Any casual visitor to Amazon.com, that huge, well-organized, consumer-friendly web-store, will most likely be unaware that they are a depository and vendor of pirated, boot-legged and by whatever name one calls it, illegal video product.
Having read much of the background material and publicity related to home video piracy and our national security, as proffered by Homeland Security, I have a real problem believing that Amazon.com is a terrorist organization.
I don't believe that for a moment.
However, track back their illegal merchandise to its source, and I have no idea what illicit or potentially dangerous connections might be found. I truly hope that it leads to an 87 year-old women in Cincinnati, burning discs in her attic, and saving up toward her grand-children's college educations, with no concept of copyright.
Amazon's actions, whether directly (or via a subsidiary), in not policing their own site, affects our domestic motion picture industry, as well consumers who enjoy what are referred to as catalog titles. As an example, search Amazon for the UK Hitchcock productions, and you'll find any number of illegal copies offered. Some being shipped direct by vendors, using Amazon as a nesting place, and others fulfilled and shipped by Amazon, which means that Amazon is harboring the illegal product. As I have discussed this with several customer service reps over the past year of so, these illegal activities must be presumed known to corporate. But as we know, especially with customer services reps safely off shore, information may not travel upwards.
The fact that Amazon (and also Barnes & Noble, Best Buy et al) are offering these products, makes it very difficult for those who own legitimate rights or licenses to these copyrighted works to bring them out on Blu-ray or DVD via legitimate sources, such as Criterion.
As another case-in-point, search Amazon for Abel Gance's Napoleon, and you'll find a number of vendors offering a "licensed" South Korean DVD, copied from Universal's original VHS release of 1982. And no one is hiding. The Universal logo and copyrights are intact. The DVD is an unfortunate example, placing four hours of content on a single layer DVD, which means that it's sometimes difficult to find image within the macro-blocking.
Amazon is fully aware of the Napoleon situation also, but for whatever reason is reluctant to remove the offering from their gargantuan site.
How many illegal DVDs and Blu-rays can readers find on Amazon? On Barnes & Noble? On Best Buy? On other sites? The situation seems to make a mockery of those FBI, Homeland Security and National Intellectual Property Rights logos one must sit through before viewing the main attraction.
Might make an interesting list.
I'd love to see Amazon and others clean up their acts and go legit, but either no one seems interested in bothering, or the money is too good to turn down.