Video Piracy Was Big Business In 1979

Illustration for article titled Video Piracy Was Big Business In 1979

Back in the day, new fangled VHS technology opened up a world of piracy and paranoia that we are abundantly familiar with today. The only difference was that many pirates were making big, big bucks.

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As you will see in the following hard-hitting 60 Minutes report on the state of video piracy in 1979, insiders with access to films were able to command as much as $1000 ($3,308 with inflation) for masters that were later copied and sold by resellers for between $50 and $500 a pop ($155 to $1654 with inflation). Apparently the novelty of watching a movie in your home was enough to justify the expense at a time when a movie ticket cost $3 or less.

Illustration for article titled Video Piracy Was Big Business In 1979

"60 Minutes" on Video Piracy - 1979 - part 1 of 2
by videohollic

Illustration for article titled Video Piracy Was Big Business In 1979

"60 Minutes" on Video Piracy - 1979 - part 2 of 2
by videohollic

"They said it would happen, and it has. The day when you could go to the movies without leaving your living room!"

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Gizmodo '79 is a week-long celebration of gadgets and geekdom 30 years ago, as the analog age gave way to the digital, and most of our favorite toys were just being born.

DISCUSSION

I'm pretty sure people are still making plenty of good money off it.

If you think the only reason that anything gets pirated now is out of the goodness of someone's heart I've got a bridge to sell you.