The Rambler :: blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I paid for this DVD, dammit 

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If you've bought or rented a Fox DVD recently, you'll know what I'm talking about: those wretched intros that preach (incorrectly) that theft is the same as infringing copyright. They annoy me more than almost anything - I dread the day they start putting similar voiceovers onto CDs. I've not verified this, but it's my guess that you only get them on genuine DVDs, not pirates, which makes them doubly annoying: my suspicion has long been that this sort of crap (which is getting deeper and deeper with every new DVD I watch) is aggressively targeted at the generally law-abiding citizens of the world. For starters, I can't imagine that there's a professional pirate in the world who hasn't actually realised the illegality of what he's doing, so this sort of stuff isn't aimed at them.

No, these pokes and prods are aimed at the rampantly criminal middle classes, graciously paying up to 20 pounds a throw to settle down to a film in the comfort of their (our) own homes. Those Fox ads are already causing quite a kerfuffle, but if you want to know what they're really about, use your ears.

The ads, as they appear on UK-bought DVDs at least, are soundtracked to a kind of nu-metal-by-committee wash. It's pretty unremarkable to these leathery ears, but if you were to put together the sort of music that was the aural equivalent of a hoodie to the good law-abiding citizens of middle England, it would sound rather like this. Fast, heavy drums, and sawmill guitars. (Somewhat blunted by the corporate horror of it all.) It's a crass cliché (and a misrepresentative one at that), but these are film lawyers, not minds attuned to the subtle pulse of contemporary culture. This is music designed to put the frighteners on our mothers, and it confirms the veracity of my instinctive reaction to these warnings: they are intended to threaten the small fry, the potential minor infringers who at worse will run off a copy for a friend. They are a calculated offence to everyone who legitimately buys or rents their DVDs.

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