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Bootlegging! Is it harmful?


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Maybe this is a little off topic but I think it's something that could be talked about in this forum. I know the topic concerned many here.


I've been noticing classic movies popping up on ebay that have been shown on TCM that have never been released, yet, many sellers are making a lot of money selling the classic movies on DVD and they make their own artwork. It's a lucrative buiness selling old, hard to find movies.

There are websites, there is a new one, offering "rare" classic movies that are high priced. What could be done? No one reports the classic movie sellers because they want the classic movies. I use seller loosely because most aren't really true sellers but know they can make money bootlegging. Do anyone ever get caught bootlegging old movies? Bootlegging of modern movies seem to be the only way to get caught. Not many pay attention to the old movie bootleggers. Once in a while ebay kicks them off of ebay but the very same so-called sellers just get a new name to sell.


Is there any harm selling old movies since most of the old movies can't be found anywhere? Are the classic movie sellers doing us old movie fans a favor? Many who sell say the movies are in public domain and they can sell, is that true or false ?I don't understand about rights and all that stuff I hope people here would explain it to me.

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  • 2 months later...

I guess this is a topic no one wants to delve into considering there's been no response in three months time. I applaud your bravery for posting it and broaching the subject.


It's curious and conflicting - the whole idea of bootlegging (anything). There'd be no bootlegging (of anything) if there weren't a measure of demand and other factors such as low supply and/or high cost. These days there doesn't seem to be much risk in bootlegging (anything) regardless of the fact that it is illegal. (And, it appears, the less threatening something is... such as selling copies of old movies that aren't necessarily seen as a the "hot item du jour" therefore seen as a real high dollar loss to someone somewhere... the less effort there will be to put a stop to such activity.)


Not far from me is a popular weekend flea market where 2-3 people regularly set up shop selling bootleg movies of all kinds - many having been recorded at a theater viewing so as to beat the companies dvd to the market. It's common knowledge these movies are there, $5 a pop, but no one shuts them down.. not even on a local level. I guess the tired old phrase "too costly and time consuming" would be employed as to why the law is not enforced. A sad statement at a local level, a shocking statement on a larger scale.


I'm not sure I fully understand "public domain" at times. Items truly in public domain have no protection in a sense - they belong to the public at large. In that sense, I personally think no one should profit ($) from them unless everyone profits from them... even if it's me! It seems to be a sticky wicket.


To give an answer to your question "Is it harmful?"... In the long run, yes, I think it is harmful in many ways on many levels.


I hope others will chime in with their thoughts.

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  • 1 year later...

If there is an official (i.e. legal) release of a film that I want to own, of course I will buy it over a bootleg, but if the rights owners do not see any value in an official release, what other choice do I have?

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  • 4 months later...

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