I’m going to start with the assumption that we’ve all seen those dramatic “You Wouldn’t Steal A Car” anti-piracy commercials at the start of DVDs, with the watery nu-metal riffs and a man committing brazen acts of theft: of a car, a purse, a television, a mobile phone – and then the attempt to link these crimes with that of piracy.
Often it is unskippable too, such is the urgency of this message, but it misses the mark entirely. Firstly, it is impossibly naff, despite the down with the kids riffage. Secondly, it suggests that car/phone/purse thieves don’t watch DVDs, which cannot be the case. And most importantly, these things are not the same. Comparing piracy with car theft only hammers home the slight nature of downloading a copy of Happy Gilmore.
Home Taping Is Killing Music appeared in 1981 due to the rise of cheap blank cassette tapes. Technology, cheapness, and ease won out over the scaremonging, and people continued to dub tapes. Guess what? The record industry survived, despite my taped copy of Black Sunday by Cypress Hill.
Don’t Copy That Floppy attempted the same messaging in 1992 for floppy disk video games/programs. Starring an unwittingly hilarious rapper named MC Double Def DP (DP stands for Disk Protector) he appears after hearing kids talk about copying a game and raps a ten-verse song about the perils of piracy.
And I quote (drop the beat):