Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Peek in Philippine Piracy

When I was in college, my groupmates and I did a study for one of our psychology classes on the motivation behind the buying and selling of pirated VCD’s and DVD’s in the Philippines. We interviewed people who were making their living from selling pirated VCD’s and DVD’s. We also interviewed and gave out questionnaires to those who were buying the pirated copies.

I’d like to share one of the interviews we conducted, in hope that we might be able to understand better those people who engage in the business of selling pirated VCD’s and DVD’s.

After a brief introduction of ourselves, I asked him why does it seem that most people who sell the pirated discs are Muslims. He said that it has become a trend because of the rumors spreading in Mindanao that selling pirated DVD’s in Manila makes a lot of money. That’s why a lot of them come here, he explained. I then asked him where they get the pirated VCD’s and DVD’s. He told me that the discs come from Malaysia and China. I asked him if he knows that there are laws prohibiting people from selling and buying the pirated discs. He said he knows that it is prohibited but he doesn’t think that what he is doing is wrong. He reasoned out that even Catholics, professionals, and well-to-do people buy pirated VCD’s and DVD’s. As far as he was concerned, he was just making a living – an honest business as he was not fooling anyone nor stealing anything.
He shared to me his story during one of the raids. All his discs have been confiscated during the raid. A couple of days after the raid, someone went to him, selling pirated VCD’s and DVD’s at an extremely low price. Because he had lost all his discs, he had no choice but to buy the said VCD’s and DVD’s on bargain so that he could start his business again. When he opened the discs, he noticed the markings on them and he realized that those were actually the discs he was selling –the exact ones which have been confiscated during the raid. He said it was disheartening. And although he had lost a lot of money, he said that would still continue selling pirated discs. He was still hopeful on his business. Smiling, he told me, “Makakabawi rin naman siguro ako. Sapat na sa akin na kahit papaano nakakakain ako araw-araw at may pangsigarilyo pa paminsan-minsan.”

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