I’ve wanted to talk about internet piracy for a long time, because it’s a subject I’m passionate about. It’s also extremely hard writing about it without using the first person, but I wouldn’t want to do that, incriminate myself here, after all, the world is always jumping at the first chance of arresting those horrible pirates. You know who I’m talking about, those terrible people who are so cheap they wouldn’t buy their five year world candyfloss at the country fair if they begged with tears in their eyes, let alone pay for things like music, movies, tv shows and books. Yup, those treacherous creatures deserve life in the slammer.
Wait, don’t they? Because that’s what we’re hearing from all ends nowadays, especially from international sources, when you’re from Brazil. I guess when you’re born and raised here, you kind of know better. But you hear a helluva lot of ignorance from the mouths abroad. I guess I just wanted to lay some facts straight here, because I don’t think folks out there *know* this.
I’m not going to talk about music, because I don’t know. I don’t know why people pirate music in Brazil. I barely even listen to music, I don’t even like it very much, sometimes I even forget it’s a part of my life. I don’t have the arguments for it, I don’t understand that world. So, I’m going to divide this blog into three parts. Tv shows, a smaller add on for movies and then books.
The thing with the booming of people downloading tv shows illegally here in Brazil started a few years ago, in about 2009, if I’m not wrong. It was the FOX branch that started the trend, and, all of a sudden, all of their shows were aired DUBBED. Mind you, here FOX is a cable show, and we have to pay extra and expensively for it, and they stripped off one of the most important features of a tv show: the original sound. People were rightfully revolted, the amount of illegal downloads went through the roof. At about the same time, broadband internet became cheaper here, and more and more tv networks started dubbing their shows. And more people started boycotting these networks. It wasn’t just the sound, though. These networks took months to air the episodes here. On the internet, they could have them in less than a week. More and more people started devoting their time to make the Portuguese subtitles for free. Suddenly, you could virtually find any show online right after the original airing, but had to wait weeks, months for a crappy, dubbed version. People started to react. They stopped watching the shows and downloading them.
BUT, there’s a catch. Many of these people still wouldn’t drop their cable. Living in Brazil without cable tv is virtually impossible, even when they sell you damaged goods. And, they don’t measure each show’s audience, we’re all still paying for cable. So, while still boycotting individual networks, people were still paying for the (better) product they were getting for free. Still, most people won’t sit in front of the tv to wait for their favorite shows to start anymore. Because NO ONE is “selling” that to them. The networks have absolutely no respect to the consumer, because it would be SO EASY to just offer a subtitled option, to air it sooner. But they don’t. Props for HBO, which is the only channel my family and I watch. It airs exactly with the US, same time, subtitles, no commercials. If HBO does it, everyone could.
Now for the movies, the problem is remarkably similar. Apparently, it has something to do with the economical ascension of the lower class, and how they prefer to watch things DUBBED. I mean, that’s great, dude. I’m glad they’re part of the market now and have the economical power for it, but the problem is, it’s completely taken over. To find a subtitled session of a movie here has become almost impossible. If it’s not a very popular movie, it’s either one of the very late sessions (like 10:30pm) or there’s none. And, you know what? Many people will pirate movies over that. It’s not that they’re cheap or lazy or that they don’t want to buy the product, it’s that the product they want to buy, which is the most basic product: a movie with its original sound, is not being sold to them.
Many people still won’t pirate a movie then, wait until it gets to the movie store, right? Let’s rent it. Except that people won’t buy the rights for movies from years ago. We watched Män som hatar kvinnor, the Swedish version from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, after we rented it, and we were dying for the second and third movies. You think they had them? NO! You can infer the rest from there. Just let me tell you something. They still DO NOT have the third movie, now. And the movies are from 2009. Like I said, they want everyone to respect the industry, the stores, everything, so much, but they don’t respect the consumers.
Now, let’s talk about books. That gets me a little more fused up, because it’s more of a sensitive subject. I have author friends, and I know just how much work gets put into writing a book, I know about the tears, the sweat, I know the writing, rewriting, revisions, and everything. And, then, getting your book pirated. That blows big time. And, I know, a lot of book pirates are lazy, inconsiderate cheaps who don’t want to pay for a book. But hear me out on this. Since I got my Kindle, and thought, “Hey, now I’m buying all the books I want, helping the authors, no pirating.” I’ve stumbled upon two words, emphasis on stumble: geographical restriction.
Geographical restriction is exactly what it sounds like: they won’t sell you books if you don’t live in a certain region. Yes, I said SELL. What I feel like, personally, is that I’m not good enough to BUY their things because I’m not American, I’m not Caucasian, I’m not whatever-the-eff. As if my money was worth any less. Now, geographical restrictions on Amazon are usually easy to bypass (if you need help, message me in private!), but it doesn’t always work. But can it get ANY more ridiculous than this? Not selling DIGITAL BOOKS to a certain region just because?
I’ve done numerous researches why, and basically, what I found was that it’s because no publisher has bought those books’ rights for that region, and they don’t want to “give it away for free”, and, eventually compromise a deal that could come from people who would want to buy those rights. And, you know, that could almost make sense, for Europe and Australia, and I don’t know about Asia, but, obviously, the dipshit that thought of this has absolutely no knowledge of the social-economic-cultural situation of Latin America.
The target-audience who would buy a DIGITAL book in their original language, wouldn’t be the same to buy a translated copy as to eventually impede a further contract to exist. They are such distinct consumers. Or I’ll give you more, maybe, the person to buy the book in its English original would buy that translation to give the their mother (as I have before) who doesn’t read in English, may the book ever be bought to their country. But it’s not a case that so many people would buy the original that the publisher would feel that everyone who’d ever read that book has already bought it.
The thing is, in an emerging region, where many people don’t even have money to buy food, reading has never been a priority. Here in Brazil, we have a shameful 1.8 books per capita, I think. You can imagine learning a second language isn’t a luxury many people can afford. Learning it fluently enough to read full novels in it (that assuming you’re from the percentage of the population that likes reading), imagine how little the numbers would be. Geographical restrictions for Latin America makes absolutely NO SENSE.
Still, they don’t want my money. They don’t want to sell me the product I’m willing to buy. As the movie theaters don’t air their movies with their original sounds, and the tv networks won’t air their shows on a decent time frame and with the original sounds. The poor companies keep crying misery, when they’re not really helping their case. My heart bleeds for them.
Here I am, a willing consumer. I go to the movies when I can find a good time with the original sound. I rent a movie when I can find it at the store. I watch all the HBO shows on tv, because they air it with the utmost respect to their viewers. I buy every book I want whenever they’re available to me. But, then, many times, I’m there, money in hand, willing, WANTING to buy something, and they don’t want to sell it to me (it’s so frustrating most of times!). What I am supposed to do?