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Bootlegs at conventions

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Bootlegs at conventions

Old 04-29-03, 01:42 AM
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Bootlegs at conventions

If anyone has ever been to a scifi/comic convention, there always tends to be the one dealer that sells nothing but bootleg video tapes. Right out in the open. Everything is on taped onto a blank VHS tape and put in a case with a color printed cover. There is everything from unaired Buffy episodes to movies never released (Fantastic Four). Again, right out in the open. The worst part of all is the fact that they charge $20 for a tape!

How can these people do this knowing that everything there is illegal? Why don't cops come in an bust their scalping arse?

I wonder how they would react if I offered $5 a tape or I would place a call to the local FBI office for the various copywrite/pirating operation going on?
Old 04-29-03, 02:08 AM
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It happens all the time, and it's usually more than one dealer! Where I live, there is a flea market that is open every weekend (at an undisclosed location, I am not supporting this!) where people do the same. Some times they do charge a lot, but often if you buy a lot from them they knock their prices down and are willing to haggle. Again, it's not in support of them, it's just the way they work.

As to if it's illegal, I am sure it is. I have often wondered how places hosting conventions could allow it, but it's one of those things like Ebay, everybody knows it goes on and it seems most everybody just turns a blind eye. But I did hear a story from a friend of mine who went to a Star Trek convention and they busted some people there for selling pirated Paramount liscened product. Now that's just plain stupidity if you do that and you're asking to be busted.
Old 04-29-03, 02:29 AM
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I too have been to conventions where a Paramount representative showed up and shut down some vendors and threatened to remove the convention license of the promoter of the event. This wasn't so much for bootlegging, but a powerplay between Creation and Paramount and Fedora and others over trying to control upcoming merchandise for the Enterprise series.

Although the money-grubbers at Paramount don't understand this (as witnessed by the crusade against Internet sites a few years back), most people realize that any publicity is good publicity. As long as the bootleggers are selling things that cannot otherwised be purchase (unaired pilots, etc), the system works in favor of the production companies and serves as a promotion tool.

Anyway, like many things, this subculture is quite small, self-contained, and isn't harming anyone. The authorities have better things to do with their time.

das
Old 04-29-03, 02:37 AM
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Re: Bootlegs at conventions

Originally posted by resinrats
If anyone has ever been to a scifi/comic convention, there always tends to be the one dealer that sells nothing but bootleg video tapes. Right out in the open. Everything is on taped onto a blank VHS tape and put in a case with a color printed cover. There is everything from unaired Buffy episodes to movies never released (Fantastic Four). Again, right out in the open. The worst part of all is the fact that they charge $20 for a tape!
I am not a seller, nor do I recommand anyone to buy these things but you have to remember.. it is your choice to buy it or not. you willing support or not support them when you buy the item. Also note that not everyone has all the connections and the means to get everything that a bootlegger might have. If you didn't have the net connection with a P2P downloading program, could you really get those Buffy episodes or whatever? the major funding for these are the folks without the means to the said tapes.



How can these people do this knowing that everything there is illegal? Why don't cops come in an bust their scalping arse?


Because unlike selling on the streets, Conventions are funded by people paying to get into the show room. It's a private place in a sense and the one that can really be held responsible is the dealer room's owner. Also, if you haven't noticed, Police budgets are really thin and I doubt they can splurge on the monthly Convention bust. It's a waste of Man power, and Police budget to track down every bootlegger.




I wonder how they would react if I offered $5 a tape or I would place a call to the local FBI office for the various copywrite/pirating operation going on?
They would do what I am doing, Laughing, but only they would be doing it to your face.

Conventions have been a means for folks to get illegal stuff for years before the internet. Place a call to your local FBI office, I'm sure there hotlines are waiting for your call so they could jump on the pole to slide down into there FBI-mobile to come in the convention doors paying the fee of course busting with guns in the air to come arrest that awful awful bootlegger.

Sure the prices are out of this world, but I tell you one thing, the only real reason you are mad is because you don't have other access to getting said material. I guess since I know other means to get those deleted scenes or never before seen films, then I just shrug it off when I see a bootlegger with a table selling that collection of invader zim episodes. Then again, maybe it's cause I've been going to them for close to 14 years and just got used to them and found other ways to get ahold of said rare items.



either way, bootleggers will always be part of Conventions because it sells. It's a sort of dirty underbelly of conventions. Convention promoters don't advertise it, but they don't discourage it... unless some one serves them with papers to crack down on it or lose the license to run said convention. either way it's a black market and it's fueled by these because there is a demand. I don't suggest or recommand it to anyone, But I wont say that it is all that bad because it does bring about more folks to the show room and in doing so, gets more sellers who do sell legit things to buy booths and sell me their goods.
Old 04-29-03, 03:48 AM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
As long as the bootleggers are selling things that cannot otherwised be purchase (unaired pilots, etc), the system works in favor of the production companies and serves as a promotion tool.
That's always been the ethical line, to my mind.

If these chuckleheads would release this stuff, then they could gouge us for it.

Nobody really wants to watch VCDs if nice DVDs are available.
Old 04-29-03, 04:29 AM
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Thing is it goes beyond that. it goes on to a certain myth. Take notice on bootlegs I can think of off the top of my head:

*Traci Lords collections:
Of course everyone goes on about how most of her scenes were shot while under age and thats a selling point.
*Batman Beyond: Return of the joker
Before the uncensored dvd was released this one made it's rounds all over the place
*Films that are still in theaters
It's a given that these will float around for the few months between theater release and dvd release. just ebb and flow
*Television Episode Collections
Pretty much the sum of said series without ad's in them taped on VHS or VCD in a little bundle. Not much really you can do about it. Hell the quality itself isn't really a great selling point but die hard fans like it
*Vintage Episodes
Think of it as the Television episode collection only with stuff like M.A.S.K, Transformers, random stuff like that
*Concerts
Of course any popular band within the convention going public's interest in music gets the shows bootlegged.
*Fantasic Four
You really don't want to see this, but it's like a train wreck.. You just can't turn your eyes away from it.
*Fan Edits
Crap like "The Phantom Edit" were they edited out Jar Jar from Ep1. stuff like this

So in a sense, a lot of this stuff is like a trainwreck. you don't really want to look, but you just do. The high price is usually a part of it and I doubt any law enforcement will come down on it unless some rep from the company of said bootleg steps in and demands action being taken.. then again Conventions are so random the sellers are like carnie's. they disappear after the day with some e-mail as the only means to contact them or some small website. Businesses would rather go after stores since they are not always on the move from convention to convention.
Old 04-29-03, 06:54 AM
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Originally posted by Jackskeleton
Thing is it goes beyond that. it goes on to a certain myth. Take notice on bootlegs I can think of off the top of my head:


*Television Episode Collections
Pretty much the sum of said series without ad's in them taped on VHS or VCD in a little bundle. Not much really you can do about it. Hell the quality itself isn't really a great selling point but die hard fans like it
*Vintage Episodes
Think of it as the Television episode collection only with stuff like M.A.S.K, Transformers, random stuff like that
This kind of stuff is what I'm talking about. As long as it's unavailable on DVD, there is going to be a market for it. And since it isn't a pirated version of something available as a retail item, I'm really hard pressed to see why anyone should get upset about it. That also goes for TV films (like the '73 item w/ Roy Thinnes that was a subject of conversation here recently.), that are almost cetainly never going to be released on DVD, because the market for them is so very small.

No one is being discouraged to skip theatrical showings (like they are by bootleg versions [VHS, VCD and downloadable] of movies currently in theatres), no one's available retail DVDs are being undercut or usurped...I fail to see the ethical argument for this stuff not being available.

I know that it's technically illegal, but it seemss, to me personally, to be of a very different nature.

All theoretical to me, but that's how I feel...
Old 04-29-03, 11:30 AM
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Re: Bootlegs at conventions

Originally posted by resinrats
If anyone has ever been to a scifi/comic convention, there always tends to be the one dealer that sells nothing but bootleg video tapes. Right out in the open. Everything is on taped onto a blank VHS tape and put in a case with a color printed cover. There is everything from unaired Buffy episodes to movies never released (Fantastic Four). Again, right out in the open. The worst part of all is the fact that they charge $20 for a tape!

How can these people do this knowing that everything there is illegal? Why don't cops come in an bust their scalping arse?

I wonder how they would react if I offered $5 a tape or I would place a call to the local FBI office for the various copywrite/pirating operation going on?



You've never spent much time in NYC have you?
Old 04-29-03, 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by Jackskeleton
Thing is it goes beyond that. it goes on to a certain myth. Take notice on bootlegs I can think of off the top of my head:
And dont forget the Star Wars Holiday special. That's how I got my copy.
Old 04-29-03, 07:43 PM
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Re: Bootlegs at conventions

Originally posted by resinrats
There is everything from unaired Buffy episodes to movies never released (Fantastic Four). Again, right out in the open.
As others have said, I have absolutely no issue with this (ethical or otherwise). You said it yourself... these are items that have never been released.

If the copyright holders don't want to 'lose' money on bootlegs, they should release it commercially. If they can't (or refuse to), I certainly am not going to complain about someone making an effort to get this material to the fans.

No one is getting hurt here. Now the people selling cheap knock-offs of Die Hard or Monsters, Inc. at flea markets? Those people I have an issue with...
Old 04-30-03, 12:27 AM
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Re: Re: Bootlegs at conventions

Originally posted by bboisvert
As others have said, I have absolutely no issue with this (ethical or otherwise). You said it yourself... these are items that have never been released.

If the copyright holders don't want to 'lose' money on bootlegs, they should release it commercially. If they can't (or refuse to), I certainly am not going to complain about someone making an effort to get this material to the fans.

No one is getting hurt here. Now the people selling cheap knock-offs of Die Hard or Monsters, Inc. at flea markets? Those people I have an issue with...
Precisely
Old 04-30-03, 02:51 PM
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Sci-fi conventions...that's where I got my Ralph Bakshi Mighty Mouse cartoons (which will never see the light of day on DVD) or Darna, the Filipino Wonder Woman movie, or the Gerry Anderson puppet shows (years before they finally got released on DVD). You can't beat a good sc-fi con.
Old 04-30-03, 03:02 PM
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Re: Re: Bootlegs at conventions

Originally posted by bboisvert
As others have said, I have absolutely no issue with this (ethical or otherwise). You said it yourself... these are items that have never been released.

If the copyright holders don't want to 'lose' money on bootlegs, they should release it commercially. If they can't (or refuse to), I certainly am not going to complain about someone making an effort to get this material to the fans.

No one is getting hurt here. Now the people selling cheap knock-offs of Die Hard or Monsters, Inc. at flea markets? Those people I have an issue with...


I picked up a copy of the unedited Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker only to have it released on DVD 6-7 months later. Maybe these bootlegs show the studios what they need to work on releasing officially.

That reminds me Wizard Con Chicago is only a few months away
Old 04-30-03, 03:15 PM
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My friend swears by them, but only as a temporary thing until he can buy the officially licensed release.
Old 05-01-03, 09:49 AM
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So apparently, people only care about the director's/producer's wishes about OAR. So if for some reason they don't want the show/movie out on the market, screw the direcector's wishes and buy the bootlegs?
Old 05-01-03, 09:59 AM
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Quoth resinrats <HR SIZE=1>So apparently, people only care about the director's/producer's wishes about OAR. So if for some reason they don't want the show/movie out on the market, screw the direcector's wishes and buy the bootlegs? <HR SIZE=1>


Exactly. Also, when they're not looking, I may hit them on the head with a wrench and steal their clothes. Scum ... all of them.



das
Old 05-01-03, 10:29 AM
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So, anyone want to buy a knock off of Die Hard or Monsters Inc
Old 05-01-03, 11:25 AM
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Re: Re: Re: Bootlegs at conventions

Originally posted by Chew

That reminds me Wizard Con Chicago is only a few months away
It's interesting you should mention Wizard World.

Because last year - between Friday of the con and Saturday of the con, there was a big crackdown on the pirated video material in the dealer's room.

On Friday at the con, there were numerous dealers with so-called "pre-release" VHS and DVD versions of current films. The biggest draw - for some inexplicable reason - was the blurry dub of "Spiderman" that was shown at numerous booths on the convention floor. I didn't see the point at the $8 I wasted at the theater, let alone the $40 for the "boot" DVD.

The one "boot" that I was actively searching for and that I did see on Friday afternoon was a copy of the Buffy musical episode. Several dealers had VCD copies, but I figured it was Day 1 of the con and I didn't feel like burning a hole through my pocket with my funds right away - I'd pick it up on Sunday before heading home.

Nope. Never happened.

On Saturday, swinging through the dealer's room - there was a big, big change at those "boot" dealers' booths. Their stock was cut way down and all those "pre-release" copies of films of questionable legality were nowhere to be seen. One of the more notorious bootleggers - whose name escapes me, but whose a big con attendee at any large "sciffy" show - had black cloths covering his DVD "flip-racks." He explained that the "copyright police" had swept through the con and threatened stiff fines for anyone selling illegal merchandise. That left only the Asian imports and materials liberally construed to be in the "public domain" to be sold by these con bootleggers.

Sadly, the guys that had VCD copies of the Buffy musical would not acknowledge on Saturday that they'd ever had copies of the thing for fear of prosecution.

I have doubts that Wizard World will have any of this material on the dealer's floor this year.

We shall see, though.
Old 05-01-03, 12:54 PM
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I bet you could pick up a bootleg disk and break it in half in front of the dealer and he couldn't do a thing about it. He'd have to admit to being a bootleg pirate in order to claim destruction on property. Just give him the cost of a blank video tape and you could just take whatever you want. He sure can't complain that someone took his illegal material.
Old 05-01-03, 03:39 PM
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That reminds me...I always wondered how much theft took place at conventions, and not with just pirated material. The one I went to had dealers who had put out old, rare books in the aisles, and even small ones, like old vintage TV Guides and Little Big Books and such, some with price tags in the hundreds. What would stop anybody with deep enough pockets and quick enough hands to just walk away with that stuff? Same with the bootleg DVDs? Those are small enough, not to mention that none of the discs are sealed, so you could turn around and give the empty case back to the guy after you get his attention diverted with your buddy. I probably wouldn't do it because it wouldn't be moral, but it's not like they would be able to do much if they caught me, except ask me to leave the convention.
Old 05-01-03, 04:34 PM
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Clearly, calhoun07, you've never seen the wild goose chases of certain vendors after would-be booth thiefs, as they sprint from one aisle to the next, huffing and puffing the whole way.
Old 05-01-03, 04:51 PM
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If it's unavailable for legit purchase, I say it's fair game--but only within reason. I include anime "fansubs" in this category: what they charge is only a little more than cost of duplication and shipping.
Old 05-01-03, 10:07 PM
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Originally posted by grunter
Clearly, calhoun07, you've never seen the wild goose chases of certain vendors after would-be booth thiefs, as they sprint from one aisle to the next, huffing and puffing the whole way.
Saw that happen once.

It was about twelve years ago or so, when Bo Jackson was still newsworthy.

It was a flea market, and some kid nabbed a Bo Jackson rookie card, and this little chubby guy that was about four feet tall was chasing this little kid around the place. It was like the Bizarro world French Connection or something.
Old 05-02-03, 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by Jepthah
If it's unavailable for legit purchase, I say it's fair game--but only within reason. I include anime "fansubs" in this category: what they charge is only a little more than cost of duplication and shipping.
I've bought quite a bit of these in the past and even now there is a large quantity that has yet to be released on DVD. Notice that between our anime gang, we probably own on dvd 50-75% of what we have on fansubs.

I'm like the others, if it's not released, buy away if you want. I downloaded The Two Towers on Kazaa but I will still be preordering the dvd the second I get the Email from Amazon to say it's up for it.
Old 05-02-03, 12:59 PM
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Originally posted by resinrats
I bet you could pick up a bootleg disk and break it in half in front of the dealer and he couldn't do a thing about it. He'd have to admit to being a bootleg pirate in order to claim destruction on property. Just give him the cost of a blank video tape and you could just take whatever you want. He sure can't complain that someone took his illegal material.

Never been to one of these have you? You do realize that if it's a convention you have to pay to get in... or hell if it's on someone's property that the owners of said property can get you for it. Even if it's a bootleg, that is someone's property that you broke/stole/etc. and the said owners of the booth will take you to the owner of the place. Even if it's a bootleg, you still "broke it, thus you pay for it".

Your comment made it sound like I could rip someone's old comic book and pay the few cents that the comic was priced at back in 1960 or so because hey.. it cost that much to buy back then and that's what I feel is the amount it's worth.

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