I get really pissed off when I see DVD sets of the original trilogy being sold on eBay, usually for upwards of £20-£25. And the descriptions are usually misleading, often implying that the discs will be of retail DVD quality. How much does it cost for three DVD-Rs + cases + a bit of ink from your printer + postage? Certainly no more than £5.
These individuals are taking advantage of the demand for these movies in order to make themselves a quick profit, and eBay are doing sod all about it (just had a check; there’s 5 sets on ebay.co.uk at the moment).
In fact, eBay seems to be a haven for chavs selling pirate DVDs, it’s actually quite difficult to find DVDs on there that look to be original! But as long as eBay get their listing fees, they couldn’t care less.
What’s even more annoying is that the MPAA and their cronies have a history of harrassing any innocent fan site that dares to display even a JPG still from a movie, citing intellectual property and copyright infringment. Yet they do nothing about the rogue sellers on eBay.
What can be done?
Well, if any of you have ever heard of MAME, my rant may sound all too familiar. Basically MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, and it’s purpose is to document and preserve long-lost arcade games. The data from the ROM chips inside the machines is dumped to a binary file, and a driver is coded that emulates the original hardware of that machine.
Since the emulator also allows you to play these games, it became very popular, and guess what - CDs full of ROMs began to appear on eBay. Again, an example of a distasteful element of the community trying to make a quick profit from the work of others.
One individual on the newsgroup alt.games.mame was so pissed off with this that he set up a website - Tombstones - that offered to burn a full set of ROMs in exchange for some blank CD-Rs and a return-postage-paid envelope.
A noble idea, and a good way to cut the profits of the ebay scammers - auction bidders could be notified of the site, and it was satisfying to see a long list of cancelled bids!
So what happened to the Tombstones burning service? Answer: they were forced to close by the MPAA. Yes that’s right, the MPAA. Read about it here: Tombstones
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