Unauthorized Releases & Bootlegs

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Michael Kerpan
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#226 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:31 pm

forweg wrote:
If they are that much cheaper (and are not used copies), they are almost surely pirateware.
How can one tell the difference when the supposed piratewear has every indication of being legitimate? I thought pirated copies came on bare discs or DVD-Rs (or at the least, have altered artwork)?

I'm totally ignorant in this field, so I'd honestly appreciate an explanation. The price differential is admittedly suspicious, but I don't find it damning by itself.
Well, it is easy enough to copy box art (and even DVD labeling), etc. The fact that this came in a plain box with accompanying artwork is a tip off. A possibly bigger tip off -- do these have Chinese subtitles?

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#227 Post by forweg » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:08 pm

Yep, the Chinese subtitles are there. So we've established that I'm a pirate-aiding buffoon, then. Wonderful. Carry on.

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#228 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:21 pm

forweg wrote:Yep, the Chinese subtitles are there. So we've established that I'm a pirate-aiding buffoon, then. Wonderful. Carry on.
I've gotten burned -- and didn't even pay an especially cheap price for the privilege.

I tend to stick with legit places like YesAsia and Buyoyo (and Amazon Japan and CD Japan) these days -- unless something totally unfindable otherwise is involved.

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#229 Post by Faux Hulot » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:18 pm

aox wrote:...does anyone know where I can find a torrent of the 5 1/2 hour Apocalypse Now rough cut? I don't want to pay $40 for a VHS of C- quality.
Can't help you with a torrent, but FYI the cut is actually 4:50 and was sourced from a vintage Zoetrope VHS tape of the workprint, so don't expect miracles even when you do locate a copy.

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#230 Post by JacquesQ » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:28 am

forweg wrote:Yep, the Chinese subtitles are there. So we've established that I'm a pirate-aiding buffoon, then. Wonderful. Carry on.
But do we have to suppose that all DVDs published in China or with Chinese subtitles are bootlegs? Isn't there one single Chinese publisher selling legitimate DVDs in China, that one could then also find on sale to Western customers by Chinese e-merchants?

I know nothing about that particular title, but let's say Studio X (in the West) sells the publishing rights for China to Y Corporation; the difference in income being what it is, one may well suppose that Y Corporation will sell the DVDs in continental China for far less than Western prices (let us not forget that the actual cost of physically making a DVD is around 10 cents, so there is still room for profit by selling for less than our usual $20) ; and may we not further suppose that some clever Chinese internauts get hold of a bunch of DVDs at internal Chinese price (say $5?) and sell them with a profit at $10? Something like when I used to buy books or records in the GDR at 1/4 the price they used to cost in West Germany, which was all perfectlyl legal?

Though it is obvious that many Chinese copies are bootlegs, it does not prove tha they all are. Admittedly making a line of conduct for oneself based on that is a difficult task, other than "I will not buy one Chinese DVD because so many are bootlegs" or "from now on I will buy all my DVDs in China because they are so mich cheaper". But wouldn't it for instance be feasible to obtain catalogues of "legal" Chinese publishers and see what's in them and at what cost? Or to ask a couple of major Western distributors who they sell their rights to for China, and where one may enquire about it (though they will certainly be reluctant, knowing that it would definitely allow anyone to buy DVDs "made in China" at 1/4 the price and with a clear conscience)?

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#231 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:47 am

JacquesQ wrote:But do we have to suppose that all DVDs published in China or with Chinese subtitles are bootlegs? Isn't there one single Chinese publisher selling legitimate DVDs in China, that one could then also find on sale to Western customers by Chinese e-merchants?
If a DVD simply comes with (more or less) the original Japanese (or American or European) packaging material, but has Chinese subtitles, then one knows it is almost surely a pirated copy. Of course there are legitimate Chinese releases, but they will have Chinese packaging (of course, in itself, this is no proof that a release is authorized).

The one safe bet for buying legitimate releases is dealing with a reputable retailer who handles only legitimate merchandise. If an online seller is offering something much cheaper than YesAsia or Buyoyo, one can be pretty sure you are dealing with pirateware.

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#232 Post by starmanof51 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:03 pm

JacquesQ wrote:making a line of conduct for oneself based on that is a difficult task, other than "I will not buy one Chinese DVD because so many are bootlegs"
I go with that one.

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#233 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:49 pm

JacquesQ wrote:While it is normal that inheritors should benefit of a dead director's (writer's, whatever) success, the present limit of (in France) 70 years for books and no limit whatsoever for films (whose rights are indefinitely retained by distributors) seems a bit overstretched. If your father was Jean Renoir or John Ford (just at random, I don't know of anything special about those two!) and 30 years after he's dead you still rely on what he did to make a living, I'm not sure you actually deserve it.
What you're overlooking is that money that goes to, for example, John Ford's inheritors/estate isn't just so they can all roll around in custom Ferrari's. It's also to help pay for the upkeep of the estate's archives, research materials etc that cinephiles/scholars regularly access or use for research purposes. For titles that have legitimate releases, pirating merely makes it harder for the upkeep, storage and proper care for the very films/materials you may be a fan of.

As for the case of titles that are unavailable for whatever reason (from uncaring licensors to bitchy widows) yeah, go ahead and bootleg. I have no problem there. But pirating copies of titles that have legitimate releases (particularly classic or foreign films) just makes studios less likely to invest their money in restoring them.

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#234 Post by fiddlesticks » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:51 pm

starmanof51 wrote:
JacquesQ wrote:making a line of conduct for oneself based on that is a difficult task, other than "I will not buy one Chinese DVD because so many are bootlegs"
I go with that one.
You might miss out on some good Chinese cinema following that rule. I have a few Chinese DVDs (Jia's Still Life as a good example) that are unavailable elsewhere, or at least were at the time. Michael Kerpan's reputable-dealers rule should keep you on the straight and narrow. I tend to use YesAsia and HKFlix, myself, and haven't had any concerns.

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#235 Post by Felix » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:20 pm

forweg wrote:How can one tell the difference when the supposed piratewear has every indication of being legitimate? I thought pirated copies came on bare discs or DVD-Rs (or at the least, have altered artwork)?

I'm totally ignorant in this field, so I'd honestly appreciate an explanation. The price differential is admittedly suspicious, but I don't find it damning by itself.
You can usually get an idea after the fact because while the cover may be photocopied, the disc itself will usually look like it is a boot, for example, using a standard pic from the film, and none of the usual small print on it. wrt the covers, sometimes legitimate releases look little better than the photocopies used on boots.

There is an e-tailer mentioned quite a lot here who specialises in Japanese films and in that case if he offers the item with box then it is usually a DVD copy, though it may be out of print, and when it comes without a cover it is usually taken from an old VHS or TV broadcast. In my view the former is not ethical; the latter is. (Ironically, the same e-tailer sold me volumes 2 and 3 of the Human Condition and both were perfect while the legit volume 1 I got while it was still available was plagued by the disc sticking; sometimes legit companies do not help themselves.)

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#236 Post by starmanof51 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:04 pm

fiddlesticks wrote:
starmanof51 wrote:
JacquesQ wrote:making a line of conduct for oneself based on that is a difficult task, other than "I will not buy one Chinese DVD because so many are bootlegs"
I go with that one.
You might miss out on some good Chinese cinema following that rule.
Yeah, but I can live with that.

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#237 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:17 pm

starmanof51 wrote:
fiddlesticks wrote:You might miss out on some good Chinese cinema following that rule.
Yeah, but I can live with that.
You obviously have little or no interest in Chinese cinema -- as what is released in the US is a trifling fraction of what is released (fully legitmately) in Asia.

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#238 Post by forweg » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:06 pm

You can usually get an idea after the fact because while the cover may be photocopied, the disc itself will usually look like it is a boot, for example, using a standard pic from the film, and none of the usual small print on it. wrt the covers, sometimes legitimate releases look little better than the photocopies used on boots.
The ones I got actually do have even the small print on them, and I highly doubt the fold-out sleeve that came with The Face of Jizo (made of what feels like quality material, not just flimsy paper) is photocopied. Again, I didn't know bootlegs/pirates even could look and feel this legitimate.

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#239 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:52 pm

forweg wrote:The ones I got actually do have even the small print on them, and I highly doubt the fold-out sleeve that came with The Face of Jizo (made of what feels like quality material, not just flimsy paper) is photocopied. Again, I didn't know bootlegs/pirates even could look and feel this legitimate.
The bootlegs sold in Boston's Chinatown can have very elaborate professional quality packaging. I don't buy them -- as one never can tell just how good or bad the DVD itself will turn out to be.

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#240 Post by starmanof51 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:52 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:You obviously have little or no interest in Chinese cinema.
Speaking broadly, that's correct - I avoid Chinese DVD product to avoid bootlegs of cinema I'm actually interested in. I find my interest in Chinese cinema is currently more than met by that which is available in R1 - I can't sufficiently get to those as it is, let alone need to seek out more. For the rest (euro-centric, I suppose), I'd rather steer clear of what seems a ridiculously boot-heavy system. As indicated, I'm quite prepared to live with what I might be missing out on, I've already got a Kevyip pile and "need to see" list that probably outstrips my ability to ever actually see in my lifetime. And I suppose I'm sensitive to rationalizations of buying product that is almost certainly booted due to a "well, but just possibly its legit, so why not buy anything" attitude (which is obviously not at all yours, Michael, but is present in the thread).

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#241 Post by fred » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:48 pm

fiddlesticks wrote:Michael Kerpan's reputable-dealers rule should keep you on the straight and narrow. I tend to use YesAsia and HKFlix, myself, and haven't had any concerns.
Much of what HKFlix sells is legit, but they are in fact a notorious purveyor of bootlegs. Everything they sell from PanMedia/Red Sun is a bootleg.

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#242 Post by fiddlesticks » Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:04 pm

fred wrote:
fiddlesticks wrote:Michael Kerpan's reputable-dealers rule should keep you on the straight and narrow. I tend to use YesAsia and HKFlix, myself, and haven't had any concerns.
Much of what HKFlix sells is legit, but they are in fact a notorious purveyor of bootlegs. Everything they sell from PanMedia/Red Sun is a bootleg.
I wasn't aware of that; fortunately I haven't any titles from those distributors. Thanks for the tip. Probably 95% of my Asian trade is through YesAsia, and if they have bootlegs on their site, I'm pretty sure I haven't bought any. I did buy a number of suspected bootlegs from a now-defunct Korean site several years ago, when I was still young and naïve (well, naïve, anyway), but I've slowly been replacing them with legitimate versions.

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#243 Post by PillowRock » Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:53 pm

I've only ever bought one thing that I had any reason to suspect was a bootleg. That was the pink covered version of Chimes at Midnight from one of the Amazon Marketplace e-tailers.

That was just a matter of despairing that there would ever be an "authorized" version. :evil:

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#244 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:58 pm

I've never seen any pirated material on Yesasia or Buyoyo. I have seen a few iffy items on DVDfromKorea -- but these were more likely due to differences in copyright laws rather than piracy. (The latter sometimes has very low-cost legit DVDs, close-outs and the like -- not available from other sources).

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#245 Post by poohbear » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:42 am

To cloud this issue even more, what do you think of the fan subs being posted at Asian DVD Club? This week someone posted a DVD of Naruse's Hideko The Bus Conductress. They recorded it off of Nihon Eiga Senmon and added English subtitles. This movie hasn't even been released on DVD in Japan. Fans subs of Naruse's Lightning and some Hibari movies also got posted this week at Asian DVD Club. You and I know these movies will never be released by legitimate distributors in the west. Should i go through life without seeing these movies or go ahead and download them knowing it will be the only way to see them subtitled?

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#246 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:51 am

As long as you promise to buy legitimate releases as soon as they come out, you have my approval. ;~}

Actually, there is an unsubbed Japanese DVD release of Lightning. If you bought this, then one could (perhaps legitimately) argue that the subbed download is just an aid to using the item you previously purchased. (I have the Japanese release -- but not any subbed version myself).

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#247 Post by sidehacker » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:21 pm

You can always download the subtitles separately and then manually add them to your legitimately purchased edition. In the case of Hideko the Bus Counductress, there is (unfortunately) no other alternative.

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#248 Post by fiddlesticks » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:24 pm

sidehacker wrote:You can always download the subtitles separately and then manually add them to your legitimately purchased edition. In the case of Hideko the Bus Counductress, there is (unfortunately) no other alternative.
You say that like it's no big deal, but I wouldn't even begin to know how to do something like that. Without wanting to derail this thread with a lengthy how-to, may I just ask how complicated it would be to do this? I'd love to have Hideko the Bus Conductress, but unless the entire screenplay consists of "good morning" and "thank you", I'd be lost without English subs.

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#249 Post by sidehacker » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:30 pm

Usually with custom subs, the maker provides a .srt file so that those who have already downloaded or own the disc can just patch it on. I'm personally not exactly sure how to do this but you could open the disc in VLC as though it were an .avi file, and then load the external subs.

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#250 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:39 pm

Actually -- the only decent looking version of Hideko the Bus Conductress was taped off Japanese TV. There is no commercial release yet -- and I fear there may never be one (Toho hasn't hinted at any further DVD releases -- and shochiku doesn't seem inclined to release any of the silents of DVD). So, if you want to see Hideko, you will have to settle for a non-commercial version of some sort (so might as well go with subbed -- if you can find one).

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