Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jamaican film and the serious effects of piracy..........

I'm writing this article after noticing a recent increase in the sharing of commercial Reggae and Jamaican related films on the internet. Film piracy and bootlegging has been around for a long time and has a huge detrimental effect upon new films which are due for release.

I'm sure everyone knows someone who downloads films off the internet or has at least seen them on sale in the local market. Most of these films we see are Hollywood blockbusters as there is a huge demand for the latest cinema titles so the bootleggers tend to target the latest cinema releases.

The common attitude is that of "if i can get a copy for free then why pay for it?"
everyone likes to find a bargin or pick up something for free.

The big cinema releases usually make a big profit and account for losses due to piracy but the Jamaican film industry is still in it's infancy and it really needs all the help it can get. I'm specifically going to talk about films relating to Reggae as i've seen a large increase in the amount of online sharing of films and documentaries recently.

With the reggae film genre not being a huge business it's not hard to stop the offending websites. we're all used to seeing these dvds onsale in markets and by street vendors but the internet is a whole different ball game as the size of the damage caused by one dvd being shared can be enormous.

We'll never stop piracy but if we can just educate the people about the effects of it i hope that the supporters of reggae will think carefully next time they decide to share a film online.

To begin with films made about reggae are not usually made with profit in mind, they are usually made by reggae fans, people who have such a love for the genre and Jamaican culture that they want to share what they have found with others, but obviously they need to bring in some financial return to cover their costs, and most of them barely even do this.

With the 'reggae' film genre being such a small part of the film industry there aren't big profits to be made so the dvd release of a film/documentary is VERY important to the film maker. With most films about reggae not ever making it onto the tv screens or cinema screens then the dvd release is one of the ways they will recoup the production costs.

Reggae fans need to be supporting this industry not destroying it, reggae musicians have suffered enough through the decades from being ripped off through bootleggers, and the same seems to be happening before our very eyes, this time with the reggae film genre, yet people seem to be turning a blind eye to people illegally sharing the latest commercial reggae dvd releases.

Lets just put things into perspective from the film makers point of view, they make the film to support reggae and to give something to the fans so the least we can do is buy an official copy if we want to see that film. Some people may say "How will one dvd make any difference?"
One dvd can be the difference between the films success and failure, if just one dvd gets put up on the internet before the official release date of a film, within 24hrs that dvd will be all over the world and will quickly spread like wildfire, for each person who downloads that dvd they may pass the link on, they may burn and share copies, the local market traders and street sellers all over the world will start selling copies etc. etc. professional bootleggers may make up genuine looking copies and sell them as originals, within days we have a huge pyramid with the one dvd at the top, and this one dvd will likely go on to hundreds of thousands of people, most of which would have been potential customers, so it's a real serious thing for the film makers and that one person who shared it is causing serious damage. A film thats taken years to make, tens, even hundreds of thousands of pounds can be severely effected by just one person uploading a copy on the internet to be shared, imagine how you'd feel after years of hard work to see your baby being given away!

(Click Picture For High Quality PDF copy)

I hope that some of you reading this may now have a better understanding of why it's important not to share films online.

I'm talking about commercial dvd releases hear, films which you can buy officially online in stores etc., films which aren't available or unreleased may have a different argument but i'm trying to defend the Reggae film industry as a whole. If there is a new reggae or Jamaican film or album due out on dvd/cd please don't share it. Buy an official copy, support the genre and this will help the film makers and artists make more films, if they see no profit then it's very unlikely they will make more films and unlikely the industry will ever succeed without our help.

To those who will carry on sharing commercial dvd releases online, i don't condone it in any way but if your going to do it, at least stick a big watermark in the centre of the screen or stick a message across the screen with details of where to buy an official copy.

Jamaica is working so hard towards a successful film industry so that it can produce films about it's culture for the rest of the world to see, but when people are sharing the films it's stopping any potential success, please don't do it.

Because the industry is still small the distribution networks aren't as big as well established as the likes of Hollywood so you may only be able to buy the film from one supplier, if anyone gets stuck for an official copy of a film please email us and we will direct you to the right place.

I hope all the reggae fans will support Reggae and Jamaican culture and stop sharing commercial Jamaican films and music online. You can help by not turning a blind eye when you see the latest reggae/Jamaican commercial release being shared online, please post a link to this article.


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