This post was actually sent in November 2010 as a newsletter item on the United States Pirate Party mailing list. It is mirrored here because of its mention in No Safe Harbor, a publication of the USPP for those who wish to read the article. Odds are it has dispersed to other corners of the Internet as well.
This past Sunday I went out to the local flea market. There was an item I needed to acquire and one of the shops in the market typically has a good deal on them. I also like stopping by the coin collector guy’s booth and grab a few world coins, only one dollar for five coins. I once bought a handful of coins from him only to return home and investigate my haul to find that one coin in the mix was worth around $28. A good find indeed seeing as I paid 20 cent for it, but I digress.
After I found my item, I had a few hours to kill until I had to be back home so I walked around the flea market. There was quite a few new shops open since the last time I had been there. I noticed one shop in particular had a lot of people buzzing about. Upon closer examination, the shop contained a table with a some containers on it. Behind the table was the proprietor, answering questions and selling things as fast as he could.
What was he selling? DVDs.
More to the point, he was selling DVD-Rs onto which he used a Sharpie to write the name of a movie, such as A Bug’s Life, or Rocky, or any other number of movies. He had a sign advertising his prices. Five dollars for one movie, eight dollars for two, etc.
If you’re wondering why I was saddened at this sight, let me explain. The United States Pirate Party is against this blatant form of copyright infringement (and others as well). Am I the only one that reads the FBI warning that precedes every movie?
There was another thing that rather irked me. The stupidity of the shoppers. Were they really wanting A Bug’s Life so much that they’d spend $5 on a bootleg copy? Or, more likely, was it the “stick it to the man” attitude of buying an obviously bootleg DVD? I say stupidity because the first rule of flea markets is to buy it right when you find it if you can’t live without it as you can routinely find another copy of a book or film elsewhere in the flea market.
Oh, and that item I bought? It was a DVD. A legal, legit, albeit used, DVD. Cost? Only $2, disc doesn’t even have a scratch on it, even came with the original box and artwork. The shop I bought it from sells all of their used DVDs for $2, yes, even A Bug’s Life.
Sometimes sticking it to the man isn’t exactly cost effective… or legal.