Downloading pirated films is stealing

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 7, 2008
Updated • Dec 25, 2012
Music and Video

Did you recently purchase a DVD in store? If so you must have noticed this wonderful reminder at the beginning that can't be skipped that downloading pirated films is stealing and a crime. I recently bought 24 season 4 on DVD which comes on seven DVDs and contains all the 24 episodes of this season.

Guess how many times I had to see this announcement? Seven Times! Yes that's right. They put it on all DVDs. I was not able to skip it and that is why I'm writing this article about it. Let me ask you another question. Tell me how many times users who download 24 season 4 from the Internet are seeing this message? Zero times! Yes that is right. If you pirate the tv series you get a clean copy without the "piracy is bad" reminder that people who BUY the DVD get.

Am I the only one who thinks something is seriously out of line here? It's like those game copy protections that do more harm than good. Buyers have to live with the copy protection even though it could mean that the game won't play on their computer but people who download the game? They get a crack and can run it without DVD at all.

Let's talk about DRM in music. Do you think that the majority of songs in Peer to Peer networks has DRM? The stance of the Music Industry is thankfully changing on this matter and I really hope that the Movie and Gaming Industry will make the changes as well.

If I purchase a DVD I do not want to see ads against Piracy. This is insane. The same is happening in cinemas all over the country. You see anti-piracy ads in cinema. Are they going to try to convince the one guy that might sit in one of the cinemas with a cam to stop making a recording the movie?

One could say that they try to sensitize the public but do they have to do that in front of people who actually purchased a product? Why don't they do TV commercials instead? That would probably be more effective and buyers would not feel so irritated with all the anti-piracy ads in their purchased products.


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  1. igor said on January 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    so lets get to the bottom line…hollywood and the “stars” make millions out of every film..they are not going hungry..I was recently given a pirated movie on dvd and it ran fine on my of the blue I am no longer allowed to watch it..all I get is the piracy warning clip and that is that..I’ve tried wmp, wmp classic,zoomplayer,vlc,nero..noe work…what gives..?

  2. Bob Jones said on January 9, 2008 at 7:41 am

    I totally agree, that bloody “You wouldn’t steal a car ..” is absolute rubbish.

    No I wouldn’t steal a car, why? Because I didn’t even pirate this DVD, thats why I’m watching your idiotic message!

    It would be nice once in a while to put a DVD I paid for into my player and be greated with “Congratulations on buying” or “Thanks for buying this” instead of their dross.

    Fox is the worst at it.

  3. Wayfarer said on January 8, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    What all the anti-piracy adverts try to steer us away from is the simple – but accurate – conclusion that the biggest single cause of media piracy is corporate greed.

    Here in the UK in the early 80s, VHS tapes were 70-quid a go – and piracy was rife. A decade later, VHS movies were 10 pounds each, and piracy was hardly worth the trouble.

    I buy a lot of DVDs – but never until they’re at half the normal price or less – I wouldn’t pay 20 pounds for a movie if I never saw one again. I don’t need to copy them – most are handed on when I’ve watched them (though I’m sure the industry begrudges me even that).

    The latest tactic in the UK is adverts and posters trying to link DVD piracy with everything from terrorism to paedophilia – and in the process all the industry do is make a laughing stock of themselves.

  4. Stefan said on January 8, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Industries which treat their customers as criminals are run by idiots. I guess we have to live with it.

  5. D3 said on January 7, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    I dont mind those FBI warnings and Copyright laws screens so much(although, yes, I could do w/o them), they give me time to go to the bathroom or prepare some food b4 the movie starts ;)

  6. DaveA said on January 7, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Thought exactly the same myself last night when forced to see the same message for the 6th time on a set of House DVDs. Two minutes of my life I will not get back.

    If I buy a book there is a copyright notice at the beginning, which I can read or not as I choose. If I don’t, I am still liable in court if I somehow duplicated the book.

    Why should a DVD be any different? Let me press the chapter skip button. Let me take the risk of missing information I already know through other means.

    If the publishers want to educate buyers then put some kind of goody at the end of the propaganda and make sure that people know it’s there. Those most likely to download pirated material are probably bored enough to watch.

  7. m--s said on January 7, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Have you seen The IT Crowd?

    As a side note, the opensource VLC Player does not show DVD advertisements at all…

  8. Seb said on January 7, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Well, I found a great version of basically what you said at the beginning of your post here:
    It’s basically an edited anti piracy poster- quite amusing really!
    Absolutely agree with you though!

  9. JohnDoe said on January 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    The key word here is ADOCTRINATION.
    They don’t care about the hassle on the legal user. They want to change the core beliefs of the viewer… “piracy” = inmoral
    The mandatory adoctrination video at the beginning of the last DVD I rented featured two children who confronted their father about the fact that he’s watching a pirated movie. That’s the ultimate goal here.

  10. Daniel said on January 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    I’m also in heavy agreement. If I spend money on a film, especially if I spend on something like Windows, I want to be free of annoyances.

    I hate that damn commercial about downloading is stealing. It makes me sympathize with everyone except the film makes and film companies.

    On that note, I want to say that I have bought many films I have downloaded. Equalibrium was a film that I loved so much I bought it. So was Lord Of The Rings (although I saw that in the cinema). For me movies are things I will buy if I like it enough. So the lesson is, make good movies and I may download them, but I will ALSO buy them.

  11. Jerusalem Joe said on January 7, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I agree – it kills me that I have a better experience watching a downloaded movie than from the DVD I bought.I really hate that I buy something and years later it is still being controlled by someone else.

    Also, in some cases the downloaded version is far better quality than the DVD itself, especially if you buy older stuff from the eighties and early nineties.

  12. Troels Bjerre said on January 7, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    You’re not entirely right. Nice people would up a full DVD – so the torrentpeople suffer too.

  13. Fedorov said on January 7, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Bought High School Musical 2 DVD for the kids at Xmas, can’t believe how many Disney adverts, DVD and Cinema trailers it forces you to watch before you eventually are able to reach the Main Menu to play the movie or watch the extras that they like to watch over and over again.

    I will most certainly rip my original to produce a copy that is child-friendly for them to use.

  14. Me said on January 7, 2008 at 2:46 pm


    There must be at least one who read the announcement before rippring the DVD.
    If there is one, my honor is safe. If not, I will pirate one DVD to save it.
    By the way, I agree, this is boring and irritating for legal users.

  15. Fips said on January 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. I suffered a similar gripe when my purchased copy of MS Vista claimed after a few days that my hardware profile had changed and I needed to buy a new license in order to activate it. There is no foolproof protection system, and those which exist to the detriment of the genuine buyer’s experience are certainly no solution. Copyright messages like the one you described can only feed piracy, not stem it.

  16. Martin said on January 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Me: The ripper is not seeing this because he is ripping the movie, not watching it. He starts a software, selects the parts of the DVD that he wants to have and that’s it if he is doing a DVD copy.

    If he rips the movies he is also only ripping the movie and not the other stuff on the DVD.

  17. Me said on January 7, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Martin,

    If you don’t mind, I have an answer. The DVDs that are illegally distributed on the internet are DVD rips. So, the pirate, the bad guy who put it on the internet, must have seen the announcement.
    It is there for him… in case he didn’t know.

  18. Jojo said on January 7, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Ha Martin. You missed the subliminal whispers throughout the DVD saying “piracy is stealing, piracy is stealing, piracy is stealing…” :)

  19. Martin said on January 7, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    On a sidenote, they could also run ads on Torrent websites, it could be effective depending on the ads that they would show there. But that would also mean that they would feed the dragon..

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