June 10, 2005


Kim's Video, NYC's famous video store, was raided on Wednesday, and five employees were arrested for trademark counterfeiting. Cops seized nine computer towers, a CD burner, a laptop computer, 471 compact disks and 53 videos. Most of their targeted items were music-related, and some reports claim that record industry execs were on hand to identify bootlegged items. The internet is abuzz.

Think what you want about bootlegging (oh no, Hall and Oates won't be able to make their car payments this year...), and think what you want about Kim's employees (*sob* that video clerk sneered at my rental selection) but this is the last of the great NYC video stores. They carry movies that you've only dreamed of seeing, their clerks actually care about movies and some of them have done great things (in the early 90's, Barry Long single-handedly converted half of New York's population to the joys of Hong Kong movies), and while they break the law on a pretty regular basis (breaking street date, carrying parallel imports and grey-market DVDs) these guys should be cut some slack. They are a brick and mortar store that'll only ever cut into the profit margins of the studios so much, and without them we'd all have to order our parallel imports on-line, and that's really geeky.

Hopefully, the notoriously scrappy Mr. Kim won't take this lying down, but now that Kim's is on the Fed's radar, this might be the beginning of the end.

As for me, I love Kim's. They do more for the New York movie scene than all the Blockbusters and Hollywood Videos combined, and I'll be heading down there to buy something today. I'd encourage you to do the same.

June 10, 2005 at 11:49 AM in News | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference KIM'S BUSTED - HOW GREEDY CAN HOLLYWOOD GET?:


I worked at Kim's in 1992-3, and it was a horrible experience. That said, they're the best video store in NYC, in large part due to their selection of bootleg and import DVDs. I'm a little confused as to whether the video department was involved at all in this bust, or just the music section. Also, have the employees been accused of manufacturing bootlegs or just selling them?

Posted by: Steve | Jun 10, 2005 1:46:15 PM

As the dust settles, it looks like this will affect the music department of Kim's but might leave the video departments relatively unscathed. The biggest factor in this is probably the fact that a lot of the questionable VHS and DVD material that Kim's sells and rents doesn't have a US distributor so there's no one to bring a suit or file a complaint.

But I'm still worried that now that Kim's is on the radar, it's only a matter of time before someone mounting an anti-piracy campaign goes after the video. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn't happen.

Also, someone pointed out that street date is not a law. That's true. But it's one of those corporate mandates that come pretty close for a small (or large) business. However, it is good to be reminded that it's a mandate, not legislation.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Jun 11, 2005 7:06:43 AM

After Miramax bought up "hero" and then put it on a shelf for two and half years all the while strong-arming websites that were selling legit overseas releases of the film on DVD, I am concerned by the Kim's bust.

I think the general public and by extension the federales need to understand that there are two separate issues involved: bootlegs and imports.

I don't buy bootlegs. Period. BUT I do buy non-US DVD releases which are legal mainly cause I'm sick of Miramax and their tactics.

If Kim's sold bootlegs, they should be busted. If Kim's has just non-US releases, then they need to fight and make the distinction clear.

Posted by: Glenn | Jun 13, 2005 7:11:45 AM

Wow, I just discovered this blog and read this sad story. Is there nothing left thrillingly illicit in this great city of ours?

Posted by: Heidi M. | Jun 15, 2005 5:48:05 PM

Post a comment