Under the Radar

Hollywood Suggests War on Movie Pirates More Important Than War on Terror in Iraq

The pro-file-sharing, anti-copyright rabble rousers over at Torrentfreak have uncovered a Central Command document created after a Hollywood trade group complained that U.S. personnel were watching pirated DVDs in Iraq.

The MPAA has a difficult task trying to clamp down on high-speed Bittorrent file-sharing on the Internet and the pirate DVDs (many of questionable quality) for sale in street bazaars all over the world, but sometimes their zealous attempts to defend copyrights lose sight of the bigger picture.

Not only did the MPAA want assurances that pirate DVDs weren't for sale in Coalition stores (no problem), they also wanted CENTCOM to ban U.S. personnel from doing business with Iraqi merchants who might be selling contraband movies.

The brass said no way. "Movies give our troops a chance to escape temporarily from the rigors and dangers of the battlefield. This has been the case since World War II and it carries over into present-day conflicts," said Col. Gerald O'Hara, Multi-National Force - Iraq spokesman.

It's true that file sharing has decimated the music business and does damage to the movie and DVD industries, but the MPAA's decision to go after the men and women in uniform who are defending Hollywood's right to make movies seems pretty misguided.

In fact, maybe the movie business should offer all of our troops stationed overseas a free Netflix account to get them hooked on paying for movies, the way the tobacco companies created two generations of customers by handing out free cigarettes in both World Wars.

That would be a start.

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