People have been downloading too many television boxsets lately.
This is a problem for the people that make them. Well, not the people who literally make them – as anybody will remember from The Writers’ Strike, the people who literally create television series (writers, directors etc) are paid about 20 cents per £20 DVD – but somebody somewhere who gets the chunk of the DVD sales can’t afford enough coke, so something must be done.
Instead of suing children like the RIAA, FACT (The federation against copyright theft) have opted for a softer approach – namely a chirpy advert. As far as adverts from Government go, they either a) use the advert to make complying with government policy cool, or b) try to scare the living shit out of you. As this advert is for DVDs with a twelve plus rating, they don’t go down route B. So you can guess the result.
‘You wouldn’t steal a car,’ it says.
‘Of course not. I wouldn’t know where to put the crowbar and I’d be likely to electrocute myself,’ I think. The phrase appears on screen, somehow stretched into about eight or nine different MTV style cuts. The next cut shows a car, and somebody stealing it, presumably made by an epileptic schoolgirl on one hell of a sugar rush.
‘Illegal downloading is stealing,’ says the narrator.
‘No it’s not. It’s copyright violation,’ I think. So, as you can imagine, the advert doesn’t make you consider any tough moral decisions, it just patronises the shit out of you.
And, the wonderful thing about this advert is that it actually ends up having the opposite effect. It’s played at the start of most American network television boxsets, and means every time you put the DVD in, it plays. No matter if it’s the fifth, sixth, or five hundredth time you’ve seen the DVD, it plays, with the fast forwarding option disabled. So, you end up downloading more TV boxsets then you normally would just so you don’t have to sit through the annoying anti-downloading advert.
It should really have played like this:
Somebody downloads something, puts it on a disc and turns around, only to find the disc slide out of their hand, whiz across the room and decapitate their mother. The person drops to the floor, wailing, and a legend appears across the screen. ‘Downloading ruins lives. THINK.’
I’d have probably stopped downloading things by now, even if I did develop a nasty decapitation fetish.