I was shopping for a gadget today in one of Amman’s famous video game stores, when two young ladies walked in and asked if they sell DVD movies. “No,” said the guy behind the counter. “Go to the shop up the road.”
As the girls were walking our I heard the guy mumble “the days of DVDs are over anyway.”
“What?” I asked.
“Haven’t you heard? All the pirate DVD stores are gonna be closed by 1 April,” he said
“No.. All these shops in down town are getting rid of their merchandize. Copying DVDs will now land you in jail and it will be registered as a theft crime on your criminal record. State security and stuff,” he answered with confidence.
I don’t know what he meant by “state security” but I guess it was his “streetwise way” of telling me that the matter is serious.
“It’s a decision from someone really high up,” he added with a lowered voice.
Now, I might have head in the sand for the past few months. No one ever told me that this was coming down. If what the guy was saying is true, a big source of entertainment for a broad sector of Jordanian society will be wiped out overnight. It will be a “national disaster”.
“People will start downloading from the net,” the shop guy said.
My guess is that the whole thing will move underground. In Dubai, you just need to have the number of one of the Chinese people who sit around in restaurants with bags for of DVDs. That’s not as ‘pleasant’ as walking into one of the amazing DVD stores in downtown Amman. But somehow people need to be entertained.
Only a small minority of Jordanians can dish out 20 JDs or more for an original DVD at Prime or Virgin Megastore. The global studios would be better off offering cheap versions of their films in poorer countries. The reality today is that a DVD costs more in Jordan than the US or Europe because of the damn custom duties. I think this is absurd.
Mark my words. If the news is correct, just watch how the Plastic Internet goes underground post April 1st 2008.
And just in case if you’re wondering, this is not an early attempt at an April’s Fools joke.
Has anyone out there heard of this