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-   -   A serious proposition regarding bootlegs (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/forum-feedback-support/95963-serious-proposition-regarding-bootlegs.html)

Playitagainsam 03-30-01 05:34 PM

Dear Geoff,

I have been a memeber of this board for quite a while, as anyone can see. I think this is one of the best Internet forums as far as movies are concerned.

However, these past few months have brought a new factor into our lives, as movie buffs and collectors. I'm talking about bootleg DVDs.

Now, we all know that bootlegs come in two kinds - as copies of already existing materials or as stuff that was never put on DVD. The same thing is valid in the music world, where this phenomenon has existed since the 60's and has only accelerated with the advent of CD, then mp3.

I would like to suggest easing the ban on DVD bootleg discussion. At least, only in what products in the second category are concerned.

These bootlegs, such as the Star Wars trilogy, are not only an obvious subject of conversation (look at how many people love the films and are enraged by the asinine politics of Lucas & co.) but also, by talking in the forum about image quality, sound, features, prices and availability, we are protecting ourselves, as end-users, against poor material... where else could we go talk about it? This attitude isn't going to help things - bootlegs don't go away because you don't mention them in public!

Please remember that the first purpose of this forum was (and I hope it will stay so in the future) the discussion of DVDs. There was no mention of bootlegs, since they did not exist at the beginning. To ease your conscience, you can post guidelines regarding the discussion of bootlegs, such as not allowing the display of sources (i.e. vendors).

If DVDtalk will not help consumers (instead of helping the industry, like the folks in the HTF!) by allowing them to discuss matter of importance to them, then some other forums will appear at some point and offer this feature. And people will start dividing their time and attention between that other forum and DVDtalk - with obvious consequences. Law number one in market economy: give the people what they want! We can continue the discussion on political and economical grounds, but this is hardly the place to quote Marx, Weber, Habermas or other theorists :)

The least you can do is allow us to post reviews of bootleg DVDs, so that we'll know what should be avoided and what is well-made.

Please give this issue some thought. I hope you will agree with me, at least in part.


renaldow 03-30-01 07:15 PM

Bootlegs have always been around, and aren't anything new or special. The SW DVD's aren't any less of a bootleg than any other movie, regardless of how much people like them or want them. They're all still a violation of the DMCA. If you buy a bootleg, you get what you get. You take a chance.
There are other forums that discuss bootlegs on the Internet, and quite frankly, they suck. As soon as bootlegs become an open topic an undesirable element will enter the forums. I've seen it happen on other boards and forums.

No matter how you feel about bootlegs, I don't think this is the proper forum for them. Talk about them elsewhere, there are plenty of places already talking about them online. Go there. Keep this forum a cut above the rest, as well as legal.

Geoff, please do not allow any special considerations for specific messages about bootlegs.

gcribbs 03-30-01 08:28 PM

as soon as Geoff allows it - do not be surprised to see someone BIG sue him for violating the law. sure they probably would lose because of free speech but since this board is moderated he might lose.

The losers would be us after Geoff had to shut done to pay legal fees.

There is no reason to allow this Geoff. Bootlegs are against the law. The information can be found elsewhere if people look for it.

Playitagainsam 03-30-01 09:59 PM

renaldow and gcribbs,

I think your comments are interesting, and I see your points of view. However, I think that precisely by keeping an open mind you can be of a real use to the community. You seem to prefer having DVDtalk as some sort of a select club. Are you going to tell those people who want to know more about bootlegs "go elsewhere, we don't want you here?" What gives you the assurance that this is the correct procedure? Is it best, then, to keep silent about something that exists regardless of whether you want to see it or not?

My proposition regarding posting reviews should be at least seen as purely mechanical: You have something. Some other people would like to know what it is, and how it performs. That is the purpose of the review. You give them a description, which also includes the detail that those objects might offend copyright law. Does that make you a criminal? Does it matter? Having those objects (bootlegs) does not make you a criminal (at least not yet), so why would talking about them (not advertising! talking!) mean you broke the law?

BadAsh 03-31-01 12:22 PM

As someone who has recently been slammed for requests concerning bootleg info I can say I that I would love to have the opportunity to see this info listed here at DVD Talk. On the other hand though, such discussions and promotion of bootleg sources can and will bring on legal charges against Geoff and DVD-Talk.

I have noticed lately that the mods here have been a little more liberal on the bootleg discussion issue. In fact there is still a thread open in the "DVD Talk Forum" concerning the latest Star Wars bootlegs. That thread has mostly been review/discussion but no dealer source discussions or begging for information. There was a "begging" thread yesterday where everyone was asking for information. I am not ashamed to say that I have done my best to provide such information to all who requested it but as I saw yesterday such requests can really get out of hand. I believe I have replied to 30+ people so far.

While I do agree that Discussion/Review threads should be allowed for bootlegs I don't ever want to see threads discussing bootleg dealers/sources. Such threads will only bring trouble for DVD Talk.

I think that at the very least, Discussion/Review threads will provide needed info on such bootlegs and those participants in the threads can field outside requests as they so desire thus leaving DVD-Talk out of the loop and clear from legal ramnification.

And before I end this post, Geoff I would just like to say how displeased I am with all the tattletale threads by people like JohnnyR. If people like him want to be moderators or have full control over the content of these forums then he should create his own site and just stop complaining. Go back to kindergarten where such triffe was the norm.

renaldow 03-31-01 02:02 PM

Let me first start off by saying that I personally don't care if someone owns/collects bootlegs or not. My opinions aren't based on moral judgements, etc. and are not about bootlegs in general, but about discussing bootlegs on DVDTalk.

Playitagainsam No, I really don't see DVDTalk as some sort of select club. If it was, I probably would never have been accepted. I've been participating in forum/messageboard/newsgroups on the Internet for 11 years. Before that I spent about 5 years on Bulletin Board Services and FIDONet. I do not say this to shock or impress, but to hopefully give you some idea that I am a veteran of boards, and that my opinions are based in past experience.

There are a few main reasons I am against it, and why I think it would be detrimental to DVDTalk.

1. There are many places on the Internet to find the information you are looking for. Many DVD/VCD forums (that aren't run as a business) openly discuss all aspects of bootlegging. It's not hard to find this information, all you have to do is use a seach engine, use IRC or read newsgroups.

2. Not to sound like an elitest, but: when you start discussing bootlegs, you will start getting junk posts by the kewl 31337 d00dz. Bootleg discussions often creep in like weeds and take over the garden. When that happens, the level of useful information goes down. This isn't based on a fear, this has been my past experience. Would it be a good idea to open a sex shop inside of a Toys R Us? Of course that's a hyperbolic example, but clientelle changes do change the atmosphere and information. I don't see discussing bootlegs being an activity that will enrichen the forums or make it a nicer place to be.

And no, I would not post "go elsewhere, we don't want you here" if someone discussed bootlegs. Have I yet? This has nothing to do with "special clubs or elitism" it has everything to do with not corrupting the civility and quality of information on DVDTalk.

3. Geoff is running this site as a business, and it has respect in the DVD and film industries. Aside from the forums, there are interviews, special features and other things that would not exist without the industry support. By introducing bootlegging topics, this will probably all drop away. The industry is not going to support something that allows the bootlegging of their properties. This would definitely be detrimental to DVDTalk.

4. Piracy is the #2 international crime, it falls right behind drug trafficing. It's an illegal activity. In the US, where this site exists, there is a federal law called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The law has teeth, and is used to vigorously prosecute people trafficing in copyright infringing information. Not goods and merchandise, information. In the eyes of the feds, it would be the same as reviewing the latest heroine shipments, quality of the latest sex slaves, etc.. When you look at the federal RICO and conspiracy laws, you'll see that free speech does not apply when discussing illegal activities. "For educational purposes" is a weak disclaimer, and while it has been held up in court for many things, it has always been shot down when applied to copyright infringement. If you look at the MPAA v. Everyone in the DeCSS lawsuits, you'll see exactly what I mean. The MPAA could, and by their track record, possibly will take legal action against DVDTalk.

You wrote, "You give them a description, which also includes the detail that those objects might offend copyright law. Does that make you a criminal? Does it matter? Having those objects (bootlegs) does not make you a criminal (at least not yet), so why would talking about them (not advertising! talking!) mean you broke the law?"

Yes, according to the DMCA, all of that does make you a criminal. Owning bootleg DVDs is illegal. Again, read about the DeCSS decisions. And yes, if you're doing it on DVDTalk, it does make DVDTalk a criminal too. Nothing may happen to you, but something may happen to DVDTalk.

This posting isn't meant to be taken as support of the DMCAA or MPAA, (I'm not) but to illustrate the laws we currently live under. If you don't like it, help to change those laws. By blatantly ignoring them on a commercial site only puts that site in jeopardy, which I don't think you want.

There are very real reasons bootleg discussions have been fobidden here, and other sites as well. You may see it as being totally harmless and not hurting anyone, but think of it this way: You're asking Geoff to risk his business and personal bankruptcy, as well as the jobs of everyone who works for him, just so you can review the latest SW or BTTF bootleg on his site.

That's not a position I'm willing to put myself in, the trade off isn't good enough, especially when the information you're looking for is freely available from a multitude of other sources on the Internet where that risk does not apply.

If Geoff decides you've got a great idea and he's willing to take those risks, then fine. I'm not on any crusade or anything. I'm just asking that you look at what you're asking for realistically, along with the ramifications and consequences before you decide bootleg reviews/discussion belong here.

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