I love anti-piracy adverts. From those old black and white cartoons that the Federation Against Copyright Theft used to run in computer magazines in the early 80s, usually featuring a couple of kids foolishly buying some dodgy copied cassette tapes of games from a bloke at the market, through to those Simon Bates ads, the implication that if you ever so much as think about copying a cd, it means the terrorists win, and that funny little sticker on your new iPod that asks you ever so politely not to steal music, there’s always been something rather quaint and ridiculous about them (especially looking back on them some years later–cf. “home taping is killing music”). I particularly enjoy it when the anti-piracy message is delivered to me as designated “must watch” content at the start of a legitimately acquired DVD. Because there’s nothing that discourages your genuine customers from going anywhere near pirated DVDs than forcing them to sit through 5 minutes of propaganda every time they settle down to watch their favourite disc, now is there?
On Sunday, Sal and I went to the cinema for the first time in absolutely ages, and before the film started we were treated to not one but two examples of this sadly overlooked genre: one was just the now familiar message asking you not to try to video the film from your seat (I honestly have no idea why anyone would ever want to do this in the UK, considering we get our films several months after most of the rest of the world), but the other was one I’ve not seen before–it used clips from King Kong as an example to suggest that it’s far better to watch the latest big budget blockbuster on the big screen, instead of at home on that DVD you bought off the bloke in the pub, with the poor picture quality and the people in front of whoever filmed it getting up to go to the toilet half way through (actually, I’m not sure why the official line has to be that all dodgy DVDs have been obtained through illicit in-cinema copying–I don’t have the patience to bother trying to download films over the Internet, but I was under the impression that most of the content out there has originated from ripped screener tapes–perhaps it suits the anti-piracy advocates to pretend that all this sort of thing is the fault of the less reputable elements of the general public rather than admit that the source for much of the material is in fact people within the film industry themselves, I don’t know).
Anyway, it’s better to watch new films at the cinema, on the big screen, we were told, because “it’s the experience that counts”.
An hour and a half into Ang Lee’s excellent Brokeback Mountain I was thoroughly feeling that authentic cinema experience for myself, as, having paid more for our two seats to see this one film than I pay for an entire month of DVD rentals from Lovefilm, the throbbing pain in my lower back began to spread to my legs and I felt myself shifting uncomfortably in the tiny seat into which I was wedged at the top of the Camden Town Odeon, the rustle of sweet wrappers from all corners of the room only partially drowned out by the chorus of coughing and sniffing from my fellow patrons ringing around the cinema.
The film is, as I said, great, but I think we might stick to DVDs for the foreseeable.
Does this mean I’m officially old?