EPIPHANY

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Ethics vs. Finances

With all the hype surrounding the online availability of Denzel’s movie American Gangster, I’m wondering why exactly people buy bootleg movies/music.  If you are a fan of a particular artist, wouldn’t you rather see him get a dollar for his craft, than reward Pookie with $5 for pretty much stealing?  I was in the beauty shop last week and the bootleg man came through with “clear” copies of American Gangster.  I’m guessing in the bootleg trade a “clear” copy is somewhat of a commodity.  It should also be mentioned that the normal bootleg man did not come through with the clear copies….this was a new jack bootlegger that was posted up at one of the stations with his lap top displaying the clarity of his merchandise.  Who knew bootleggery was so technologically advanced! 

I am not trying to knock anybody’s hustle, but how on earth has the bootleg industry sustained such success in what everyone is calling a recession?  Black people don’t contribute to their 401K, most of them don’t even know what a FSA is, but week after week they get their bootleg on.  Let’s be honest, how many of y’all are on a first name basis with Hustle man? Please tell me your entire CD collection does not consist of things you purchased in the Target parking lot. 

As you can probably tell, I do not buy bootleg ANYTHING.  Again, not trying to knock anyone’s hustle but the bootleg thing is just not for me.  Some might say going to the movies has become too expensive.  Some men complain that a movie date costs too much.  Ladies, if a man does not think you are worth twenty dollars, please dump him.  If he invites you over to his house to watch a bootleg copy of any movie, grab your pocketbook and go home.  (Cheap men are a nightmare that you need not subject yourself to.) 

The funniest part about the bootleggers is the fact that they are SERIOUS about their business.  They hit up everyone in the place when they come through.  It’s almost like watching somebody from the Barksdale Crew on The Wire: I got that new Souljah Boy….I got clear copies of that new Tyler Perry movie.  They go from station to station asking What you need, what you need?  I got everything over here, just check me out!  I always give a polite no thank-you and keep it moving.  Some bootleggers are over zealous and won’t take no for an answer.  They insist that I at least check out their merchandise, so I ask for something I know they don’t have: Do you have any Amy Winehouse  CD’s? I’ve been trying to find a Donna Summer greatest hits CD.  Normally they tell me they just sold the last one, or they will have it for me “next week”.  WHATEVER! 

Personally I think the fact that the bootleg industry specifically targets black music and black movies is a conspiracy anyway.  If the movie/music industry really wanted to crack down on piracy they could.  The only movies that ever get bootlegged are the movies that we want to see. You won’t see The Notebook on bootleg.  They didn’t bootleg Steel Magnolia’s and Fried Green Tomato’s. I have one word for that: C-O-N-SPIRACY!   

We don’t realize it, but by buying bootleg movies we undercut the actors, and make it harder for them to make salaries more in line with their white counterparts.  We wonder why our movies rarely top box office sales, but it’s because we are buying them in the beauty shop and outside of the soulfood restaurants.  In turn we give studio execs reason not to green light our projects, and reason not to pay black actors and actresses what they’re really worth.   

I understand that everyone needs to make a living, so I guess this is a catch 22.  You support black business in the hood or you support black business in Hollywood.  You support your favorite rapper/singer by legitimately purchasing his CD or you give your money to Hustle man. How does one make that choice?   Is it a financial decision or an ethical one?   I know some people say the actors and actresses are already rich, and they don’t need our $10, but how would you feel if someone started bootlegging your job?  

Having said all that, I guess I can climb off my soapbox, but can we please go back to my original question one last time because I really want to know!  Why on earth do people buy bootleg?  JerzeeChick

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October 31, 2007 - Posted by | Entertainment, Opinion, Society

17 Comments »

  1. […] team@polyvibeentertainmentgroup.com (P.E.G. Executive Team) wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWith all the hype surrounding the online availability of Denzel’s movie American Gangster, I’m wondering why exactly people buy bootleg movies/music. If you are a fan of a particular artist, wouldn’t you rather see him get a dollar for … […]

    Pingback by Music » Ethics vs. Finances | November 1, 2007

  2. Me and the bootleggers do not get along. I guess it goes back to the VHS bootleggers when the tapes were actually created from someone sitting in the movies. I used to hate hearing other people laugh at a joke that I did not think was funny. You would see people getting up to go to the bathroom or move their popcorn boxes. Therefore, I do not buy anything bootleg. I am one of the people who think that people should get their due. I believe that artists need to get paid for writing and singing songs, and acting in movies. Stupid people comment that the artists have money so they are not hurting them. What about Souljah Boy who just came out? I’m sorry but I did not think he was paid. Think TLC people. So, I am commenting to say that I am going to support Denzel’s Fine ASS and go see American Gangster for $9.50, oops sorry $8.50 I still use my student ID.

    Comment by Nichelle | November 1, 2007

  3. LMAO at “C-O-N-Spiracy”. I must admint I learned my lesson from bootleg CD’s because they don’t play in my car. And even though its wrong I will by the cartoon and kiddie movies from the bootleg man because I am not trying to waste the money to tkae my kids to see every cartoon that comes out. FOr me, finances trump ethics when it comes to being a single parent trying to keep her kid entertained!

    Comment by Tameka | November 1, 2007

  4. Is it ethically right for us to say this:
    “Black people don’t contribute to their 401K, most of them don’t even know what a FSA is, but week after week they get their bootleg on.

    Comment by Question | November 1, 2007

  5. It might be interesting to note that ours aren’t the only movies that are “bootlegged” on the regular. According to an article published by ebay.com, the top 5 bootleg DVDs most commonly sold on ebay are:
    1.Anna To The Infinite Power (1983) Dina Merrill
    2.Back Street (1961) Susan Hayward, John Gavin
    3.Blue Dahlia (1946) Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake
    4.Boys In The Band (1970) Kenneth Nelson, Peter White
    5.Cold Turkey (1971) Dick Van Dyke.
    For the complete list, go to http://reviews.ebay.com/BOOTLEG-DVDS-MOST-COMMONLY-SOLD-ON-EBAY_W0QQugidZ10000000001652718.
    Bootlegging may be a problem in our community, but let’s not get trapped into thinking that this is a “black thing.”

    I understand your points, but we have

    Comment by La Rubia | November 1, 2007

  6. It might be interesting to note that ours aren’t the only movies that are “bootlegged” on the regular. According to an article published by ebay.com, the top 5 bootleg DVDs most commonly sold on ebay are:

    1.Anna To The Infinite Power (1983) Dina Merrill
    2.Back Street (1961) Susan Hayward, John Gavin
    3.Blue Dahlia (1946) Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake
    4.Boys In The Band (1970) Kenneth Nelson, Peter White
    5.Cold Turkey (1971) Dick Van Dyke.

    For the complete list, go to http://reviews.ebay.com/BOOTLEG-DVDS-MOST-COMMONLY-SOLD-ON-EBAY_W0QQugidZ10000000001652718.

    Bootlegging may be a problem in our community, but let’s not get trapped into thinking that this is a “black thing.”

    Comment by La Rubia | November 1, 2007

  7. Hmmmmm… I really don’t know where to start. Ok, I’ll start here…Piracy is not a Black issue, it’s global. We are not the only ethnic group that downloads or bootlegs CDs and / or DVDs. To keep it 100, the percentages of Black people with computers in their homes is still rather small compared to the rest of the worlds population. So, Pookie hand-to-handing bootleg CDs/DVDs in your saloon while you were getting your tracks tightened up last weekend, doesn’t have anything on lil Sally in anywhere suburbia when it comes to the damage she does when she hits her PC and surfs the net at night.

    Yes I bootleg. To answer your question it’s primarily a money thing. When the prices of CDs continuously rise in the upwards of $20 and the quality music is not held up to any standard. I’m going to get it from Pookie. After listening to the one track I may have liked on the entire CD and not hearing another track that is remotely comparable, sometimes I feel like getting a refund from him. See I use the bootleg as a promotional copy (which the labels don’t give you anymore), if I think it’s hot then I may or may not buy the real deal. You can’t fake me out nowadays, that’s exactly what these labels are doing. You don’t even hear a second or third single from artist anymore, see they run Jedi mind tricks and brainwash you with playing the one song 100,000 times on the radio. But those O.B. One tricks don’t work on the KID, my money is to precious. Check the Billboard charts the artist that put out quality do there #’s. Music on a whole needs to step it’s game up. Then maybe I’ll catch a sale at Best Buy again. Until, it’s Pookie all day!

    DVDs on the other hand, I don’t feel any type of way about bootlegging or downloading them. It’s just a way of life now. The movie experience is just to expensive period. 2 tickets, medium popcorn, a coke / a blue slush(got to have a slush) and some gummy bears will run you $60. Are you kidding me!!! Real talk, that’s outrageous. To impact the 1st week box office of some I will support, Spike Lee or Tyler Perry presents I’m there. The rest can kick rocks. Tracey Edmon, girl you need to step your game up. I don’t even buy that mess from Pookie. We all should support GOOD QUALITY BLACK movies. But don’t try to Who’s My Caddy me and wonder why your getting bootlegged.

    Oh and Jerzee Chick you really need do your research before you spit out such broad statements about the ethics and finances of Black people(I think and hope your black). Because the hard working Black people I know contribute to there 401K and know that FSA stands for Financial Security Assurance(for the record). Don’t know how Pookie the bootlegger and my financial portfolio really connect, but like some say “Whateva!” I’m glad you did come off your soap box at the end, because it just sound a lil personal.

    So I say to you and Pookie the Bootlegger,”Is it clear?”

    Comment by The Lone Wolf | November 1, 2007

  8. I so appreciate all the feedback. It is amazing to me that the blog on the scientist that said African Americans were intellectually inferior only got 2 comments. The blog on HIV know your status only got 1 comment, but this post on the bootleg man has y’all fired up…I LOVE IT!!!!!! Just to clarify a few things to those that were wondering:
    1. Yes, I am black.
    2. FSA in my blog stood for Flexible Spending account.
    3. Regarding the 401K comment, there was a story about 3 weeks ago which stated that “There are clear differences between blacks and whites: How we think about money, where we save and invest our money, what we do with our money, and how we’re influenced as to what we do with our money,” The study also stated “blacks participate in retirement plans at far lower rates and are much less likely than whites to invest in the stock market.”
    4. Regarding the most bootlegged DVD’s according to E-Bay: “Most of these movies were released in VHS or Laser Disc only and some were never released at all.” Which means they are in damand on the bootleg because they exist nowhere else. In my blog I am talking about the Jill Scott’s, the Tyler Perry’s and the Jay-Z’s that you can go see at your local AMC, or you can pick up from DBS sounds on Riverdale Road.
    5. I agree that piracy is not a black issue, but don’t we realize that by buying bootleg movies and CD’s we directly affect the black artists out there trying to make a living.
    6. Ethics or Finance….which is more important??????

    Comment by epiphanyblog | November 1, 2007

  9. I agree we do undercut profit and justify it by saying “they are rich anyway.” I will say that I personally do not bootleg anything; i prefer to have a receipt. Its just the way I roll. I dont knock anyone who does; hell my brother bought an X-box at a barber shop. I wont even go into the price but it was a deal. Its hard to turn down when you find a deal but again i prefer a receipt and a warranty.

    Question for all you bootleg buyer: can you still buy a bootleg cd/movie on tomorrow during the “blackout” since they are not a legit business? Just asking…holla back

    Comment by tha wolfe | November 1, 2007

  10. Point taken; however, the article does point out the inaccuracy of the statement “the only movies that ever get bootlegged are the movies that we want to see.” We’ve got to stop getting hookwinked into thinking that we are the only group that engages in these! Also, I agree with the Lone Wolf – while black people may contribute to their 401ks/FSAs at a lower rate than whites, the statement “Black people don’t contribute to their 401K, most of them don’t even know what a FSA is,” is the same time of incorrect generalization we get pissed off at white people for making!

    Comment by La Rubia | November 2, 2007

  11. Hmmm…I went back and read the “scientist” and “know your status” blogs. Perhaps no one commented on them because they were factual and insightful without reinforcing negative stereotypes about african-americans.

    Comment by Question | November 2, 2007

  12. Just because someone has the techical savvy to create and host a blog, does not mean that they are an authority on anything. Nor does it guarantee that they have something insightful to say.

    Comment by Comment | November 5, 2007

  13. Bootleggery!!!

    LoL
    Thats my new Shit!!

    I beg to differ, I had an unauthorized release of The Notebook, months before it was shown in the U.S. and I didn’t pay for it. Most all movies and music I am able to obtain creatively before the public release date and I don’t pay for it. So I refuse to call my pre-release media bootlegs because I most all of the time have media before the bootleggers and I never pay. So I am struggling here, am I unethical because I am fly enough to acquire bodies of work before the general public and I don’t have to pay??? Where I’m from we call that hella SWAG. For the record, I never sell my sometimes unauthorized pre-release media. Don’t need any super hero’s all up in my spot trying to bust a non-existent bootleg operation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. If any of your aren’t afraid to admit that you love unauthorized pre-release media, then check me out because I see it all over the Net for FrEEEEE 99. And also, had I was bumpin Amy Winehouse Album while ya’ll was stuck on Lloyd and Lil Wayne!! Yes we had that tooo, and I really did just sell the last one!!!! Honest!!!! LoL!!! ROFLMAO!!!!!!!

    Comment by Mr French Connection | November 6, 2007

  14. P.S.S

    Miss me with that Christina Aguilera, I keep that Frank Lucas, and I mean that literally! As I scroll
    through these comments, I see at least one customers that stay in my trap for that Blue Magic! LoL!!!
    I aint calling no names!!! Yo, homie Saw IV over here when you need that. THE CLEAR COPY! LoL and I been meaning to email you this Jay-Z album for like the last 3 weeks but it’s just so wack but I’m on it today! THE CLEAR COPY! LMAO Also The Diary of a Tired Black Man, Mr. Untouchable, The Jay Z Roc Boys video, Lions for Lambs,P2 and BEE MOVIE!!! THE CLEAR COPIES!!! ROFLMAO!!!!
    Now Where Do You Think I Got The Name French Connection????
    Art always imitates Life!!!

    And Commentor 11 and 12 is gay because they were to Coward to offend people as themselves. Any person born to a body and can’t live as the person the were born to be is a homosexual. Not saying that their is anything wrong or right with being gay.

    Comment by Mr French Connection | November 6, 2007

  15. I think some of us need Adderall or Ritalin!

    Comment by Comment | November 6, 2007

  16. I prefer marijuana to man made synthetics. And Adderall was supposed to supress me not make me feel like I smoked an ounce of crack laced with LSD

    Hi my name J. Cartier and I smoke blunts.

    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Mr French Connection | November 6, 2007

  17. Say brah… “Is it clear?” That’s all I need to know. You can keep that Jigga CD, word on the street is that packages is a lil light. But if you got a clear of that “Lions For Lambs”… Meet me in back of the QT on Riverdale Rd. @ the regular time. You should just throw in that Hova CD for me this time and I’ll shop with you again next week. You know how we do? Don’t tell Pookie I shop wit you, you know how he get.

    Shhhhhhh… I think the Bootleg police are listening.

    Flush that son…Im out.

    Comment by The Lone Wolf | November 6, 2007


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