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Google or goggles?

by Timmy Treu

Well, this time we are not talking about Google, but goggles! Yes, when you will go to the movies in some areas in Germany, you may see people with goggles. Night vision goggles. And they will not be watching movies! But rather watching those who record illegally movies off the screens with camcorders.

How far have we come? How far will we go? And thinking that when I was younger, going to the movies was also a place in the dark where I would go with my girl, just to be in a dark place, where no one would see us “shmoosing”! And now a guy with night vision goggles is in the cinema and potentially watching us? Good Lord!

Maybe they should rather consider putting a “naked” X-ray scanner like the devices they are testing at Manchester airport, and check out the people before they enter the cinema on whether they hide camcorders under their jackets!

Whatever… going to the movies is not the same anymore.. or will definitely not be the same anymore! Where is the romance of movie-going? Is this a plot to keep people away from the cinema theater? The only good thing with night vision goggles is that they are green! Sounds ecological!

But let’s be serious. Piracy is definitely an issue, and a serious one, which I still think is difficult to combat unless society finds the right way to punish pirates. And by punishing I do not just mean some sort of “cease and desist letters”, or ridiculous fines, but rather REAL fines and/or even detention.

Let’s face it, piracy is theft on a very particular industry – it reduces that industry’s income. It’s different from material theft. Stolen goods can usually be replaced, thus still benefiting the manufacturer (and the insurance companies). There is no such thing as an insurance against piracy!

Unfortunately, piracy is an issue very badly handled by governments and rights holders/distributors alike, without going so far as to say there is potential complacency on both sides. The issue is that the latter have not been able to demonstrate the real financial/fiscal loss to governments. It is not just VAT and other direct taxes we are talking about. It is the totality of taxable company profits, the loss of the labor force and its spending (in a time of crisis – let’s not kill further jobs). Not punishing piracy in an aggressive manner means basically killing a whole industry, with all its ancillary activities, slowly but surely.

Let’s face it : goggles are not going to save the industry! At least Google has created profit generating free-conomics!

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