I recently came across this tweet from Duncan Jones, the director of the little movie that would,’Moon’:
“Dear BitTorrenters… so pleased Moon is popular with u; 40,000 active seeds cant be wrong! One thing. Will you please buy the DVD as well?”
Film piracy is not a hot topic; it’s been around long enough to cool down a little. That’s not, however, prevented it from continuing to cause a great deal of problems for the film market. Dodgy DVDs and more, illegal downloads, cost the film industry enormous amounts of revenue every year. A report in 2005 for the Motion Picture Association (all of the large studios) estimated that the studios dropped $6.1 billion a year and the sector as a whole (theaters, cable television etc included) dropped $18.2 billion. At the time it was estimated that of the $18.2 billion, $7.1 was because of online piracy. There are few people, I feel, who would disagree with the proposal that figure has risen. This loss of revenue will obviously result in serious financial problems for the studios and is contributing to their current downfall.
The film industry is not without clout alta definizione and it’s responding to this threat with both with challenging legal steps and also by increasing awareness of the consequences of piracy. Lately the founders of this hugely popular prohibited download site Pirate Bay were found guilty of copyright infringement and are looking forward to a year in target. In Australia the movie market has accused one of the nation’s biggest online service providers of encouraging pirates, its biggest users, to upgrade their packages and turning a blind eye to their download content.
On the other, friendlier, side of the equation, the Trust for Internet Piracy Awareness from the UK has changed its campaign from the aggressive and accusatory’Piracy is Theft’ commercials into a kindlier thank you note for encouraging the British film industry by turning to illegal downloading.
Piracy, particularly, online piracy can be assumed to be growing. Even if it’s not, it is a significantly large enough problem at the moment for some thing to need to get done about it. Piracy needs to stop, or at least be controlled to keep it from completely undermining the film industry (something that some people could be all for but the studios (i.e. those with the money and ability to influence change) most emphatically do not). The question is, why has internet film piracy become so popular?
Clearly the prospect of getting a product free of charge is plenty enough enticement for some. Others see it as the beginning of the end of capitalist materialism and a shining new potential for the arts. These reasons don’t accounts, I think, for the immense quantities of otherwise’respectable’ people who participate in this practice. The anonymity of sitting behind a computer and big number of other folks doing it are certainly factors that encourage piracy. More significantly I believe is the boost in technology that has allowed it to become so straightforward. Obviously enormously increased net speeds facilitate film piracy but so also does the freely available and easy to use peer2peer applications such as BitTorrent.
Behind this, I feel is an increasing disengagement with the cinema as more entertainment is to be found in front of the computer (YouTube games, media sites etc). Fewer people need to leave their computer to be entertained or to perform the shopping or pay bills, why should they leave their computer to see a new film? Disgruntlement with Hollywood; bad films and the ever-increasing price of watching them, both at the cinema (up to #15, when it was 5 in my youth) and on DVD (and the more costly BluRay) can also encourage individuals to illegally download movies. Dominic Wells argues that folks are using downloaded films as a test of brand worth; i.e. which individuals will go to the cinema to watch another film by same director or will a DVD of a film they have downloaded. This is certainly a much more economically effective way for the user to discover the film they want to own or pay to experience from the cinema. Check out the summertime hit movies demonstrate that it wasn’t the star driven heavily promoted movies that did well and produced a buzz, it had been smaller films like’The Hangover’ and’District 9′. Some studies on the music sector (that has also been massively affected by online piracy) assert that pirated monitors encourage people to purchase the song lawfully. However, some may see this as mere wishful thinking, asserting that people won’t ever return to paying when they don’t have to.
1 last significant factor that supports piracy anyplace except in America is that the delayed release dates which the rest of the planet experience both in cinemas and for DVDs. Movies are often available online before they are published in America but as soon as they show at a theater they are certainly online. A lot of online buzz surrounding a movie released in the US which isn’t going to hit Britain for another 2 months will encourage people to download it and be in a position to take part in that discussion. Many specialists, such as Julien McArdle, who directed a documentary on the issue of piracy, concur that this is among the most critical changes that could happen. McArdle made his movie on a budget of about C$700 and can be distributing it for free on the internet. Slyck.com has done an exceptional interview .
With so many reasons to pirate movies (the first and foremost of which will always be that it’s free) it isn’t any wonder that all these men and women are doing it. The internet is turned into such a powerful tool and platform and because it’s open and free everybody the pirating community has been in a position to steal an effect on the movie market. The studios and distribution businesses are, however, developing new models to permit them entry into this marketplace. So far companies such as Apple have lead the way, selling downloadable movies through their present iTunes store. Other businesses are supplying similar services and being embraced by the studios; Universal Pictures UK chairman Eddie Cunningham when UK site Wippit started supplying permanent downloads in 2006 said”I think what you’re seeing here is the beginning of a revolution in terms of how we can distribute digitally and I would expect you’ll see a lot more news of this type over the next few months.” The internet has also been adopted as a supply tool by the independent filmmaking community. Downloading a movie is cheap and simple and obviates the need for DVD burning and stamp. It enables easy access to your worldwide audience makes promotion and interaction with audiences a very fluid networked affair which can be extremely effective for the independent film.
There is general agreement however, not enough has been achieved for the model of legitimate movie downloading. Many different people have as many different thoughts about it’s future. The simple split between them is whether you attempt to provide movies at no cost or not. Some promote the Spotify model of where you can stream but not download songs free of charge and accept ads each five songs or so. Quite how this could translate into films is not yet known – it works for short movies on sites where the advert is performed prior to the movie but one ad may not generate enough revenue for a characteristic and no-one wants their movie interrupted. Dominic Wells argues that net streamed but lawfully bought films will revolutionise the business. The hypothetical case study he gives is that of the Bollywood gem trying to find an audience in the countries. There are very few areas he asserts, where the audience population (mostly Indian) is dumb enough for it to make financial sense for a theater to show the movie. Spread out throughout the country, however, are sufficient audience members to create a substantial profit. By having the ability to search a database of online films and find this Bollywood gem then download it to their house for a small fee, this market audience finds the movie it’s looking for and the movie finds it US crowd.
This sort of model will rely on superior technology and internet infrastructure to that which we have at the moment nonetheless. Sky and other cable service providers are beginning to develop the family hub computer/T. V. complete with internet, standard television stations and demandable programming, but it isn’t quite yet true. Once this is set up and download rates have improved yet further, DVDs will become outmoded and everybody will just download what they need to see. Simultaneous release, both globally and between theatre and home-viewing (i.e. DVD or legal download) is a necessity for this to start happening and, based on Matt Mason, author of’The Pirates Dilemma’ says that can’t occur”until DVDs/Blu Ray are well and truly dead and buried” He goes on to mention “we’ll see the studios using file sharing sites more to promote films, and content deals between the studios and torrent sites are already happening.”
This model, for my money, is the most likely to prevail. What will be interesting to see is how content is handled on the internet. Which content providers (such as iTunes) gain ascendancy and the way can they select movies to make available to their readers? Studio films will of course have no difficulty being discovered but independent films will likely remain somewhat slightly more concealed. I imagine that there’ll be content providers dedicated to independent and smaller films and net word of mouth will be used to market them. Theatrical release won’t be as common for individual movies but people will still be eager to go and pay for the cinematic experience of their bigger, more ramifications driven studio productions. Film will become a much more home-based encounter. Piracy will fade out because it will become easier and easier, as well as less guilt inducing, to watch the most recent releases through the legitimate system.