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I just want to watch a movie!

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Hollywood can really learn a lesson from Steve Jobs’ many innovations.

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steve_jobsWhenever I hear about the movie industry and copyright laws such as the DMCA, I really try hard to quash words like stupid, idiotic, morons and imbeciles out of my mind. After what I went through this weekend though I think I deserve to think them.

For my birthday the guys decided that we watch the Jobs movie because for some reason they think I am a geek and Steve Jobs to them is what a geek should look like. Their error is forgivable, they are accountants and they meant well. What was unforgivable was the fact that we spent an entire 3 hours trying to find a site that would legitimately allow us to download the movie so we could watch it. Apart from the illegal torrent and mini mkv downloads sites, there was nothing. The movie will be available on DVD and I can preorder it on Amazon but I will have to wait for the Gods of Hollywood to release it to me after everyone else has watched it. Why should I have to go to a cinema and buy stale popcorn (yes there is a story there) so I can watch the latest movies. This is the digital age for Godssake.

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It turns out it is actually easier to steal a movie than buy it. I had to check the calendar just to make sure that we were in the 21st century where broadband is everywhere and the world is a global village. We were tempted to go to Joina City and download it for free but wouldn’t that be just as criminal than a torrent or Jack Sparrow? After the harrowing three hours of Googling, Yahooing and Binging we decided to hit town and look for the movie there. Whenever we reached one of the street vendors and asked whether their copy of the movie were legal we were met with blank stares. “What kind of dumb question is that?,” their eyes seemed to say. It is just as hard to find a legal DVD on the streets of Harare as it is finding a legal download online especially if you are looking for a relatively new movie.

At least we did not waste the entire three hours as we learnt something. For those of you crazy enough and have sacks brimming with money there is a site that allows you (Zimbabweans) to hire movies called Vudu.com.  It will allow you to buy digital copies of most movies for the sweet price of $17.99 and a typical TV series season of a show like Dexter for the affordable price of $35.99. That is a full $10 more for TV shows compared to what Americans pay on Amazon’s Instant video service. I never understood why we have to pay more to access the same services – it is the same thing with Microsoft’s Office products here as well.

Why does the movie industry (Hollywood) insist on its convoluted system of making movie releases based on their archaic geographical based deals. The world is a global village and the internet is here to stay. I do not buy the FUD that they will lose sales either. Look at the gaming industry. Games like FIFA 14 are still making a killing even after availing downloads to the wide world. In fact I think they have benefited from these sales.

Well, long story short after trudging the streets and trawling the internet to no avail we decided to do a Look East and ended up watching a Kung Fu classic. We did not dare ask the guy who sold the movie to us whether it was a legal copy or not but since it was a five in one DVD and cost us about a dollar…


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16 thoughts on “I just want to watch a movie!

  1. trust me, they make more money thru the current system, than the one you are suggesting.

    for one, during the cinema only phase, its difficult (like you found out) to get a pirate the movie because the DVD is not yet released (so pirates cannot copy it). Well, you can get those low quality cinema ones 🙂

    they will evolve the system, when the time is right, but not yet.

  2. i do not know if there is anyone with hd quality JOBS, all the ones I have torrented are poor quality as the official dvd is not yet out here…For now Cinema system still works better

  3. Movies are released by country due to rights. if someone does not buy the rights, then you do not get a copy or it is not shown on release in that country. This applies to TV series as well. Hence the reason why ZTV shows 80’s series and movies is because they are now cheap to buy the rights compared to getting Dexter, Game of Thrones, Homeland, etc series. eTV or SABC are similar in what they show, ie old relics like Knight Rider, A-Team, Magnum which we watched when Dairibord had milkmen selling cheese and yogurts in those push carts. SK here does release movies on the same day as US and the the theaters are, well, presentable. Also, the TV networks like ABC/NBC/FOX pay large amounts to have these series done and broadcast them. Example, Game of Thrones Season 1 cost roughly $60 million to make. Soparanos license fee was almost $2 million per episode to broadcast in hey days. FTA stations like ZTV or eTV will sink on the first episode alone.

    Just to add also, if you look at the EPL scenario. Supersport had to pay almost R2 billion over a 5 year deal to broadcast EPL in Africa. Can anyone of the broadcasters pull out that amount of money for the rights?

    Piracy in Zim will be there and so is it here but depends if you want grainy, camcorder flicks then pay $1 for them off the street. HD/3D flicks you will have to patiently search or wait and get them from the right sources on the net.

  4. If there’s no licenced distributor in the country you’re not prejudicing anyone of revenue by bootlegging so you can hardly call it piracy. But if the film is officially licensed for broadcast or distribution in Zim then there’s a “problem”. (Just my street sense, you probably shouldn’t attempt this defence in court)

  5. Who cares about paying…I stick to my trusty piratebay.org I usually watch an episode the next after its broadcast

          1. Thats coz mpfana we yflix akazungaira. We wish for him to be something better. What he is doing is just the same as the vendors on the street corner. its not about the country of origin, Its piracy pure and simple. One of these days it could comeback to haunt him.
            i see he is tempted to become a piracy lord. but the bigger e you become the easier and more justified it is to catch you.

            Zvaanga angotanga wani negwara rakanaka.

  6. Btw, nice [tall] tale about going through all that effort in a single day to purchase this movie because you’re passionately anti-piracy. Now everybody play nice and pretend to believe it all! (…even though he then went on to pirate five action movies on a single disc for the killer price of just one dollar!)

      1. Ah yes, of course, forgive me. There I go jumping to conclusions without all the “facts” 😉

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