Monday, January 10, 2005

Misleading Piracy Trailers Okayed

The Dutch Advertising Code Foundation, a self-regulatory body for the advertising branch, has decided that the movie industry may say in trailers that the exchange of movies is illegal. The Foundation received a complaint about a trailer from [Dutch only], which compares the (illegal) exchange of movies on the internet to stealing a car, a purse and a television. The argument has been made over and over again that the theft of tangible goods is not to be equated with the taking of intangible (intellectual property) goods. Or, for that matter, that (illegal) downloads and lost revenue don't add up. (In which case the content industry would have been dead and buried for a long time.) Of course these arguments do not fit in the anti-piracy propaganda machine.

Anyway, the complaint was about something more subtle: the trailer was said to suggest that downloading is illegal. The message that the exchange of illegal movies is stealing and prohibited is too general and does not make clear what's legal (downloading) and what's not (uploading), according to the complaint. The Foundation dismissed the complaint because "The message does not suggest that the downloading for personal use is illegal". This is conclusion is more than a little strange. The trailer, which is on practically every sold DVD now, very clearly shows a person downloading several times, to end with that person canceling the download, displaying in red: DOWNLOAD CANCELLED. The banner of the trailer on the actually has the word download in its loop. By the way, this site equals the MPAA in its rhetoric with news article extracts that link piracy to terrorism and more fun.

Suggestion is an integral part of advertisement, but this looks misleading on first sight. Not that the general public seems to know, or cares, for that matter. And maybe a lobbying group like should neither, but the Dutch Advertisement Foundation at least should be keeping up its objective appearance.
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Thru webwereld (Dutch only)


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