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Who prosecutes the bootleggers?

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Jelly Bean
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Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#0
Posted: 11/8/03 at 6:50pm
Anyone heard of anyone being prosecuted for bootlegging a performance? If so, who presses charges? The producer, the writer, the actor, the union? Who?
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re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#1
Posted: 11/8/03 at 6:51pm
I believe it's AEA who takes action. Don't quote me on that.
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etoile
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Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#2
Posted: 11/8/03 at 9:55pm
Prosecution depends on the local jurisdiction. Most states now have laws that cover illegal use of recording devices.
Rest in peace, Iflitifloat.
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Speaking of bootleggers...#3
Posted: 11/8/03 at 11:31pm
This thread brought to mind something that I need to get off my chest (not quite literally - there's very little there to begin with)

Something needs to be done about the number of bootlegs being auctioned on ebay. Maybe I'm just cranky because I was suspended for trying to sell a plain old CD that I bought in a store (and there is no reasoning with those ebay people). Come on! We all know it's illegal! And, yes, I do report bootleg auctions if I happen to see one. Guess what - nothing happens. The auctions continue and the same sellers keep selling multiple copies again and again and again making bucket loads of money.

Why do I bother? Because I'm bitter! Yes, dammit, I AM!

Ahem.
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re: Speaking of bootleggers...#4
Posted: 11/8/03 at 11:52pm
i know of one girl to date who was in her late 20s early 30s who was brought up on charges by the producers of hairspray i believe for making a video of the show during previews and selling it for a lot of money to various fans...she had to pay a fine, and write a letter to the AEA news letter so every actor could read her apology...my friends mom had the news letter about a year ago.
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re: Speaking of bootleggers...#5
Posted: 11/9/03 at 3:14am
The best way to get bootleg copies of theatrical productions off ebay is to contact AEA --taping@actorsequity.org. There was an article about a year or so ago that addressed this issue on the equity site, and this e-mail address was given to report any bootlegs.
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re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#6
Posted: 11/9/03 at 7:13am
Playing devil's advocate here...

I understand the legal arguments and copyright laws...(::cough::) but legality and monetary issues aside (::cough::)...who is actually being hurt? In my experience (I've had access to a dozen or so videos over the years...no, no...didn't tape them myself) and the quality of the recordings are such that only someone theater-obsessed would take the time to watch. JCS is so "jumpy" than I need to take a dramamine if I'm going to watch it. Full Monty has someone's head moving back and forth blocking the field of vision. Jane Eyre and Charlie Brown are pretty much unwatchable...out of focus and a lot of ceiling shots.

Do the tapes keep me from seeing a show? Not at all...if anything, they make me want to go back again. Their deepest value to me becomes apparent after a show that I loved closes. I love my Urinetown video now, but I'm sure I will treasure it even more a few months from now. And video or not, I plan on seeing the show a couple more times before it closes. Videos also allow me to remember the performances of non-lead actors far longer than something not visual.

I would gladly pay for an officially sanctioned video, but that's not a possibility, so I make do. In my perfect world, all shows (including Off and Off-Off B'way) would be videotaped and sold officially, so that the money would go to appropriate people. Small shows and short runs would have a chance to be seen by a wider audience. Big shows, hoping for long runs, would be helped as well. Someone in the midwest planning a vacation in the city might be more inclined to see a show live (after having seen the tape) if they are familiar with it...the non-theater crowd is more likely, IMO, to plunk down several hundred bucks to take the fam to a show with which they are acquainted.

That being said....there is still nothing like a live performance.
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re: re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#7
Posted: 11/9/03 at 8:30am
Ebay is an interesting place. I remember when I first found it *years* ago (when you could almost look at everything listed in about a half hour) if I wrote to report a bootleg - I received a personal email back immediately from someone at Ebay and the auction was removed. As Ebay gres, then it became an issue of:

1. Ebay being to big to properly manage all the auctions
2. They claimed they weren't knowledgeable enough on the subject to know what was legal and what was illegal.

They said the copyright holders had to contact them if they wanted the auctions removed, so I'm guessing that's why emailing actors equity works.

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Exactly, Becky...

I questioned the legality of something awhile ago (not a theatrical performance, don't remember what it was) and their response was that the person owning the copyright was the only one who could make a complaint. When I found a bootleg copy of Nine on Ebay, I reported it to AEA... it was gone the next day.

Interesting though -- on Ebay's UK site I found a bootleg video of a TV show someone was offering, and reported it to the Ebay people. They removed it within a couple of days.

But Ebay isn't the only auction site. I have seen on Yahoo Auctions many cases of bootlegs -- on things ranging from videos of various tv specials that are not on official video to bootleg copies of performances of the Music Man, Hairspray, the London Stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the very first performance of Aspects of Love, done at ALW's estate. I once tried to contact yahoo about this, but all I got was a form reply which didn't address my question... and they had the nerve to include the question at the bottom -- did this message help?!
Updated On: 11/9/03 at 08:39 AM
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re: re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#9
Posted: 11/9/03 at 9:21am
Couldn't agree more with iflitifloat !!!!

Take care
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re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#10
Posted: 11/9/03 at 3:55pm
Speaking of bootlegs.........

I was at "Boy From Oz" last night -- Orchestra Row S. A lady behind me was taping the show.
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re: re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#11
Posted: 11/9/03 at 4:03pm
did you say anything to her?
If we are supposed to be against it then maybe you should have said something.

I will admit that I have seen some bootleg copies and we all have had the oppurtunity (okay maybe not ALL!).
...this is wrong on so many levels... Diane Lane in "Must Love Dogs" "If you have poo, now is the time to fling it" -- The Monkey's from Madagascar
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I also agree 100% with iflitifloat.

The best way to reduce the popularity of bootlegs is to have official tapings of the show.
"This country, this experiment, America, this hubris: what a lament if no one saw it go. Here today, gone tomorrow. Dissipation is actually much worse than cataclysm."--August: Osage County
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BOJ,

Yes, I DID say something to her. She told me to mind my own "F...ing" business. Of course, that did not sit well with me, so I went for one of the ushers at the intermission. Don't know what transpired, but I did not see the camera during the 2nd act.
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Good for you Michelleruth~
I probably would have been like "oh get me a copy....lol"
KIDDING!
...this is wrong on so many levels... Diane Lane in "Must Love Dogs" "If you have poo, now is the time to fling it" -- The Monkey's from Madagascar
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I've been propositioned twice outside WK theatre about buying a bootleg copy of TAKE ME OUT. I admit I was tempted, but I'd whether just save my money and see the play in person.

I agree that that the producers of these shows should sell legitimate tapes or discs of these shows. It would certainly bring in extra money. I would imagine a legit copy of TMO would be a big seller if you put Sunjata on the cover and told the consumer that for twenty or twenty-five the buyer would Sunjata completely nude. They couldn't keep it on the shelves.
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I am all pro-bootlegging but when you think about, if you officially videotape every performance, we are destroying the concept of revivals aren't we? People keep saying the reason Into the Woods was unsuccessful was because the original was still fresh in their minds. If we had everything videotaped, every original would be fresh in our minds.
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I'm not entirely sure that official releases would reduce all that much of the bootlegging. If you look at the lists of what certain traders have to offer, they often have many of the same show, to represent the different casts. So, say they did official tape Cabaret with Alan Cumming. There would still be the people who want the tape of Cabaret with Raul Esparza, Neil Patrick Harris, John Stamos, Jon Secada, Adam Pascal and any other guy who happened to be in it. Same with every show, for mostly every cast. A lot of people who are in the bootlegging "business" are pretty hardcore, and an official release of a show isn't going to stop the production, nor the demand.

Personally, though, I don't see all that much wrong with it. So long as the makers and traders don't try to make a profit off of it, I think it is passable. Of course, for most shows, I'd much rather pay to see them live anyway.
Updated On: 11/9/03 at 06:31 PM
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I see your point, GFfromC, but at least then we'd have the choice. I would be perfectly happy with videotaped performances shot with one camera that had decent sound. What would probably happen is that they would be over-produced and lose that "live theater" flavor. And they'd probably end up costing as much as the price of a ticket.
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re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#19
Posted: 11/9/03 at 8:44pm
The existence of bootlegs doesn't bother me. My problem lies with those who seek to make a profit selling them. Recently one could have purchased a recording of the current Phantom cast on ebay for the bargain price of $100 (someone went for it, too). Honestly, for that amount, buy a freaking ticket and go see the show as it's meant to be seen!
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re: re: Who prosecutes the bootleggers?#20
Posted: 11/9/03 at 8:47pm
I dont have a problem with bootlegs as long as they are for your own benefit only. I don't condone selling them (such as on ebay) -- I think it's wrong to look to make a profit on it.

I will not confirm or deny having any bootlegs myself.
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I agree CJR. As long as you dont' sell 'em for a profit. I also feel you should only have booties for shows that have closed, that way you're not taking money away from a current show. But I like others here have mentioned, have never not seen a show because i've seen a bootleg. There's nothing to compare with live theater, nothing.