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‘Blame Canada’ approach a lame excuse

David Little during filming by a Candian PBS crew. - Meagan O
David Little during filming by a Candian PBS crew.
— image credit: Meagan O'Shea/Staff Photo

Where does the American movie industry get off trying to tell our country what to do?

Since when does a tertiary, entertainment industry have enough clout to threaten a sovereign government? We don’t take this kind of crap from foreign governments – we certainly shouldn’t have to take it from the industry responsible for letting Tom Green make “Freddy Got Fingered.”

I’m sure we’ve all heard by now the ridiculous claims the industry is making that Canada is a world leader when it comes to movie piracy. Around 50 per cent of illegal recording and copying is being done in Canada, they claim. Vancouver and Montreal have been named as major players in the nefarious pirated movie trade.

Where’s the proof? Take your word for it?

Pardon me while I laugh uproariously.

I guess the movie industry is too afraid to investigate the real problem – Chinese and Eastern European bootleg markets.

“Hey boddy! Meeshon Eemposseebull Thrrrreee! Unly five oooh-ess dollar.”

It’s actually more difficult to find a legit DVD than it is to find copies in some countries. But the movie industry doesn’t want to raise a stink because then where else would they be able to find factories capable of stamping out their DVDs for pennies apiece? They’d lose their 800 per cent profit margin if they couldn’t rely on sweatshop labour!

A friend came back from South Korea with a suitcase full of bootleg movies. He said it was tough to find legit copies, and the ones he did find were way overpriced. Pretty much nobody buys legit copies when one block over they can get five high-quality bootlegs for the price of one legit copy.

Piracy wins again.

But since it’s too tough to actually try and solve the real problem, what does the movie industry do?

Blame Canada.

Hey, you know that South Park movie? The “Blame Canada” thing was a joke. Satire. About how instead of actually looking at the real causes of a problem a scapegoat is always more convenient. Guess that point flew right over everybody’s heads.

What was once satire has now become a major strategy for the American movie industry. Blame Canada. Because pirates with video cameras in Montreal theatres are filming bilingual releases with camcorders and Canada is a jumping-off point for distributing those bilingual releases in Europe.

Seriously, that’s what they claim. But there’s a big problem with that theory. Europe is not bilingual. Europe is multi-lingual. Perhaps some movies are being distributed in France, but I seriously doubt it’s as bad as the movie industry claims. Where are the English-German releases coming from? The English-Finnish releases? Canada, I guess, because it’s bilingual.

That doesn’t even make sense.

I think it’s a load of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, a classic sales and marketing tactic. In this case, the movie industry needs an identifiable target to pick on because they have no real strategy, so they pick Canada because they hate our copyright laws (which allow you to download and make copies of music and movies you legitimately own.) That levy you pay on blank CDs? They want a cut of that, too. That levy is supposed to help Canadian artists – and the American culture giant hates it.

We could learn a lesson from France and Quebec, both of which are fiercely protective of their culture. As a result, France especially has a thriving entertainment industry, which is locally-grown, tells stories about local people and topics which are in many cases better than the crud churned out by Hollywood each year.

I know many people think Canadian content is boring. But it isn’t. We have a rich history and culture full of drama, adventure, sleaze and crime to rival anything that comes out of the U.S. Our current cultural landscape is fascinating and we only need to look at shows like “Da Vinci’s Inquest,” “Corner Gas” and “Trailer Park Boys” for proof that we can make our own entertainment, thank you very much.

Be proud to be Canadian – it’s not just about the beer you drink anymore. It’s about the entertainment you choose to watch. Instead of grabbing the latest big, dumb American-made car-chase flick at the video store look for something Canadian. Like “Good Cop, Bon Cop.” Sure, it’s dumb. But it’s Canadian, eh?

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