For what seems like the umpteenth time of reporting, the MPA is launching a new campaign, this time in the Asia-pacific region, about ‘piracy’ (or copyright infringement as it should properly be termed). This one features a new advert (ooh!) produced for the Asia pacific market (gosh!) and for the first time, produced by the MPA-Asia Pacific, rather than locally and ‘ad-hoc’ (wow!). It’s all a part of something called ‘Operation Tripod’
Needless to say, the press release for such things contains the usual junk, garbage statistics and figures made to sound more impressive. The MPA’s Operation Tripod press release (here) makes the claims of “During the past 12 months, 20 instances of camcording have been reported or forensically matched to cinemas in the Asia-Pacific region,” and, “Worldwide, camcorded copies comprise around 90 percent of early release pirate discs.” Great numbers, first for intimidation “we can identify you”, (although the real meaning of “we can occasionally identify the cinema, if its really unique or you leave the adverts in, although we have probably just had someone report seeing you do it” is not so intimidating) and the second, by Asia-Pacific regional director, Mike Ellis, possibly tries to convey the ‘massive scope’ of this problem.
Thing is though, the numbers don’t add up (like that's a surprise!). In the US alone, there were 603 films with a cinema release in 2006. Let’s make a low assumption of 200 that were shown in the AP region. Double it for local films not released to US cinemas, so 400 films. They average 2 camcorded copies released to the net, not counting copies made by scene groups internally, or which lost ‘the race’ and were never released. 800 camcorded copies; they identified 20. A 1 in 40 success rate, and that’s erring heavily towards the MPA – you’d have better luck on a roulette wheel.
As usual, they overlook the main problem – if people want to see a film, it will be watched. If people want to download it, they will. Spiderman 3 has had cam’s and TS’ out since opening weekend, and its still raking in massive amounts of money at the box-office, worldwide. As always, instead of targeting the ‘HOW’ and trying to threaten or intimidate people, they need to take a long hard look at the ‘WHY’ and address those problems.