Los Angeles is installing a network of surveillance cameras intended to catch street hawkers selling counterfeit goods, especially pirated copies of Hollywood movies on DVD.
The Motion Picture Association of America, which represents major movie studios in government matters, contributed $186,000 to help pay for the system, which was unveiled Tuesday by Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton.
Do they also have a time machine so they can go back and install these cameras in an era where they'll have a hint of relevance? Who buys bootleg DVDs in the street anymore? That is the least of the studios' troubles. If all they had to worry about were people paying cash for counterfeit copies, like they've been doing for years in small numbers with little effect, they would be sitting pretty. The problem, of course, is the people paying nothing and downloading movies for free, which surely happens in far greater numbers, in far more discreet (and discrete) locations than downtown street corners. Illegal downloading, of course, also poses more of a threat in terms of growth potential. Why install these cameras now? Street corner bootleggers are on their way out. They're bigger dinosaurs than the studios. Who needs a camcorder in a theater to make tinny, poorly framed copies when irresponsible studio insiders leak out a pristine digital cut? Who pays for such an inferior illegal product when a better one can be had for free? This is bizarre foolishness and a ridiculous waste of tax dollars and police resources, not to mention MPAA dollars.