Monday, December 21, 2009

LA Times: 'Piracy is unacceptable,' except when one of our columnists contributes to it

"Moving against movie piracy," Editorial, December 19, 2009:
Let us be clear: Piracy is unacceptable.
"Landlords' pullback puts L.A. Toy District at risk," Michael Hiltzik, December 21, 2009:
From a sidewalk vendor I picked up an "unofficial" DVD copy, so to speak, of the movie "District 9," which isn't in retail release yet was perfectly playable on my home machine.
The necessity of buying an obviously pirated DVD and watching it at home, while reporting a column about the economics of a particular LA neighborhood, eludes me.


  1. Context, dude. He's talking about the loss in business to "low-end merchandise".

  2. @Anonymous: Nothing wrong with Hiltzik reporting the presence of pirated DVDs for sale. But why buy one?

  3. The guy who wrote the editorial wasn't the same guy who wrote the column. Mystery solved.

  4. @Anonymous 7:58:

    There was never any "mystery"; no one suggested they were written by the same person.

  5. Well, what are you saying then? The title of your post implies a problematic contradiction between the LA Times' editorial page and the article, but there isn't one. You contrasted them right there, in the post where we can all see it - that's one "mystery" (which also doesn't exist).

    You then said that the purchase of a pirated DVD from a street vendor in an article about local economics "eluded" you - another mystery which was already resolved by other commenters.

    If you aren't contrasting the IP stance in the editorial and the article; and you aren't "mystified" by the pirated DVD - purchase - which only is contradictory if the writer and the editorial are the same person - then what exactly was the point of the post?

  6. @Anonymous:

    Apparently it wasn't clear to you, so here is my point:

    The Times (appropriately, in my view) opined that "piracy is unacceptable," and yet one of its columnists, for no valid journalistic purpose, bought a pirated DVD. Yes, I believe that is a "problematic contradiction."

    Please read what I actually wrote. I never wrote that the "purchase" eluded me; I wrote that the "necessity" of the purchase eluded me. And I was indeed "contrasting the IP stance in the editorial and the article"; that was the point of my post.

  7. The editorialist wrote, "Piracy is unacceptable." Perhaps that was a wish. Maybe it was just an incorrect statement.

    The unfulfilled part of the editorialist's statement would be, "Unacceptable to whom?"

    To the journalist's employer? Well, did the newspaper fire him or otherwise discipline him?

    To his family? Will his wife divorce him from the shame?

    To his friends? Will he no longer be welcome at parties?

    In fact, there is an interesting question: How many people have been shunned by their family or friends for copyright infringing activities? Drug use, smoking, shoplifting, are all more likely to cause social rejection. Copyright infringement, in contrast, seems to fall somewhere between speeding 10 mph over the limit, and "Hey, could you make me a copy of that?"

    - wallow-T


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.