If you live in America, you have to wait until May 7th to see Robert Downey Jr. pound bad guys and booze in Iron Man 2. However, since Paramount's superhero sequel released last week in Europe, several pirated copies of the film made by aspiring Jolly Rogers with camcorders and a seat in a theater have already found their way online-- theaters that were quite packed, I might add, seeing as Iron Man 2 has already scooped up over $100 million from the box office overseas.

Now I'd love to shout, "See, movie studios! Piracy doesn't hurt your box office if you make good movies!", (arguably it doesn't hurt if you make bad movies either, considering X-Men Origins: Wolverine still made $85 million its opening weekend despite a hugely public copy of the film winding up online weeks ahead of time) but that's not what I'd like to discuss. I'd rather talk about what a spokesman for Paramount Pictures told CNET, "It is time responsible governments put an end to it."

You can probably already guess which side of the argument I fall on, but, no, it is not time to hold governments responsible for preventing piracy. And this isn't me pledging my allegiance to the Pirate Bay, either. As far as I'm concerned, stopping movie piracy is such a logistical mess that I'd rather not see my government (or anyone else's) spend a dime in pursuit of such a sisyphian task. By all means the governments of the world should prosecute someone who is caught recording a film in a theater or selling a bootleg DVD on the street in the same way they would enforce the law on someone who steals a DVD from a store, because that is an observable, quantifiable act. That's not what this Paramount ombudsman is talking about, though.
What they are no doubt referring to is government intervention at the consumer level; on the Internet and inside our media players and televisions. They want to have the ability to define a Draconian filter the government can apply to consumer technology; anything that isn't deemed in their best interest is then considered illegal and punishable to the full extent of the law. Again, I do think if you're caught stealing something - doesn't matter if it's a movie, an ambulance or a breath mint - then you should be punished, but I do not want to see the government enacting legislation that they're not writing themselves.

So until citizens start writing to their senators en mass stating they'd prefer it if their government told them what is and isn't a legal use of the bandwidth they are paying their internet service provider for or what kind of a monitor they can hook their Blu-ray player up to (anyone who has ever had to troubleshoot an HDCP error knows this special circle of hell), I don't want to see any more statements from studio representatives that are essentially calling our government's current stance of net neutrality irresponsible. I'd rather see any available resources go toward pretty much any other existing institutional function than to see it wasted on an industry that is turning record profits year-over-year during a recession.

That's just me, though. What do you guys think? Do you think your government's current anti-piracy legislation (or lack of) is irresponsible? Do you think stopping movie-piracy should be another role for the government to take on? Or does this fight belong to the movie studios?
categories Features, Movies, Cinematical