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Taking the Piracy Battle Into Retail

26 Sep, 2004 By: Kurt Indvik

Entertainment piracy is such a nebulous, shadowy sort of transaction that it's easy to see why surveys show that many of those who illegally download copyrighted entertainment don't really feel it's hurting anyone.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been running those public service announcements in movie theaters for some time that show various folks in the movie business telling us piracy hurts their job security, but that doesn't seem to be resonating. So it was interesting to hear Bo Andersen, VSDA president, during a presentation at last week's Home Entertainment Retail Expo, talk about the cost of piracy being about $30 a day for the average video store. I won't go through his calculations (look for this in a later issue of Video Store Magazine), but they make sense, and if they were found to be accurate, it would seem retailers could lose almost $11,000 a year to piracy. Ouch.

Since you can't take the law into your own hands and start scattering DVDs into the street every time you encounter some peddler on the sidewalk or at a local swap meet, your best option is to attack the problem where you have the most impact: in your own store.

The VSDA is working with the MPAA to develop materials to take the piracy message into the retail environment. The VSDA will offer posters and movie theater trailers from the MPAA that retailers can use in their stores. Some of the materials appeal to the idea of parental guidance — how parents can guide their kids' use of the Internet in a way that doesn't run afoul of antipiracy law. Other material is a bit more aggressive, addressing the downloaded directly with a “you can click, but you can't hide” kind of message.

Retailers interested in getting some of these materials can contact the VSDA via e-mail at vsdaoffice@vsda.org.

Meanwhile, the industry continues to develop the best defense against piracy: offering inexpensive and effective legal alternatives to consumers.

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