One Misguided Tweet Is 'Indisputable' Evidence That Piracy Harms Movies?

from the how-so? dept

We recently wrote about how filmmaker Rhett Reese was somewhat misguided in lashing out at fans over their claims on Twitter that they had downloaded his movie Zombieland. Of course, both of the fans that he lashed out at noted they had seen the film in the theaters (one of them multiple times) and the download was a repeat viewing -- and they still planned to buy the DVD, since they loved the film so much. Still, the Twitter message from Reese that got the most attention was the claim that all this downloading would greatly impact the likelihood of a sequel. A few days later, Reese decided to further elaborate his stance on "piracy" and it is a bit more nuanced -- he admits that his messages were fueled more by emotion than by rational thought, though he is still upset about people downloading his films and is worried about where it "inevitably leads."

From this, Captain Kibble alerts us to an accurately described "rant" at ScreenRants.com about how this is "indisputable" evidence that piracy harms movies. The basis of that claim? Reese's heat of the moment claim that this could impact the making of a sequel. According to the ScreenRants folks, this suggests it's a fact that movie piracy is harming movies. Of course, there's no actual evidence that there is any decreased interest in making a Zombieland sequel. In fact, since the highest grossing movies almost always correlate to the most shared movies online, it seems that being a top pirated movie also likely has extremely high correlation with movies that get sequels.

Could file sharing be harming movies? Yes, it's possible. But there is scant evidence that it's a huge or serious threat that can't be dealt with through better and smarter business models. As we've seen with smart filmmakers who embrace file sharing as a way to gain more fans and "converts," it can actually help them make more money by building up more people who want to support the filmmaker.

That said, the latter half of the ScreenRants rant actually does make a few good suggestions, noting that part of the issue is Hollywood's slothlike pace in offering movie fans what they want in terms of online services and video on demand. One of these days, the movie industry will figure this stuff out, and the answer isn't freaking out and complaining about "piracy," but finally putting in place the business models that we've seen are working already.


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  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    "Hollywood's slothlike pace in offering movie fans what they want in terms of online services and video on demand"

    I've said this many times, I wish you could buy the blu-ray/DVD of a movie on the way out of the theater. You'd take your ticket stub to the counter and they'd allow you to buy it.

    Of course these movies would be fully priced. And especially with kids' movies, the studios could make a fortune milking parents who want to please their kids. "Can we get it now, dad, can we get it now?!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    we've seen with smart filmmakers who embrace file sharing as a way to gain more fans and "converts,"

    First off, you are doing that "smart-dumb" thing again, where there is still scant proof that the "smart" ones are really getting anything more than would be gotten if everyone rallied hard against piracy.

    There one thing that you never explain Mike, and that is how "free fans" convert into buying fans. Yes, you can sell them something else (not your product), but in the end, film makers make films, not the proverbial "lotssss of t-shirts". So they don't want fans as much as they want paid heads in the door. My concern is that a "fan" obtained by ways of giving your product away will only be a fan as long as they keep getting stuff for free. Once you ask them to actually pay up, they will likely ignore you are still download the next movie for free.

    Non-paying fans are like door crashers at a party. They make things more lively, but in the end, they ain't gonna pay for anything.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    (This guy seems awfully familiar... I think Mike has a full-time paid-for troll! Wonder who's paying it...)

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    Yes, and then you would take it home, and instead of suggesting the movie to friends to go see at $10 a ticket, you would invite 4 or 5 of them over the next weekend to watch it at your place (for free).

    Whatever money you think they would make selling DVDs on the way out the door would be death for ticket sales. Literally trading dollars for dimes.

     

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  5.  
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    imbrucy (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    The problem with your line of thought is that you still feel all the money should be made selling the content. That idea doesn't hold up in a digital world because the content is no longer scarce. Since the supply is infinite the price will naturally be pressured toward 0. What filmmakers need to learn is that they aren't selling the movie itself, they are selling the experience of watching the movie.

     

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    imbrucy (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re:

    I think what you are missing is the assumption that watching the movie at home is the same as watching it at the theater. What the theater is selling is not the movie but the experience. While I do have a nice HDTV and a good surround sound system, I still enjoy watching movies at the theater because my system just can't recreate the awesome sound or the giant screen. That's why IMAX and other Mega Screen theaters are becoming so popular.

    You are suffering from the same delusion that most of Hollywood has in assuming that the content is what's most important, but to your consumers the movie is not what's important. It's the experience associated with the movie.

    The perfect example of this is movies like The Princess Bride or any of the Monty Python's. I love those movies, but I would never sit down and watch them by myself because while they are still funny they aren't nearly as enjoyable. However if I have a group of friends over and we sit down and watch it, it's more fun because you have people quoting the movie and cracking other jokes.

    It all comes down to you overvaluing the content and undervaluing the experience.

     

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    DH's love child, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re:

    "Literally trading dollars for dimes."

    Except you're forgetting that studios make a TON more on DVD sales than they do on box office sales

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    Content is scarce. You are falling for the fallacy that because it can be copied, it isn't scarce. It's scarce as heck. It's only not scarce because people are stealing it (as Trent Reznor would call it).

    Filmmakers make movies. They sell movies. If nobody buys movies, they stop making them. Enjoy that "experience".

     

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    Hulser (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your arguments appear to be based on the pre-Internet era...

    Content is scarce.
    Right, up until the second that it's converted to digital format that can be accessed by the public. After that, it's infinite.

    So they don't want fans as much as they want paid heads in the door.
    What does "want" have to do with anything? I want a truckload full of money delivered to my house, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen. The whole point that Mike makes is that even if copyright infringement is wrong, you'll never be able to stop it, so you might as well change your business model to accomodate the new environment. So, they shouldn't care about how many "paid heads", but about simply how much money they're making.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I think what you are missing is the assumption that watching the movie at home is the same as watching it at the theater."

    That's exactly what I was going to say. People go to movies in the theater for the experience. That's exactly why Pixar was able to re-release the first two Toy Story movies to the theaters. That's exactly why the Polar Express played in theaters a year after its release. That's exactly why the Nightmare Before Christmas was able to be re-released to the theaters well after its initial release. And that's why Fox was able to re-release the first three Star Wars movies to the theaters, decades after the fact.

    Going to the theater to see a movie is an experience people are willing to pay for. If the movie is good, of course.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Content is scarce...."

    What Hulser said.

     

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    KevinJ (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:30am

    "Content is scarce. You are falling for the fallacy that because it can be copied, it isn't scarce. It's scarce as heck. It's only not scarce because people are stealing it (as Trent Reznor would call it)."

    So, even though infinite copies of the movie can be made, and I can watch one of those copies on virtually any video player out there, the movie is scarce? Even though the supply of digital copies of the movie is near infinite, the supply is limited? I'm afraid I don't follow your logic.

    The movie itself is not scarce, the talent of filmmakers such as Rhett Reese is scarce. I still go see movies in theaters, buy the movies I like on DVD so I can watch them later, and I have yet to download any movie via legal or illegal means. And I can clearly see where the scarcity lies. If you want to convince me otherwise, use rational and well thought out arguments to show how infinite supply equals scarcity (which is what you appear to be claiming).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    Re:

    Oh my goodness? Somebody called something smart! What a bold move! I bet nobody has ever thought of it. What will happen now? Cats and dogs living together? The end of an era? 2012?

     

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    cc, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Content is not scarce. It is not scarce in the sense that it's inaccessible (digital distribution makes it only too accessible), and it is not scarce in the sense that there's not enough of it (there's hundreds of thousands of movies and millions of songs---saturation!).

    "I've said this many times, I wish you could buy the blu-ray/DVD of a movie on the way out of the theater."

    Surely, the cinema companies have exclusivity to the movies so they're not allowed to sell DVDs.

    The sad thing is, cinemas are only there to help movies make up their investment, not to sell content or experience. I personally wish they would stop brainlessly showing just the latest blockbusters to come out of hollywood (which are very often awful) and poll users on the internet about what movies (old or new) they would like to see. It's CwF in some sense. That way they sell an experience you can't get at home and possibly get return customers.

     

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    John Lane, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Movie Downloads

    All this talk about whether or not downloading movies impacts the profits made or whether or not sequels will be made is rubbish. I have seen few home theaters that can compare to the experience of seeing a movie on the wide screen, particulary an action movie. Add to that the IMAX experience and now the new digital theaters, people will always choose to see a movie in the theater unless it's a real stinker in which case maybe it'll drive Hollywood to be more creative in the movies they make and quit trying to live on their past glories.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Content is plentiful. At any given time, I can go onto YouTube or any other video streaming website and find dozens of newly created works (and that's not even counting the ones that are commercially backed).

    Oh, you meant multi-million dollar content?

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ya know, he's kinda right. The actual creation of new content is scarce. Think of it not "I can make infinite amount of the movie 'Wolverine', so it is infinite." and instead think of how many times you can watch a movie you've never seen before. Eventually (hypothetically speaking) you will run out, and thus, new movies are a scarce good. I follow him that far. Where I lose him is when he then says that this will lead to no one making any new movies-- that's a bit of a stretch. If it required a huge return from DVD sales to make a movie, then no one would ever make their first movie.

    There is a future for new movies, I'm sure of it. The way they are funded may change and the days of the so-called "200 Million Dollar Movie" are undoubtedly numbered.

    The bottom line: Piracy only hurts those with no talent, no creativity, or no ambition.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That new Twilight movie was only made for $50 million and has already, two weeks in, seen a worldwide take of $500 million.

    Why didn't it cost $200 - $300 million to make? If it did, would it have pulled in ten times that amount in two weeks?

    "The bottom line: Piracy only hurts those with no talent, no creativity, or no ambition."

    And the middlepeople. Those poor, useless middlepeople.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No doubt. The amount of time I spend watching videos, for free, on the youtube blows my mind.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    My Kids love to find imaginative ways to destroy DVDs

    Movies companies could do me a favor and include a means on each movie to allow me to make back-up copies. Digital sign each copy I make I do not really care as I have zero plans to sell them or distribute them. I would love to just be able have them include a copy that I can just store on my computer and use the Windows Media Range Extender (xbox) to view it on the TV (NO DVDs required).
    This would save me making or acquiring a back up of the DVD I own.

     

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  21.  
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    m3mnoch (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    so quit.

    personally, i'm of the opinion that if you don't want to make a sequel, then don't. if you don't want to "lose" money on films, stop making films. lots of businesses lose money. success is hard and certainly not guaranteed or "owed" to you.

    no offense, but stop whining and just go away.

    i mean, here're the benefits!:

    1) for every whiner that just shuts up, there are 3 innovative folks who take his (or her) place -- so we still keep getting more content produced. (insert one of mike's "the industry is growing" studies here...)

    2) this gives whiners a chance to find a different job where piracy simply isn't a factor so they can be happy again.

    3) and, most of all, we don't have to listen to them whine anymore!

    it's win-win-win!

    m3mnoch.

     

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  22.  
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    Matt (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    Re:

    Content is scarce. Copies of "Bad Boys 2" (or, apparently, "Zombieland") are not scarce. But there is a limited number of different content options.

    Unlike air or water, content options are not interchangeable. I can drink a glass of water and be satisfied. I can drink a different glass of water and be just as satisfied. Movies don't work that way - I can watch "Bottle Shock" and be satisfied, but watching "Ishtar" is unlikely to do the same thing.

    It is an over-simplification to say that there is no content scarcity. In the past, content creators were able to monetize that scarcity by commoditizing copies of the scarce content. That won't work anymore. The reason it won't work is because that is not a sale of content, but a sale of distribution. And distribution is now free (or close enough, and in any event not in the control of the studios). So good companies will find a new way to make money from the _content_, rather than the distribution, or they will eventually die.

    Incidentally, "Lotssss of T-shirts" is only one way to do that, and may not be the most effective way.

     

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  23.  
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    cc, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    This is old, but I just stumbled on it and think it is very much worth reading:
    http://www.themovieblog.com/2007/10/economics-of-the-movie-theater-where-the-money-goes-an d-why-it-costs-us-so-much

    Around 75% of ticket sales goes to the movie studios, apparently. That's why we have to watch ads and buy expensive popcorn (I always wondered)! The article blames the movie studios for letting their costs get out of control and milking the cinemas and their customers to make up for that. They blame piracy for all their troubles, but it's the system's fault.

     

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  24.  
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    drew, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    back-up copy

    With most movies costing under $20 at Wallymart I don't really have a problem with having to buy a replacement copy 3-5 years down the road if the first one gets destroyed or made unplayable.

     

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  25.  
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    TheStupidOne, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    The Better Experience

    I'm just jumping on the bandwagon here:

    Movies are best enjoyed in the theater with a screen/projector/speaker system that likely costs more than I make in a year. A distant second to that is a home theater with blu-ray. Then comes DVD, then on demand TV without commercial breaks, then digital downloads, then regular TV with commercial breaks.

    Convenience however runs in this order: On Demand TV, Digital Download, DVD, blu-ray (only higher than DVD because of price), theater, TV w/ ads. (NOTE: I think watching movies on broadcast TV with ads is a waste of my time)

    I don't think movie piracy has any chance of impacting the top 2 options on that list. I would much much much rather watch a movie in the theater than on my computer. The picture quality of any movie that has been compressed to under 1GB will be crap and the audio not much better. And I can't imagine I'll ever start downloading 25 - 50 GB HD movies over my internet connection to replicate the blu-ray experience. Now I can imagine downloading DVD image files, but even then it is a little unreasonable, so DVD sales might be impacted but not too much. On demand TV shouldn't be touched because it is more convenient than pirating the movie (at least for just one viewing) so long as it isn't prohibitively expensive. Finally ad supported TV won't be touched because that only exists so that people who wouldn't ever watch it otherwise might stumble on it and decide to watch since it is free to them.

    That just leaves digital downloads as the medium that piracy will impact. My advise, make the legal download a better experience through lots of extras, multiple encoding options (from ipod quality to full HD), and make your paying customers as happy as possible so they'll come back many many times.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: back-up copy

    I do.

     

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  27.  
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    Barry, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Going to the movies has become an absolutely unbearable experience. It appears that in my old age I've either grown too soft a skin for becoming quickly annoyed or other movie goers have gotten worse since my teenage years. My suspicion is that it's a little of both. I find myself going to movies less as a result of the experience and would definitely prefer to watch a film at home where I'm not bombarded with ringing cell phones and constant chatter. I would argue that the home theater experience does rival that which can be delivered by a standard cinema in terms of sound and audio. The last movie I went to see was Paranormal Activity and while the movie was mostly forgettable, I vividly remember the 4 or 5 year kid that did not stop talking throughout the entire film. I even remember his name, Alfonso. I remember this because I overheard it while his mom or parental figure was on her phone telling Alfonso to be quiet... really loudly.

    I feel like a solution to this problem would be to set up a cinema like http://www.farrellis.com/ but if it's a new film, I'm still going to want to watch it in peace and quiet. The "dinner and a movie" theaters that are becoming more popular seem like they would be a nice fit for older movies or something that would be in second or third run.

    In my opinion the piracy issue is a result of studio business models and not a danger to it. I'll download movies that I would not bother to go see in the theater because they're simply not worth it. Renting the DVD is an option but in the case of decent movies you could wait 4 months for a DVD to become available while the DVDRip is available in some cases as soon as the film is released. It's the artificial scarcity that theaters create with their release windows that fuels my desire to download movies. Nothing it worse than paying $20 to go see a movie that sucks. I'll download the movie to preview it and if it's worth buying, I'll buy it. The problem is that studios argue this behavior as lost viewings when I would never have payed to even rent something like "G.I. Joe" and only downloaded it to see how bad it actually was... It was that bad.

    I would like to see studios embracing a distribution method that 50 or 60 years ago would have made filmmakers drool. It's the same with musicians who have a problem with file sharing. If you could bring the internet back in time any artist would have a field day with the ability to distribute their art (music, text, film etc. ) instantaneously and essentially without cost. The money could come from any number of sources including advertising and merchandising for films, public performance for music, and maybe the studios using their hive mind to come up with something new. Just off the top of my head, a studio could release a filmmaker's entire feature work for free over the internet and set up a subscription for extra content and fan interaction with cast and crew. While many people would just watch the movie and be content, there would be a core group that would be interested in accessing the extra content on-line. Depending on how much the filmmaker is willing to offer and how good the film is (which I would imagine would be closely related to the quality of the work) revenue could be similar to a standard theatrical release. If, on the other hand, no one is interested then perhaps the filmmaker should pursue another field resulting in a lot less crappy filmmakers and thus a lot less crappy films. Too long has Hollywood been content with producing over-the-top marketed drivel and leaving movie goers pissed off and out of 10 bucks but they keep showing up to the next big release so I don't think a change is in sight. Setting up a quality marketing scheme on the internet would drive traffic there before and after the films official release. I know a lot of this is in place already but I feel like the experience offered with online movie promotion is trite and anything offered on a website as far as extra content is usually deleted scenes and mostly pretty boring. I do recall Watchmen doing this with what some would call limited success. The studio really had some balls (blue balls?) to put out an R-rated film with full frontal and I guess that may have hurt their bottom line, but the additional content offered with DVD made it worth purchasing. There were about 3 hours off interviews as well as an additional story arc with the release of the Black Freighter directly to DVD and very shortly after the movie's release. While it wasn't the ideal scenario, I think it's step in the right direction. Would it be absurd to have released the film online for free while it was simultaneously released in theaters and on DVD and then sell additional content? Probably, but maybe in a few years.

    Anyway, that's just one idea if the studios want anymore they'll have to put me on the payroll. See how that works?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re:

    The content itself is not scarce. I can make an infinite number of different movies. Since I lack creativity they will most likely all suck, but that doesn't stop me from creating as many movies as I want. The content itself is infinite.

    What is scarce is the talent and more importantly time of good filmmakers. I can create movies but there is little value in my movies because they would be awful. When we go to see a movie we are paying for the time and talent of the filmmaker, actors, and everyone else.

     

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    imbrucy (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Last comment is by me. Techdirt signed me out

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

    Re: The Better Experience

    And I can't imagine I'll ever start downloading 25 - 50 GB HD movies over my internet connection to replicate the blu-ray experience.

    A few years ago, you couldn't imagine downloading 500 - 700 MB over your internet connection. A few years before that, you couldn't imagine downloading 50 - 75 MB over your internet connection. A few years before that, you couldn't imagine downloading 10 - 15 MB over your internet connection.

    Don't get me started on hard drive capacity over the last few years.

    They see the trends clearly, it's their response that is incorrect.

     

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    PRMan, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re:

    "I can drink a glass of water and be satisfied. I can drink a different glass of water and be just as satisfied."

    I can drink Aquafina or Dasani and not be satisfied...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    They make things more lively, but in the end, they ain't gonna pay for anything.

    So, what have you lost by them downloading your film then?

     

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    The Mighty Buzzard, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    They make things more lively, but in the end, they ain't gonna pay for anything.

    So, what have you lost by them downloading your film then?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Where I lose him is when he then says that this will lead to no one making any new movies-- that's a bit of a stretch. If it required a huge return from DVD sales to make a movie, then no one would ever make their first movie.

    You have to think past the end of your nose to catch this one, it's a little complicated.

    Right now, movie piracy might hurt by, (random number) 20%. It's up from how much it hurt 5 years ago, and likely will get worse rather than better if nothing changes. If you can download the movie online for free in an hour, why would you go to the store to buy the DVD?

    So what happens? DVD sales get hurt the most first.

    Now, because it's easy to download online, and because (a few years from now) everyone has a box attached to their home theater that lets them play Xvid rips, suddenly the PPV market is also in trouble. So DVD sales are down and dying, and PPV is getting hurt.

    Now, the studio is left to make the money mostly on the theatrical release. But you know there is always a copy of the movie around online, and with the speed and distribution, fewer people pay $10 for the "experience" and instead watch the movie at home for free.

    So all the income sources for a movie are being pecked away by piracy. At some point, there isn't as much money in the budget to make the movie, because the risk factors are there. Every Twilight pays for the next Waterworld, it's sort of how it works. So over time, the special effects are taken out of the movies (to save money) the stars get paid less or are replaced by lesser performers, the high end producers are kicked to the curb and replaced by recent film school grads... whatever has to be done to save money to make the bottom line work - and the result are movies nobody will pay $10 to see.

    Death spiral. Don't like Mike fool you on this, he hasn't shown in any way how the death of large scale popular commercial works (movies or music) will be replaced in quality by anyone. His entire take is one big movie is replaced by 100 home made videos, or something along those lines. If the money is removed from the system, the system fails.

    Widely popular movies, commercially successful movies are expensive to make, they are also scarce (maybe 40 or 50 a year worth a mention). No matter the distribution, the original good is still very scarce, and without money, it is non-existant.

     

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  35.  
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    Weary of it all, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    I wish people would just man up and be cool with the fact that file-sharing of the sort we're talking about here (i.e. major hollywood film, not licensed as any kind of creative commons type deal, but a "you watch, you pay" work) is stealing, pure and simple.

    I steal all the time, and I'm mostly cool with that and/or understand why people do completely. The only difference between me and a lot of posters here is that I'm not pretending it's not stealing.

    Give the director a break - it's in fairly poor taste that the article is using almost a mocking tone to this creator defending his property which he only ever intended to receive money for. He wasn't making art, he was making a movie... a big dollar movie... and was only ever doing it for the money, not to share it with all you people who feels he (it, they, the world) owes it to you for free. He doesn't want you to share/steal/distribute it. That's what he signed all those contracts with the big companies to have them do. He wants the cash, and you know what - good on him. I want cash too. Lots of cash. And if I could, I'd definitely sign with a big-ass movie company and get them to rake in millions of bucks for me in ticket sales. It's never gonna happen, but I can still understand why someone would want to take that path - the path to creating a big pile of money in the bank.

    He owes us nothing. If we watch his film at the cinema, we owe him a few bucks. If we steal his film, we still owe him a few bucks, and when we don't pay up, he complains, cause he's got no way of sending someone around to our house with a baseball bat to make us pay up. What is so surprising/upsetting about that anyway?

    Stop calling it sharing, even if you've paid to see it in the cinemas (because even you paid-to-see-it guys are stealing if you're using P2P and distributing your packets to those who haven't).

    Get over it. There is no "free". Entertainment is cheap.

    And if you're going to download illegally i.e. in a way which breaks the explicit license under which a film or work is released under, then please, stop calling it "sharing"...


    Why can't we all just be proud of our 'pirate' labels and stop pretending we're downtrodden free-folk just trying to make our way in the world?

    What has happened to the internet? In the good ol' days people were proud of being a bit underground, a bit gangsta, and were happy to call a spade a spade when it came to their theivery. But you dudes cover it in all this psuedo-socialist dribble and twist it all around so that somehow they (it, them, the world) owes you this free stuff, all day, every day. Be proud of your thefts. Be proud of lurking in the anonymous shadows - I'm not even being sarcastic here. There'll come a time one of these days when the shadows won't exist and you'll be able to look back and tell your kids that you, even you, used to be a criminal on the internet once...


    People defending file-sharing of commercial-only licensed material as anything other than 'stealing' are total chumps. Just call it stealing guys - there is no shame in that, only consequences if you get caught....


    Chumps.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    TDR, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 3:20pm

    Except, Weary, that US law clearly disagrees with you. According to said law, infringement (copying) is NOT theft. Get it through your head.

    And to Hollywood and the other content dinosaurs that refuse to adapt, I leave you these words spoken in one of your biggest movie blockbusters. Apologies if it's a little off, as I'm going from memory here.

    "I know you're out there. I can feel you now. You're afraid. You're afraid of change. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. A world without you. A world without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

    Hollywood and their cohorts would be wise to heed Neo's words.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Unlike air or water, content options are not interchangeable. I can drink a glass of water and be satisfied. I can drink a different glass of water and be just as satisfied. Movies don't work that way

    They work exactly that way, as long as you see that a particular glass of water is analogous to a particular copy of a movie. You can watch one copy of Bottle Shock, whatever that is, and be just as happy as you would with a different but identical copy. Ishtar, however, is a different movie so you may not like it. Similarly, a glass of water may not satisfy you in the same way as your favorite beverage, even though they're both drinks.

    It's the copies of content that are infinite (not scarce). That does not mean either that there are an infinite number of *different* movies (books, songs, etc), or that *creation* of content is not a scarce good/service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re:

    I wish people would just man up and be cool with the fact that file-sharing of the sort we're talking about here... is stealing, pure and simple.

    Since when does "man up" mean "use words incorrectly"?

    People defending file-sharing of commercial-only licensed material as anything other than 'stealing' are total chumps.

    What about people defending common sense and the English language?

    Just call it stealing guys - there is no shame in that.

    I would be a little ashamed. Don't get me wrong, I don't "pirate" (or whatever you want to call it). I would just be ashamed to use intentionally misleading language like that. I'm not saying you're doing that. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you don't know you're wrong. :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 4:17pm

    Re:

    Nice!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If you can download the movie online for free in an hour, why would you go to the store to buy the DVD?"

    Perhaps you should be asking the industry why they are still selling overpriced plastic discs that force (or attempt to force) you to sit through or skip through 7 trailers and 5 different warnings assuming that you are an evil criminal while (with some nice exceptions) providing limited additional interesting content (hint: this does not mean 4 deleted scenes and an outtake reel).

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    On no! That one industry will die! We have to do something! What can we do? I've got it!

    We'll keep selling shiny plastic discs. In the 21st century. With the internet growing at an exponential rate. We could bribe, sorry, lobby the political class.

    Problem solved!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re:

    "I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." - MPAA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    cc, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    "Why can't we all just be proud of our 'pirate' labels and stop pretending we're downtrodden free-folk just trying to make our way in the world?"

    Mr Weary, you are a fool. You seem to be downloading illegal stuff just for the rush of it, and to tell your buddies how "cool" you are. You deserve to get caught.

    Not all of us here are pirates, mind you. I would say most "regulars" are more interested in piracy as a social phenomenon, as well as its legal and business aspects rather than in the act itself.

    "What has happened to the internet?"
    People like you came along; people like Mandelson came along. Big party, fireworks.

    "If we watch his film at the cinema, we owe him a few bucks."
    We pay up front with the hope we'll be "entertained"? What if we watch his film and think it was crap? Does he owe us something for our wasted time? We shouldn't owe him anything unless we believe he deserves it.

    "Entertainment is cheap."
    No, it's not. The prices are ridiculous, in fact. Piracy is the average consumer's response to exploitation. The industry needs to change to accommodate the consumer, not the other way round.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re:

    The only "chumps" are people that failed their course in dictionary reading.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm still waiting for Hollywood to announce a trillion dollar movie.

    It could easily make back ten times that amount in DVD sales. Unless the pirates steal them all.

    Damn you pirates! You've ruined Hollywood's ability to give me my trillion dollar movie!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

    Re:

    I don't know? I think it's easier for the industry to bribe, sorry, lobby the political class than it is for them to change.

    ACTA will solve everybody's problems. That's why it's a secret!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    JackSombra (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "That's exactly what I was going to say. People go to movies in the theater for the experience"
    After a recent trip to the cinema while holidaying in Bangkok decided never going to the cinema in the west again...at least until they make the "experience" equivalent to what I experienced there

    Bangkok: Free standing leather 'Lazy boy' recliner chairs sectioned into stalls for privacy (2 chairs per stall), pillow, blanket, seat side service for drink/food, sound at the proper 'comfortable' level, pay slightly more for the tickets than you would in the west (taking into account cost of living differences) but drinks/snacks are appropriately priced for what they are so it all balances out

    In comparison 'cinema experience' in the west is torture that they should be paying us to go though

    UK cinema: cramped chairs, probably not to clean, sometimes downright hard seating, no decent elbow room, sound at levels to induce headache, especially if watching action movies. Totally rip off prices on things like drinks/ snacks (experienced all this in many trips to cinema in the US as well)

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Re:

    So if I bought a BMW, deconstructed it, rebuilt it, and then used my newfound knowledge to build an identical copy (hey, I'm a car enthusiast), you're saying that I stole a car?

    So I could be charged with grand theft?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No. You should be charged with . . .

    MURDER!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 8:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nice sarcasm, but you forgot the point: if the plastic disc market, which is often half the income on a movie, goes away, well, so does half the return on making the movie.

    It isn't the shiny plastic disc market going away that is important, it is the money disappearing out of the market entirely (and going to something else). Then you can't afford to make blockbusters, and we are all stuck watching Woody Allen movies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 9:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or maybe they could start selling an .avi in the same way that the recording industry started selling an .mp3?

    Without useless DRM.

    I think it would be fantastic if all the Hollywood blockbusters were replaced by Woody Allen-like movies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, but the buying public would never purchase an .avi file for $14.99, so that's a dumb idea.

    Nope, I'm sorry, but the shiny plastic disc market is here to stay. I can hardly wait for ACTA to arrive!

    Hollywood will finally be saved from the thieving public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 10:10pm

    Re: Re:

    ya, and?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Filmmakers make movies. They sell movies."

    Wrong. Filmmakers make movies. Marketers sell movies. Very few filmmakers have any direct control over how their movies are sold, and the people who rarely recognise what the consumer actually wants. Hence the complaints above.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 2:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "the buying public would never purchase an .avi file for $14.99"

    Then offer it for less. If studios are struggling to sell downloaded movies at the same price as a DVD, that's because a download isn't worth as much. The download has no extra features, no alternate soundtracks, no physical case, no resale value and may not even play on all devices due to DRM.

    If they're struggling, they need to lower the price to a reasonable level. I know for a fact that I refuse to buy movies through iTunes because their prices are often 2-3 times or more than the DVD (usually less than half price after 6 months). A reasonable price would encourage me to buy, and maybe encourage impulse purchases I would never make in a store.

    ...and again, stopping people from "pirating" movies will not automatically make them buy DVDs. Many people do neither, and their ranks will only grow if Hollywood keeps making the wrong moves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 2:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "if the plastic disc market, which is often half the income on a movie, goes away, well, so does half the return on making the movie"

    ...so you're saying that if Hollywood passed on the savings they'd make by not having to produce a physical item, that would never encourage customers to buy more items? Nobody would ever buy 2 movies instead of 1 if they were half price? No impulse buys would ever be made if the price was lowered to a consumer-friendly point? No money that currently goes to the significantly cheaper second-hand market would ever get spent on first party products instead?

    What a strange viewpoint, and one that makes it clear why you don't get these arguments - reality seems beyond you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have to think past the end of your nose to catch this one, it's a little complicated.

    and you have to think past the end of yours, because it's not very complicated.

    i have money. you want my money. you have to sell me something that i want to buy before i give you that money.

    you have a product that i can already get for free, in any format i like, stripped of ads, trailers, warnings, and other nonsense and play it on my schedule.

    i don't want to buy discs. i don't want to go to the theater unless i am out with friends or the kids. i don't want to sit thru ads or trailers. i don't want to wait for a showing or availability in a video store. i don't want to jump through hoops to get a show on my portable player.

    this is the reality of the market.

    so by all means ignore the reality and maintain the status quo. please keep making over priced crap that isn't worth the price of admission. the sooner you go out of business the sooner your replacements can start delivering the only thing i am willing to pay for: convenience.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Dec 1st, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Re:

    So they don't want fans as much as they want paid heads in the door.

    and that's why you are all going to go out of business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The only "chumps" are people that failed their course in dictionary reading.


    "STEAL may apply to any surreptitious taking of something and DIFFERS FROM THE OTHER TERMS BY COMMONLY APPLYING TO INTANGIBLES as well as material things".

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/steal

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    More juvenile rationalizations...

    We pay up front with the hope we'll be "entertained"? What if we watch his film and think it was crap?


    You buy products or services ALL THE TIME that don't live up to your expectations and very few of them are returnable for reimbursement once bought, eaten, opened, or used.

    Often the only recourse is to avoid that person or companies product or services in the future.

    In the case of movies, there has never been more information about new releases than there is today. If you end up feeling ripped off it's because you didn't do your due diligence in selecting it.

    We shouldn't owe him anything unless we believe he deserves it.


    So charity, basically?

    What do you do for a living, I wonder? What if all of your customers took your line of reasoning and decided to pay you based on what they perceived you "deserved" (after having already received your product or service in full) rather than the prices you or your employers set themselves?

    Somehow I think your tune would change in a heartbeat and you would be revealed for the hypocrite you, no doubt, truly are.

    It's not your place to dictate how a person or company sells their products or services. Nor is it your place to tell them what price to sell it for.

    And if you don't like what they sell, how they sell it, or what price they sell it for, that does not ethically entitle you to illegally take what isn't yours, against their will, while providing nothing in return.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 2:41pm

    Re: More juvenile rationalizations...

    And if the public domain was growing at an exponential rate I might agree with you but it isn't so good luck.

    As an artist who loves the public domain and hates those who have attempted to control the public's access to it then I really have no problem siding with the "stealers" and the "thieves" because at the end of the day, at least they enjoy artistic human expression.

    Unlike the control freaks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    Re: More juvenile rationalizations...

    "What do you do for a living, I wonder? What if all of your customers took your line of reasoning and decided to pay you based on what they perceived you "deserved" (after having already received your product or service in full) rather than the prices you or your employers set themselves?"

    Uh, this is exactly how the market is supposed to work. What you are describing here is capitalism. The employer sets the wage that he wants to pay me, and I either agree to it or go look for another job. If no one wants the job for the wage he offers, then he either settles for no one, or he increases the wages. Likewise, if I'm looking for a specific price for my work, I search for an employer that is willing to pay it. If I can't find one, then I set my expectations lower.

    Same with the price of goods. If I set the price of my goods higher than what most people are willing to pay, my sales will suffer. If I adjust the prices lower, then I will increase my sales. If I'm selling much lower than what people are willing to pay, then that means I can increase prices to match, and thus increase my profits.


    And if you want to discuss the legality of copyright, by all means, go ahead. I will use the same argument that I've used many times over and over again: if the law does not match the morals of the majority of the population, that law is unenforceable. If 60% of the population breaks copyright laws, knowingly and unknowingly, then there is no way that the legal system can enforce those laws.

    Stomp your feet about the unfairness of people breaking copyright law all you want, but when you start sacrificing human rights to protect some business cash flows, then the law should go away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: More juvenile rationalizations...

    Copyright infringement is the same as jaywalking. I've been doing both my entire life and have never been arrested for either. Not because I'm some criminal mastermind but because the local law is more interested in the murderers, rapists and actual thieves in our society.

    Go figure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re: More juvenile rationalizations...

    Uh, this is exactly how the market is supposed to work.


    No, piracy is not how "the market is supposed to work". That's absurd. Piracy is the opposite of commerce in every way.

    Same with the price of goods. If I set the price of my goods higher than what most people are willing to pay, my sales will suffer.


    That isn't the same thing at all which you, of course, damn well know. The goods you speak of aren't taken illegally and the takers don't then decide how much (or even if) to reimburse you post-consumption. Because that would be a ridiculous, backwards process. Your example isn't even remotely equivalent. Nor does your own place of employment operate this way. If you price your goods "too high" your customers don't just come and appropriate them against your will without paying, giving you their ridiculous rationalizations all the while...they go without. Or they buy other goods from another company. They don't take what isn't there's. They don't use the value of your work and provide nothing in return.

    THEY GO WITHOUT.

    Big, glaring, difference you conveniently glossed over with your irrelevant drivel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: More juvenile rationalizations...

    Speaking of irrelevant drivel . . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2009 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: More juvenile rationalizations...

    Indeed, your post adds nothing, is a waste of space and constitutes "drivel".

    Which begs the question why you bothered to post it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2009 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More juvenile rationalizations...

    I like drivel!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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