Video "Catch Us! if You Can"
Title: Catch us! if you can
Only for public, not for personal use
Duration: around 10 min
Production: kuda.org, New Media Center, Novi Sad / August 2003
”Catch us! if you can” is video documentation of street action that took place in Novi Sad and it consists of statements and interviews made with ex-dealers of pirated CD ROM’s, and citizens of Novi Sad about the new law that forbids any kind of piracy. Starting point of street action and interviews with ex-pirate dealers was distribution of DivX, new and improved version of one of blockbuster movies in that period, "Catch me if you can" by Stephen Spielberg. Movie was improved together with members of Critical Art Ensemble and it consists of extra titling the movie, as a kind of reaction on usual copyright sentence: "This DVD is for screening purposes only and it is not for Public Presentation." which showed up many times in the movie. Extra titles were added to point out different copyright issues as a form of cultural imperialism. Some of them are:
Catch Me If You Can was produced for $ 50 million and has already made 160 million.
Expect millions more to be made when realized to video and cable.
You are under economic and cultural attack.
This DivX has been created for public use and not for private interests!
The appropriation of digital information is a form of cultural self-defense.
The production and distribution of digital information should not be centrally controlled.
The law against piracy was passed in April this year as one of direct consequences of government action after assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. New laws against terrorism were passed and piracy fell in category of criminal acts. Law against piracy is on and it’s very cruel: person could get from 5 to 8 years in prison for copying, redistributing and unauthorized public presentation of some copyrighted piece. A thousand of CD shops are now closed, street dealers cannot sell pirate CD’s anymore and some people got arrested because of this illegal action. Still, piracy industry is live and vivid, and it's functioning through not so visible channels. It would be just great that piracy, formed as a kind of habit in Serbian society, could be understood as a collective consciousness of people here about importance of copyleft and idea of sharing. But, it is only the matter of collective poverty. Somewhere between government’s urge for fast and visible political earnings and adaptation to standards and legislative of Western Europe markets, Serbian law against piracy exists as completely inadequate and premature step that devastates already poor information distribution.
Access for all is a requirement for world democracy!