I write for an emulation website so it makes it hard to be either pro/anti piracy. Really, I am pro-not-paying-insane-prices-for-shit but I also like to know our digital heritage is being protected and is available for future generations. You can’t go to a library and check out a copy of Earthbound. You can’t go to a museum and play Friday the 13th. You can’t buy a copy of Persona or Koudelka without breaking out your wallet.
Collectors may be pissed when I say this but they have caused most of the driving up of prices. Now that forces gamers of modest means to go to emulation sites which the industry hates. Why do they hate it so much?
Well, according to sources inside major publishers, they do hold stock piles of certain titles. These can be then sold to fund other projects. We aren’t talking about warehouses full of games but sealed boxes filled with stuff like Mario Kart, Final Fantasy, and other rarities. The reality is that this is part of the wealth and if push came to shove they could hock it.
They are afraid that emulation will hurt future value of games in a collectors market. How true is this? Not very, if at all it’s completely inaccurate. If anything emulation has increased the value of these games by making them readily accessible for more players. This interest has then caused people to want copies of the original.
What about the claim that piracy goes to help fund illegal organisations? Some allegations even include terrorist groups doing this to undermine American interest. Well, that’s kind of close. Like throwing the ball at the catcher but hitting the umpire in the face instead. So I contacted people who would know about this.
For the sake of safety I have changed their names but everything they have said is true. Kazuma, is a 34 year-old member of the Japanese Yakuza. He has been involved with organized crime most of his life. I meet him back in 2005 at a restaurant outside of a major city. We meet again to talk about piracy and if the statements from the FBI are true.
Does the yakuza make alot of money off of pirated materials?
In the United States, no. Most of our income comes from the ilegal importation of pornography into Japan. This is still considered piracy by the FBI since the magazines and movies weren’t made for distribution in Japan.
Are there really billions being made off of illegal pirated material?
Yes, but not in the way that the FBI portrays it. Most of the money that comes from counterfeit goods are in the form of hard merchandise. Handbags, t-shirts, shoes, and other clothing are the big money makers. A good knock off handbag can out sell a video game any day of the week.
Really, the FBI groups everything together into the idea of piracy. Everything from pharmacueticals to movies. That’s why these numbers are skewed. Most of the movie piracy comes from broke black guys in ghettos and from Afghanistani dirt merchants. Not from us.
As far as the last comments, you have to try to understand. Being involved in organized crime is different and so is the mentality. So if you are offended just understand but even that is off. The Chinese Triads and street gangs have made plenty of money off of printing illegal copies of movies.
Zhang, is a member of the 14k group. He is 29 and has been a memeber of the organization for awhile. I met him awhile back but still is a good friend of mine. So what did he have to say about piracy?
I don’t want to get into to many specifics, but my readers would like to know how much money is made off of illegal copies of movies?
In the United States, not much. People in the United States have access to technology and movies aren’t restricted by the government. Most of the money we make off of copied movies is really made in main land China. People there don’t have access to computers or high grade software like they do here in the states.
So in short, yes money is being made off of this market but it’s mostly because of government restrictions. Sometimes not those imposed by the Chinese government but by others. We get alot of tourist from other countries here. Their governments are alot more restrictive.
So a movie like A Clockwork Orange may sell thousands of copies a day as compared to something newer. People will always seek out what they are told not to have. It’s human nature.
Are you doing this to hurt the movie industry?
No it’s not a matter of hurting the movie industry or any industry. We just supply people with what they can’t legally obtain. No matter if it’s prostitutes, drugs, or movies. We move more X-Box’s and other systems to Venezuela.
We can sell them for 1000 US because of the ban that Chavez has placed on the market. It’s simple, if you ban something, and people want it. Someone will take advantage of that. At times they don’t even need to pirate anything just ban something.
I know what you’re thinking but what Zhang said is the truth. If we impose bans on things then the price always sky rockets and black markets will open up quicker than anything. What about allegations of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations using piracy as a means to fund the war against the US?
There is little proof that massive funding comes from piracy. The reality is that in oppressive regimes, pirating of movies can make money as people look to see what they aren’t supposed to. There are no real facts and figures to show how much Al-Qaeda or and terrorist organisation make off of illegal movies. That’s because they don’t publicly release sales records.
Even in the United States people are forced to pirate. Not because they are trying to hurt the industry, but because they are forced to. One example is with the movie The Prophet. This movie was highly critical of Scientology, so much so that the CoS took the makers to court to stop distribution of the film.They succeeded and the only way you can see it now is by finding a place to download it illegally online.
The Titicut Follies was banned because it showed the realities of mental institutions in the United States. Courts banned it under the guise of protecting patient privacy but the reality is that the horrors shown with in the walls of the institution would have broken up the system early on. Geraldo Rivera, would later make an investigative report similiar to this one about the Willow Brook State School in Long Island, New York. If an educator wants to show a copy of the Titicut Follies, they usually have to illegally download it.
As far as independent movies suffering because of piracy, part of that is because of the industry. Most major movie theaters wil not show independent movies, self promoted films, or others. Many smaller cities in the United States don’t have independent cinemas. So that leaves many people in rural communities unable to see these films unless they go through illegal means, many of these films wouldn’t be seen ever.
Video games are the same way. Many retailers in the bible belt won’t carry certain games if they contain themes that may upset the public. In a lot of these areas internet access is still limited and many can’t download a copy for themselves. So usually one person pirates it and passes around to those who can’t play it. Really, it’s a matter of people that causes this problem.
It would be a great world if everything could be seen by everyone and everyone would pay to see it or play it. The reality is that as long as the industry gives us no other option then they have no right to complain. As long as there is censorship of any type then we are stuck with pirating as a means to get a wider variety of entertainment. Are we doing it because we want to hurt the industry? No, we are doing it because we love it. The industry, like many abusive spouses, tells us what we need and then apologizes just to hit us again.