Wednesday, May 24, 2006
The program linked to above aired on local television last night. It dealt with film and music piracy in South Africa. So, ok, point made. Piracy takes money from the original owners of an artistic work. Thing is, the arguments given were so moralistic, it wasn't very convincing, and at no point was the question "why is this happening?" really asked. Quite frankly, the answer is that original CDs and DVDs are so expensive that the vast majority of South Africans can't afford them. I certainly can't afford to go to the cinema very often, when it costs over R30 a time, and it is a rare treat for me to splash out on a R120 CD. Especially when I don't know what to expect from it. I am very rarely willing to buy a whole album for a single track. And I am one of the lucky ones. I can afford to eat, I have a roof over my head, and all the amenities I need (plus a few extra). What about the vast majority of South Africans with none of that? Sure, it's tempting to buy a whole DVD for R30, if you can. It feels like better value for money than attending the cinema, and it is dramatically more affordable than purchasing the DVD at four times that price in an outlet. I guess the question is, if some people can produce pirated CDs and DVDs at such low prices, why can't the originators of these products. I get that it costs more than that to produce the films, etc. And people need to make the money, but what about reducing costs by avoiding big distributors, and letting advertising pay for the product. What about producing some low cost CDs and DVDs for the general market. You can still produce "premium" versions, with extra footage, glossy cover books, and photographs, but fill the gap in the market at present being filled by pirates with basic versions of the actual material. Put lots of advertising with it. I know that can be annoying, but if people want the advert free versions, they can pay more for them. Get your work out there, make it accessible to the people who want it, and stop complaining, why don't you!