It just got a little harder for you to buy bootleg movies in Chinatown, and your chances of getting Superman Returnsoff the internet are a little smaller. But Dan Glickman, head of the MPAA, and all the studio heads in Hollywood slept a little better last night, because on Wednesday, the FBI arrested 13 people from two separate groups responsible for what is believed to be half of all the camcorder piracy in the U.S. (and one-quarter of it worldwide). Even though nobody on Earth really likes these shoddy copies -- they are videotaped inside of theaters, so you can see and hear the audience MST3K-style -- camcorded new releases account for an estimated 90-percent of the world's pirated movies.

I never understood the reason that people buy camcorded copies, even at only $5 each. My one and only curiosity was seven years ago, when I watched a bootleg VHS copy of Mystery Men. It was dark and the sound was horrible. To this day I still don't know what is going on in that movie. I've heard the worst is with subtitled films, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but isn't the attraction of that film the visuals, anyway? I can only understand people getting bootlegs of comedies, which tend not to contain remarkable cinematography or special effects.

So even though I think Glickman has been going overboard with his anti-piracy campaign, I'm pretty happy that these two piracy rings will be put away (like most criminal enterprises, though, another two groups will likely pop up in their place). Nobody should ever watch a movie in such bad shape. Sure we all have reasons for why we hate the theaters, but the movies really do look so much better on the big screen. At least wait three months for the DVD if you're that cheap. But for the sake of cinema, please don't waste your time with camcorded versions. ...

categories Features, Cinematical