You Wouldn't Steal a Car

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"You Wouldn't Steal a Car" is the first sentence of a public service announcement created in July 2004, which was part of the anti copyright infringement campaign "Piracy. It's a crime." It was created by the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the Motion Picture Association of America in cooperation with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore,[1][2] and appeared in theaters internationally from 2004 until 2007, and on many commercial DVDs during the same period as a clip before the main menu appears, as either an unskippable or skippable video.

The announcement depicts a man committing theft of various objects, and compares these crimes to the unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyrighted materials, such as films.[3][4] According to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, the announcement was unsuccessful, and was largely a source of ridicule.[3] By 2009, over 100 parodies of the announcement had been created.[2] It has been reported that the music in the announcement was stolen and used without permission,[5][6] however, one source disputes this, saying the reporting is the result of conflation regarding a different anti-piracy ad that used stolen music.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

The advertisement has been parodied in Internet memes, including those using the phrase "You wouldn't download a car."[8][9] In 2007, The IT Crowd episode "Moss and the German" parodied the advertisement, mirroring its initial points before comparing copyright infringement to increasingly ludicrous crimes and consequences.[10] Finlo Rohrer of the BBC considered this version to be "perhaps the best known" of over 100 parodies of the ad that had been created by 2009.[2]

The Greens-European Free Alliance, in association with Rafilm, released their own parody version of the film to oppose the media industry and government views on existing copyright laws, as well as to educate the public on alternative views about intellectual property.[11][12][13][14]

Fictional pop punk band Sunrise Skater Kids references the video in their song "Exposure Bank" released on the album Friendville.[15]

In 2017, The Juice Media produced a controversial parody of the video for Australia Day. The video compared the celebration of Australia Day, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet and is often referred to as "Invasion Day" by Indigenous Australians, to celebrating the Nazis' Final Solution, dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the September 11 attacks.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Be HIP at the Movies". Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. July 27, 2004. Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Finlo Rohrer (June 18, 2009). "Getting inside a downloader's head". BBC. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Harris, Sophia (March 28, 2017). "Netflix's anti-piracy team aims to make stealing content uncool". Archived from the original on November 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Poon, Christopher. "'You wouldn't steal a car,' but I'd download one | Dot Comrade | Pique Newsmagazine | Whistler, CANADA". Pique Newsmagazine. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Anti-Piracy Advert Music Was Stolen". The Ransom Note. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021.
  6. ^ S. Kruszelnicki, Karl (January 29, 2013). "Anti-pirating ad music stolen". ABC News. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Van Der Sar, Ernesto. "Sorry, the "You Wouldn't Steal a Car" Anti-Piracy Ad Wasn't "Pirated"". Torrentfreak. Archived from the original on August 3, 2021.
  8. ^ "DRM for furniture: You wouldn't download a chair". March 5, 2013. Archived from the original on December 9, 2019. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  9. ^ "Piracy, It's a Crime". Know Your Meme. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "The IT Crowd - Series 2 - Episode 3: Piracy warning". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  11. ^ "European Politicians Launch Pro-Filesharing Campaign". Torrent Freak. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  12. ^ ""I Wouldn't Steal": European Greens advocate file-swapping". ars TECHNICA. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  13. ^ "I wouldn't steal". The Greens-European Free Alliance. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "I wouldn't steal <video>". The Greens-European Free Alliance. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  15. ^ "Sunrise Skater Kids - Exposure Bank Lyrics | Genius Lyrics". Retrieved January 24, 2022 – via Genius.
  16. ^ thejuicemedia (January 24, 2017), Australia Day (Piracy parody), archived from the original on December 21, 2021, retrieved June 17, 2018
  17. ^ "This Video Compares Australian Settlement To 9/11, Hiroshima And The Holocaust". BuzzFeed. Retrieved June 17, 2018.

External links[edit]