Hollywood losses  AUG 04 2005

When estimating losses due to piracy in the media, movie studios are fond of using the full purchase price of the pirated DVD or movie ticket. So if I download a copy of Bewitched off of the internet, Sony (and associated companies, the theater, distributors, etc.) feels like they've lost $10.50[1], even if I had no plans to ever see the movie in the theatre.

So why is it when Sony defrauds their customers by fabricating movie reviews to promote the theatrical releases of some of their films, they're only refunding $5 of the total ticket price for those that actually saw those films? Why not the full price? Or better yet, how about a refund for transportation costs, the price of any concessions purchased, estimated loss of wages for time spent watching the film, and compensation for any emotional trauma suffered as a result of thinking the movie was going to be great when it in fact sucked? That sounds about fair.

[1] Well, $10.50 if you live in Manhattan. If you live in rural Wisconsin, you're only cheating Sony out of $8.00 or so. Well, until the movie comes out on pay-per-view and it costs $3.95. But then when the DVD comes out, Sony's loss will shoot back to $26.99. Twelve months after the DVD release, when Bewitched is available in a value two-pack with Anchorman, Sony will only be losing $6. Whew, must be hard to keep all those losses straight.

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