Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Digital Distribution makes things worse, Part 2

From an LA Times article headed "Independent Filmmakers Feel the Squeeze of Piracy", the producer and director of a movie called "A Gangland Love Story" isn't amused by current audience trends:

Since its DVD release in July, audiences have embraced it: More than 60,000 viewers have watched the movie on the Internet, giving the independent filmmaker a coveted public following.

Unfortunately, winning an audience has come at a steep price. The viewers of Carter's film watched if from pirate movie sites and never paid for it. Carter figures the unauthorized viewing has cost him as much as $100,000 in lost revenue, dashing hope that he'll ever see a profit.

"It feels like someone is walking into your house and stealing your furniture," said Carter, 38. "The big studios can absorb it, but guys like me, we're not millionaires. We're fighting like crazy for every dollar, every nickel, every penny just to survive in this marketplace."

And it's not just aspiring fringe types:

The most high-profile case involves "The Hurt Locker," which won six Oscars but earned only $16.4million at the box office in the U.S. and Canada, an unusually low gross for a best-picture winner. Some blamed the effects of online piracy — the movie was available on the Web months before its arrival in theaters. Voltage Pictures, the film's producer, obtained IP addresses for 5,000 people it claims shared the film illegally. Voltage is now suing them, following a similarly controversial tactic used by the Recording Industry Assn. of America several years ago in an effort to fight the piracy of music.

"More people downloaded the movie for free than actually paid for it," said Thomas Dunlap, who has filed copyright infringement lawsuits on behalf of more than a dozen indie filmmakers and distributors, including Voltage and Maverick Entertainment Group, the company that distributed Carter's movie.

Did you like that screener?


David Chute said...

My friend Bjorn likes to point out that the apparatus of piracy is, in a sense, progressive.

"Download speeds increase," he says, "in direct proportion to the popularity of the item. The more people want it, the faster they get it. So the system actually discourages the downloading of niche films and encourages the downloading of 'Inception' and 'Resident Evil.' This, in turn encourages the Robin Hood, noble outlaw self-image a lot of these guys seem to have."

An attitude that HG, needless to say, deplores.

David Chute said...

At they same time, is ti really required that we prove dammage? A position simply on the morality would be plenty.

Tulkinghorn said...

You can look for a long time before you find someone who thinks that payment for intellectual property involves morality.

Why, I'll bet that some of the most passionate movie buffs you know rarely pay for the experiences they build their lives around...