24 January 2007

Piracy: It's Those Flappy-Headed Canucks!!!...again...

So listen up fellow Canadians and put down those camcorders: Bush somehow didn’t get around to the subject during last night’s address, but the (alleged) increase in contraband videos currently plaguing the U.S. is all our fault, according to the other president, one Bruce Snyder (nope, I haven’t heard of him either, but he’s apparently the prez of U.S. distribution for 20th Century Fox).

Yeah, I know, first the presence of terrorist cells in the U.S., then the blackout of 2003, and now this.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Snyder recommends delaying the Canadian release dates of Fox’s future releases if this nonsense doesn’t stop soon. But first, he’ll move to withhold films from theatres that are known to be the popular haunts of “camcorder-happy individuals”. The obvious question here is: if he can pinpoint the theatre from which the bootleg tape originated (does every congealed nacho puddle make a unique sound?), why not just send up the National Guard to bust the mini-DV nogoodnick? Oh right, they’re all in Iraq…

(Question number 2 is: just who’s clamoring for a bootleg of the studio’s yuletide bomb, “Deck The Halls”?)

So of course, the Canadian Motion Picture Distribution Association has responded in the expected spineless fashion, issuing a press release promising it will push the Canadian government to pass stronger copyright-protection laws. That’s because Snyder further blames our twisty, nefarious Canadian legal system—which, like most democracies, ain’t what it’s all cracked up to be on a good day—which fails to label camcorder possession in cinemas as a criminal offense. Seems the U.S. has already passed a law making it illegal to carry a camcorder into a movie theatre.

Wait--they can do that?

If it’s that easy, why not some legislation to guarantee me--a loyal, longtime, and increasingly frustrated patron of first-run theatres--an enjoyable viewing experience? How about slapping on the cuffs for cell phones, incessant talking, and annoying seat kicking first? I see about 70-80 films a year in theatres, and I’ve never witnessed anything remotely resembling piracy in progress, but I’ve constantly pleaded with theatre staff to hush up unruly and disruptive patrons and no one ever does a damned thing.

Considering Fox’s upcoming 2007 theatrical releases include something called “Firehouse Dog” and an “Alvin And The Chipmunks” feature, the delayed release threat doesn’t seem much of a deterrent. And easily-entertained Canucks who can’t stand the wait can always buy their bootleg DVDs from Malaysia like everyone else.