Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bottom line: MPAA concerned about Iraq soldiers' piracy

While certainly the MPAA and RIAA have a right to be concerned about piracy, do they really need to extend their concern overseas, and check in on the pirating habits of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq? After all, those soldiers are not just risking their lives, they're not exactly getting paid all that well for it either.

TorrentFreak notes that a declassified document reveals that the MPAA asked what the military was doing to prevent its soldiers from piracy in Iraq, whether in terms of buying pirates movies from their local Iraqi street vendor or using BitTorrent. The fact that because of their locations they can't access legal streaming services such as Netflix or buy from, say, BestBuy, doesn't really mean much, it appears.

Free Shipping at DermStoreOn the other hand, it appears the military was pretty good as covering its soldiers' backs. While noting sales of pirated DVDs on bases is strictly taboo, in response to a question about banning troops from buying from local vendors, CENTCOM's talking points said: “... banning our troops from visiting these shops would have the unwelcome secondary effect of harming Iraqi entrepreneurs selling legitimate goods,” They added that they make sure that any such pirated DVDs are given up when the soldiers return to the states, and that packages sent back to the U.S. are checked to ensure pirated material is not shipped.

In terms of reducing piracy, CENTCOM's talking points said, “U.S. forces have had a long-standing, positive relationship with the entertainment industry. Working to continue this relationship, including the provision of popular entertainment like first-run movies, concerts and other events will help to curtail the demand for pirated media." Aha, in other words: help us out; it's dangerous out here.

Naturally, it's far more important to worry about piracy and the bottom line than unexploded IEDs, right MPAA?

(Interestingly, this year's Oscar winner for Best Film, The Hurt Locker, centers around a U.S. soldier’s attempt to save a young Iraqi boy. He befriended the boy while haggling over the price of pirated DVDs.)

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