You have to feel sorry for the 21-year-old Aussie who was arrested this weekend for bootlegging The Simpsons Movie using his mobile phone, before uploading it to the internet. He probably just wanted to see if the mobile manufacturers’ promises of ‘DVD-quality video recording’ were true.
Anyway, before the long arm of the law turned up at his house with a warrant, over 110,000 people downloaded his version of the film from various P2P networks. And without ignoring the seductive notion of having the latest blockbuster stored on your PC or iPod, I can’t help wondering what those 110,000 people were playing at.
Forget those grandiose claims of DVD-quality mobile camcorder quality. To squeeze a whole movie onto your memory card, you’re not going to be shooting in your phone’s highest resolution. We’re talking grainy jerk-o-vision here. Shot by someone having to hide their phone every time an usher strolls past. While the person next to them munches popcorn loudly.
Even the thrill of being a reprehensible pirate wouldn’t be enough to make me bother to download that.
Surely the whole point of digital piracy is that, well, being digital means people are sharing copies of content that’s as good as the original? If people were uploading proper DVD-rips of The Simpsons Movie to file-sharing networks, I can understand why the studio behind it would be getting their knickers in a twist, but a rubbishy mobile-shot version?
Listen people, if you have standards when it comes to offline piracy – for example not buying from that guy who sells hooky DVDs in the pub because the last one he sold you was shot from behind a tall person – you should apply them online too.
Stuart Dredge is editor-in-chief of Tech Digest. He wants to see The Simpsons Movie on a big screen, not a two-inch screen.