The Curse of Anti-piracy Adverts

Whenever you buy a legitimate DVD, you're, er, subjected to warnings about not buying legitimate DVDs. Bring back Simon Bates...

Picture the scene. You’ve just come home from a tiring day at work. It’s been an irritating day and you feel ill at the prospect of having to go back in tomorrow. Your journey home was spent dodging traffic on the motorway and you had to listen to the radio as your MP3 player is out of batteries. You’re skint so you can’t afford to go out to the cinema and there’s nothing on TV. You’re beginning to feel a little annoyed.

To calm yourself down, you decide to put on a DVD from your extensive collection. As you insert said DVD into your player and lie back to settle in for the night, something appears on your TV screen that is so gut-bustlingly annoying, you wish you hadn’t bothered. Yup, I’m talking about those anti-piracy advertisements that are cropping up on more and more discs. You know the one I mean…

‘You wouldn’t steal a carYou wouldn’t steal a mobileYou wouldn’t steal an orange…’

Etc, etc.

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This advert has been hilariously parodied in The IT Crowd and rightly so. While it’s message is undeniably honourable, the advert itself is one of the most annoying of its ilk. It sounds like a Michael Bay trailer, all eighties rock guitars and thumping drums accompanying various cut scenes of nefarious activity, all shot with a dark hue. Its tone is so accusative it’s bordering on the offensive, like the assumption is that you download pirated movies all the time and that it’s a good job you were warned. It’s like being told by a security guard before you enter a shop, ‘You’d better not be thinking of stealing anything sonny, because I’ve got my eyes on you.’

The crime comparisons it draws against (car theft, mobile phone theft) are also slightly different to piracy as they harm another individual directly. At the end of the day, anti-piracy isn’t hurting any one specific person. Sure it’s harming the DVD industry and for that it deserves highlighting as a problem, but to compare it against car crime seems a little ill-judged.

How effective this advert is I don’t know. What I would say though is that it is slowly finding its way on to the majority of DVDs I buy nowadays and it’s really beginning to do my head in. Judging by a quick search on the web, I’m not the only one.

Anyway, I much preferred the classic ‘Don’t copy that floppy’ adverts anyway.

Editor’s note: it’s not like the old days – here’s our YouTube clip of the week, with the classic Simon Bates warning from the 1980s, just, er, cut down a bit… 


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