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How Hollywood Can Capitalize on Piracy

  It would empty theaters and drain studio coffers. Why would anyone venture out to multiplexes when films could be disseminated virtually free and viewed in the convenience of your own home?

Valenti was referring to videocassette recorders, the big boxes rolling out of Japanese factories circa 1980 that could make or play copies of movies at minimal cost. He called them a “parasitical instrument” and told Congress in 1982: “The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston ­Strangler is to the woman home alone.” Filmmakers heeded him: Steven ­Spielberg refused to release E.T. to the home video market for six years.

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