31st October 2002

Piracy May Be Good…

posted in `Roids |


By Lloyd Kaufman and Jamie Greco

After having traveled to Russia to direct a music video, I had a Joycean Epiphany: Not only do I still believe 100% in what I have said in my previous Napster essays [2] , but I’ve also come to the conclusion that piracy may be a good thing. Piracy can help break the plutocratic web in which a small number of media conglomerates such as AOL Time Warner, News Corps, Sony, Viacom and Disney have ensnared the world of art. Piracy may help us, as consumers, to receive more, and arguably better, art. Unfortunately, the few black widow media corporations and their New York Times pimps that weave this wicked web have publicly brainwashed our leaders in Washington concerning the notion that piracy may posses even an iota of goodness. This is manifested in the unnecessary punishment, oftentimes severe, of innocent people who aren’t pillaging and raping, but merely downloading their favorite flicks and tunes off the Internet or buying a bootleg video.

In October 2002, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and several other bully entertainment groups sent letters to more than 2,000 colleges and universities advising them to “impose effective remedies against violators” of copyright law. The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis behaved as if these letters were from Sadaam Hussein threatening to gut from the nostrils any American who would dare to download an MP3. About 100 U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen had their computers seized by academy authorities who claimed the trainees had pirated music and movies on their hard drives. God forbid students training to die for their country should listen to some soothing jazz music or download a hot and heavy Shannon Tweed sex scene for masturbatorial purposes to momentarily get their minds off of an impending World War III. These trainees are brave enough to risk getting killed or turned into vegetable stir-fry in war’s wok. Pretty soon, they might lose their hearing thanks to a bomb or lose genital sensation thanks to a bullet in their groin. Then soothing jazz music and hot and heavy Shannon Tweed sex scenes would mean diddly squat. These midshipmen are not merely being scolded. They will most likely be taken to trial and could be expelled from Annapolis.

The major studios claim that they’re protecting the public by advocating such harsh measures. If that were really the case, why haven’t they written another letter to the U.S. Naval Academy to suggest that the midshipmen not be further distracted and persecuted and do what they volunteered to do – fight for their country?!

The answer is simple and sad – Most mainstream entertainment companies don’t give a shit about the people who are fighting to protect their ungrateful asses. Instead, they’re crossing their eight legs, hoping their threats will scare us little insects away from MP3.com and into Blockbuster (owned by Viacom). After all, more people renting and purchasing overpriced rubbish means more money. With more money, the members of the Media Cartel are rest assured knowing that they’ll have the means to pay for tonight’s hooker, tomorrow’s narcotics, this week’s yacht and next month’s Rolls Royce. After having directed a music video at a nightclub in Russia, I realized that most people who engage in acts of piracy are not twisted criminals who should walk the plank into shark infested waters [3] , but honest citizens who are determined to acquire art that they cannot receive any other way. Due to the Media Cartel, the only U.S. films available in Russia were those controlled by the giant studios like Disney, etc. sold at huge prices. Troma films were were never distributed in Russia.

In order to fill up the Moscow nightclub in which we were filming with free extras for the music video, the young producers from Bad Taste Records planned a “Troma Party.” They even plastered this poster around town with Toxie and Kabukiman to publicize the event. But what would Troma matter to people in a country where Troma movies weren’t distributed, I wondered. Was I surprised! Not only was the club packed, but there were many Troma fans asking to me sign Troma video cassette boxes with crappy black and white covers! They were bootlegs! Thanks to piracy, our movies were, in fact, being watched and more and more Russians have learned to love Troma movies. As a result, Carmen Films saw an opportunity to distribute Troma movies in Russia. Carmen Films understands that most Russian Troma fans that bask in bootleg entertainment will indeed spend their money on Troma films that have good masters, box art, etc. Now we have distribution in Russia! And distribution means money. And money means we come closer to making another damn movie! And that movie will go to bootleg. And that bootleg will hopefully pique the interest of another land with an evil cartel that doesn’t distribute Troma movies. Then that land will distribute Troma movies.

Don’t be fooled: The rich and greedy co(c)k(e)heads at Sony and their sinister sisters (AO-Hell Slime Warner, etc.) will claim that they are protecting the public by punishing bootleggers and those of us who use Napster and other free file-trading services such as Kazaa, Gnutella and Morpheus. [4] JLo tells us in her latest hit not to be fooled by the rocks that she’s got, because she’s still (she’s still) Jenny from the block. The truth is that major entertainment groups don’t want us to download an MP3 of a song or listen to public domain bootlegs because they’re protecting the rocks that they got. After all…They’re still (they’re still) the devil-worshiping international media conglomerates from the block. Neil Turkewitz, the Executive vice president international of the RIAA, dissents. “The public sees icons like Mickey Mouse and thinks that the companies must by now have made their money,” he claims. The Toxic Avenger doesn’t live nearly as glamorous and financially lucrative a life as Mickey (the devil’s spawn of Disney), but he doesn’t mind that people all over the world are seeing his movies for free. At Troma, a million fans means a lot more than a million bucks. As we will chant this week in Park City, Utah, at the TromaDance Film Festival (www.tromadance.com): “GIVE ART BACK TO THE PEOPLE!”

[1] …Because It Fights Ass Piracy by the Media Cartel!

[2] See how skunks like Metalica and Dr. Dre sue their fans because they believe that Napster and other MP3-swapping companies are deleterious to their sales in my Anti-Napser series. They don’t take into consideration that 60% (as per The Wall Street Journal) of the people who download their music for free end up buying more of the crap at full-price! Napster also benefits us consumers by affording a welcome variety of music other than the Backside Boys and N’Stink.

[3] The word “piracy” is a horrible image that the media cartel has created for propaganda purposes. It ignores the concept of fair usage established by our Founding Fathers in favor of branding bootleggers the sword-wielding, ship-burning One-Eyed-Willies of the world.

[4] The RIAA is now talking about putting up customs barriers to prevent music from the 1950s, no longer copyright protected in Europe, from entering the U.S. The claim that we are being protected by being denied the right to listen to 50s classics by Maria Callas and Ella Fitzgerald for free is more full of crap than a claim that JLo’s ass is as flat as an unstuffed crepe. So in Europe, you’ll get opera for $5.00/CD and in the U.S. $20-$30. Thanks to Bill Clinton and the 1998 copyright law!

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