Matthew Yglesias of Vox on an issue near and dear to my heart, the supreme lack of an un-fuddled, high definition version of George Lucas’ science-fiction masterpiece[s]:
He’s gone so far as refusing to allow the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry to get its hands on a copy. Nor has he released a high-quality version for home viewing. A few people may have their hands on obsolete VHS or Laserdisc sets, of course, but that doesn’t help. Back in 2006, Lucas released a DVD set that contained the original cut of Star Wars, but it’s a low-quality transfer made back in 1993 for the Laserdisc, not a proper DVD release — to say nothing of a Blu-ray.
Enter a hero named Petr Harmy, who painstakingly created the cut I watched and calls it the “Despecialized Edition.”
But […] watching it is a crime.
Yglesias, in typical ultra-liberal Vox fashion, then advocates for a complete dismantling of the copyright situation in the United States motion picture industry. According to his theory, doing so would make it possible for Harmy to distribute his version of the Star Wars trilogy, and moreover, profit from doing so.
That certainly sounds like a nice idea. However, as much as it pains me to be a consumer dealing with the stubbornness of the MPAA and big film studios (and Lucas), I can’t help but empathize (somewhat). Put yourself in their shoes. You’re George Lucas. Your feeble attempts on capitalizing on the huge successes of your early career have utterly failed. You feel terrible. And upon hearing about a bunch of Star Wars nerds on the internet and how they hate what you’ve done to their movies, you do—what? You welcome their criticism with open arms? When, in doing so, potentially wipe out the main source of your revenue stream?
I don’t think so.
Is George Lucas truly stupid for refusing to give the people what they want? Is it truly stupid to safeguard your only source of income?
I suppose it all depends on your point of view.
In case you were wondering: