Why I don't rent movies

Three associations of rental movies stores, one Portuguese, one Spanish and one French, joined efforts and created an "anti-piracy civil movement". While I could argue that "civil" is a bad word to describe such movement, this wouldn't catch my eye for long, but it did, since they created that movement for the purpose of getting the Telecoms Package to be approved by the EU Council without the emend 138 (that states that whatever the Package says, personal rights should not be trumped over), and they actually managed to get what they wanted. Anyway, when confronted about how bad for European citizens it would be if the amend was dropped, they failed to justify why they don't like it, and instead mumbled over and over about piracy piracy financial losses piracy piracy piracy... I tried, for three days, to get them talking about 138, and why they don't want that, but instead of getting a justification, I've heard tons of things about piracy and how bad their business was.

During the discussion, and because they felt that I must be pro-piracy (which I actually am not) because I don't agree with them, they tried to confront me by asking a curious thing: what was the last time I rented a movie?

Now, more sober from the discussion, I started to think more about that question. There are lot's of people that never really were into renting movies, but that's not my case. My reply was something like "for years", but now, thinking more about it, I can say with some certainty that the last movie I rent was more or less four years ago. Why?

Well, I lived in Lamego in my youth, and there I never was really into renting movies. The offer there was poor (and last time I checked it was even worse), so there was really no point in spending money and rent a movie when I could spend the less drinking beer, hanging out, or even acting like a potato couch and seeing silly TV shows. When I moved to Coimbra all was different. Specially in my first years there, I was quite addicted in cultural stuff: almost every day I had a concert to see, a theatre play to attend, and exposition to watch, a movie to see. I spent lots of money in one of the cinema's there, where I usually watched all the movies that were shown in that venue. Also, I used to attend to every thing that was going on the Academic Theatre (TAGV): mainly movies, plays or concerts. And I also started renting movies, specially when with friends: we would get a couple of movies, crash in someone's house, and do a "movie party". Life started getting busier and busier, but it wasn't uncommon to see me browsing in Tintarella's shelves, since that particular movies rental store had a quite nice stock of recent and good alternative movies, European cinema and science fiction, and a catchy section with weekly highlights. In my latest years in Coimbra, sometimes I was found in the middle of the night with a couple of friends on the multimedia room of one University department, watching a just-rented movie.

Then I came to the big city of Lisbon, and I never rented a movie again. Do you think it is my fault? First I lived in Carnaxide, now I really live in Lisbon. I know where a/the movies rental store in Carnaxide is: I went there exactly three times, sold there used CDs, bought there one second-hand CD, and their movies selection was... unattractive. I live in "real Lisbon" for almost three years now. And I never saw a movies rental shop.

Now, do you really think that it is my fault that I never rented a movie anymore? Is it caused by piracy? No way. I don't rent movies because I don't have the habit of doing so, I don't know any rental store and I don't feel any urge of finding one. If you take into account that I used to be a client of that kind of stores, their "industry" lost a client. They did not know how to keep me. They failed as business people. They did a bad job. They are doing a bad job. They can throw rocks to piracy, freedom, rights, or anything they like. They might even get the chance to implement any laws and regulations they dream of. They will never have a successful business until they realise and admit their flaws and mistakes. Hurting people is not a way of making them your clients. Slowly, really slowly, the music industry is starting to learn their lesson. Movies rental businesses should too.