One of the many issues our campaign faces is the issue of bootleg DVD’s and Blu-ray’s. As Disney Home Entertainment takes its time to release various unreleased titles, many fans growing frustrated with waiting, or possibly dealing with never owning their desired titles from the official studio source, may turn to bootleg versions. From e-Bay, to the more notorious iOffer to random web sites, there are a number of ways someone can pick up a bootleg copy of Song of the South or Pepper Ann. But is giving in to such despair really the best solution? And the bigger question, what about honesty? Taking a look at a few points here may change your mind about buying those bootleg unreleased Disney titles.
Specifically, the titles that we focus on at Open Vault Disney, are films and shows that for the most part are thought of as old or vintage, and generally are not thought of when the issue of film piracy comes up. Yet, a number of these titles still suffer the fate of a bootleg release, some more then others. For the more modern titles we focus on, money lost on them from bootlegs sold isn’t money that would have gone to some multi-millionaire movie star necessarily, so much as it is money that should be going to average working Joes, trying to put food on the table and who instead of taking a job as a teacher or police officer, ended up working as a writer for children’s television. For the older titles we campaign for, buying bootleg version for many of them means taking money away from the children of the creative talent that got the privilege of working on a low key Walt Disney production all those years ago.
Are these the only victims from buying bootleg? Definitely not. In fact the greatest victim of this scourge may actually be the media buying public. Bootleg copies of say DuckTales for example, are made by crafty people, looking to take advantage of their customers. They see an opportunity with many of these unreleased titles and take advantage of the situation. They copy or secure copies of various unreleased titles that have been taped off of the television (which if it ended there for their personal use, is not in fact illegal) and then sloppily burn it to a DVD-r and sell it for ridiculously high prices to an unsuspecting public. These bootlegs lack the same quality that an official release would have in both sound and picture, and many times, if they didn’t already not work when sold, stop working after a few views with no option of ever getting your money back. Truly, consumers who buy bootleg will get ripped off every time.
But possibly the biggest issue here is that of honesty. Some have questioned the growing trend from the various Hollywood studios in releasing vintage titles on DVD-on-Demand, which is really just a DVD-r with titles burnt on the disc after a customer orders it. ”How is this any different from what we get from a bootleg copy?” some may ask. In reality, it is very different. Besides the fact that an official studio release will always be ten times better then any bootleg copy in quality, the studio release also has the fact that it was made by the only authorized source to legally produce such content for the public in the first place, as well as the knowledge that you are buying from a reputable source. Long story short, buying an official studio release is the honest, and safe, thing to do.
Walt Disney himself made a point of adding very strong themes of honesty and integrity into many of the productions he oversaw. We here at Open Vault Disney have heard from some, that the reason they want certain unreleased Disney titles is so that they can then pass on these very themes found in the various unreleased titles to their children and grandchildren. But, if you were to buy such titles bootleg, would that not be sending mixed messages to those very young minds you are trying to form? We don’t need a Disney movie to help teach future generations about the importance of honesty when our day-to-day examples will speak volumes to such young minds.
So, with bootleg clearly not the honest, or safe, rout to go, and Disney not releasing all the currently unreleased titles we want as fast as we’d like, if at all, what is a Disney fan to do? The answer is simple: increase and continue with our campaigning efforts. Campaigning is the only honest course of action here outside of giving up, and who really wants to do that? Other themes Walt Disney would often put into many of his movies would be determination and good old fashioned hard work, and the rewards both can offer anyone willing to put out such efforts. Start sending Disney Home Entertainment a letter, or an e-mail, or sign one of our many petitions. Let other’s know of the work Open Vault Disney does and encourage them to join in. With hard work, determination, and integrity, we shall convince Disney Home Entertainment that not releasing these various titles for future generation to enjoy for years to come is a mistake, and one that needs to be corrected. By encouraging Disney to release more of their unreleased titles, we’ll help them fight film piracy and stay true to our fundamental integrity, and make “Uncle” Walt happy, all at the same time.