Promote rental of films and games to kill piracy
I REFER to the letter, “Citizens without conscience”, (The Star, May 4), in which Steve Oh highlighted many sad instances of exploitative Malaysians.
While I agree with him fully on the illegality of these acts, I refuse to subscribe to his thinking that the way to solve these problems is for the public to learn and exercise self-discipline.
It is idealism like this, bereft of any real pragmatism, that is sending our nation, and the world, in circles.
Do not cloud our eyes with naive thinking on the topic of pirated goods. One can hardly blame Malaysians for turning to pirated goods in the current economic situation.
Ask yourself, does all this moralising matter to the average Malaysian who has to choose between spending nearly RM30 for an original movie or a mere RM10 for a pirated movie?
Does it matter to the children who have to choose between buying original computer games costing at least RM100 each or pirated copies for at least a tenth of the price?
Those who buy the illegal tapes will not realise, and frankly care not, that they are abetting the stealing of intellectual property because they are real people in a real world, not the angelic actors in a man’s idealistic fantasies.
You can argue all you like, but it ultimately boils down to the fact that real people have real expenditures, and if they can find some cheap entertainment, even if it is completely sub par from the original and completely immoral, they will take it.
Not once does a thought of the creators of the art and material they are essentially stealing cross their minds and probably never will.
Extolling the virtues of self-discipline is simply folly and a waste of time. Like terrorism, a real solution is always found at the root of the problem, and the real solution to the piracy problem is for the original products to compete with the much lower prices of their pirated siblings.
I am not saying producers and publishers should commit suicide by selling their products at pirated prices and taking zero profit.
I am saying that it is time we start the industry and culture of movie and game rentals that has so far rendered piracy powerless in the United States.
For prices only slightly more than those of pirated versions, consumers can rent these products over the weekend to watch or play.
It will work. The rentals will be competitive with pirated prices, so they will not be beyond the range of average Malaysians.
The quality is a whole lot better than pirated products and in the case of games, there will be no nasty surprises waiting to pop up upon installation of the software.
Factor in the fact that many movies end up on the shelf anyway after one or two rounds and rentals become a very attractive option.
The consumer loses nothing by siding with the original in this case. The publisher loses nothing because they still profit from sales to these rental stores.
The nation loses nothing because piracy will die out on its own when people turn to rentals for entertainment.
Remember: Real pragmatic action solves problems.