're optimistic." * The ads say: "Parental Guidance Suggested: Illegal downloading inappropriate for all ages.".

Some optimism. That's the kind of ad campaign that makes me want to go and download a movie this weekend just to spite him. Maybe "Garfield". Not like I'm gonna watch it or anything.

You want to know what ad campaign would stop illegal movie downloading in its tracks? It's simple. It would have worked much better, say, six months ago, but it'll work fine now. All you have to do is run ads in every major newspaper in the country. The ads say "Now, you can download movies for free off the Internet", and give a link to a site like suprnova or whatever that has links to movie downloads.

I know this seems counterintuitive, but bear with me. Let's take a sample of, say, 1,000 people who see the ads, think that's a great idea, and try to go to the site. Here's how it'll break down.

  • Number of people unable to connect to the site at all, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 172.
  • Number of people who connect to the site and realize that it'll take a month for their dialup connection to get the movie, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 316
  • Number of people who connect to the site, click on a link, and can't figure out what a "torrent" is, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 198.
  • Number of people who figure out what a torrent is, install the proper software, and can't get it to work properly, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 105.
  • Number of people who get their download started, but are unable to complete it within two days, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 78.
  • Number of people who successfully download a movie, try to run it, and only get the soundtrack because they have the wrong codec installed, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 53.
  • Number of people who have the correct codec installed, are able to watch the movie, and learn that it's a crappy camcorder bootleg where you can hear the guy in the next seat coughing up a lung for the entire movie, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 41.
  • Number of people who get a decent bootleg of a movie, watch it, and get annoyed because it's really not that convenient to watch movies by yourself in your home office sitting at a desk chair for two hours in front of a cheap Gateway 15" LCD monitor, and as a result, never bother trying to download a movie again: 35.

This leaves, out of every thousand people who actually try to download a movie off of the Internet, a grand total of TWO people not completely annoyed and disillusioned by the entire process. And these two people probably have so much in the way of gear that they've already put a much higher percentage of their income into the entertainment industry than the average person ever will in their lifetime. But like anything, downloading movies is just going to get easier as time goes by. You've got to get people trying it now, while it's a huge fucking hassle. Encourage downloading! It's the only way to stop it.

You Are Dumb Dot Net: Solving the world's problems, one mental deficient at a time.

* As a result of saying the word "damn", Valenti was forced to immediately rate his statement PG (mild profanity). Valenti is appealing the rating.