Sunday, August 5, 2007

Yes, Bootlegging is a Crime

When I saw this, I immediately was shocked and glad to hear it:

Bootleg Bust Nets $225k in Merchandise

I'm glad to see this happen, and honestly, the bootleg DVD market in this city is sickening. More than anything, it pisses me off because I buy all my DVD's legally, and I used to work for a music/movie store myself. While many simply write it off as nothing more than a simply matter of the RIAA and MPAA need to take care of themselves, obvious acts concerning this activity are widely ignored.

The first, and most important example, is the fact that this IS a form of organized crime. It is a very rare situation that your average bootlegger is just one person in their basement constantly making and printing bootleg DVD's and CD's to sell. Instead, it is normally a broad system of various people committing this crime. Just like with real DVD's, these operations have a manufacturer, a distribution center, and people to sell the product themselves. This tends to be on the street or on-line at auction sites. This all adds up into a form of organized crime.

My question to those who scoff at me for making this an issue, I have to ask; Are you so willing to turn a blind eye to organized crime? If your so willing to end this epidemic, wouldn't help to go after these incredibly large bootleg operations? Isn't one form of organized crime normally linked to others?

The next thing that needs to be stressed is the very simple fact that this IS a crime. It isn't about if you think the police should spend their time on it or not, it's just about basic enforcement. Part of my platform calls for a crackdown on minor crimes. While many may see bootlegging as just a minor, the reality is that it falls into a few different categories of federal law. Organized crime, copyright infringement... The list goes on.

If nothing else, let's just ignore that the MPAA and the RIAA are normally the faces of these crackdown. The reality is that that the people being hurt most are the actual writers, directors, actors, layout artists, storyboarders, and all the countless other people who work on these films. Let's not forget all the musician's, graphic designers, and engineers who work and create their music. They all lose money and they all have their work devalued by this.

In the end, it isn't a victim-less crime; YOU pay. You pay because you decide to tolerate crime. You pay because your paying more money for buying music and movies legally. When revenue is lost, it needs to be made up, and most of the time, it's us, the people who buy our movies and music legally, that wind up paying for it.

I am simply advocating that the Philadelphia Police Department no longer turns an overall blind eye to this and begins to start going after these criminals as well as all the others. This massive bootlegging bust is a step in the right direction.

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