Yes Men Release Movie Via BitTorrent To Avoid Legal Hassles

from the getting-it-out-there-is-most-important dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about the ridiculous hoops that filmmakers need to go through these days just to get "E&O" or "errors and omissions" insurance. Basically, the lawyers want to make sure that anyone displaying the movie won't get sued, so they force you to get this kind of insurance. To get E&O insurance, you basically have to go through the movie, frame by frame, and show how every single possible bit of content that might possibly lead to a lawsuit has been "cleared" by the rights holder. This includes some ridiculous things like, if your movie shows someone walking down the street, that the businesses seen behind them have signed a legal "ok." It's pretty ridiculous, and many indie filmmakers just don't bother -- making it more difficult (if not impossible) to get their films into traditional distribution channels.

Of course, these days, there are more ways around this -- such as releasing the film yourself online using BitTorrent or some other system. TechnoMage points out that this is the path taken by notorious pranksters, The Yes Men for their latest movie: releasing it via BitTorrent, and asking for donations. Of course The Yes Men have some advantage in that they're already pretty well known, but the legal troubles they faced in getting the movie out were interesting. There's the unique situation in that they're currently being sued by the US Chamber of Commerce for their prank fake press conference, where they pretended to be US CoC officials changing the organization's policy on global warming. The movie includes footage from that event -- and lawyers flipped out about showing such footage while the lawsuit was ongoing.

Of course, stuff like that may be unique to The Yes Men -- but other situations, involving copyright, are not. Take for example this bit of info:
"For us to get our 'errors and omissions insurance' required for any distributor to take it, we had to clear the rights on all sorts of stuff we should not really have had to... including music written in the 17th century, which apparently because of some kind of law in Austria was not public domain according to the interpretation of insurance industry lawyers!
This is a problem many face. It'll be interesting to see if more indie filmmakers jump on alternative distribution platforms not just because they're more efficient, but also because it gets them around having to deal with overbearing E&O insurance issues.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 4:42am

    What i cant listen to 1700BC music

    hollywood stated that 17th century was actually 17th century BC thus they can now say they own pretty much all music.
    THIS is a big troll walked over and beat the guy until he was gone....

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 4:55am

    It's all about the money

    "This includes some ridiculous things like, if your movie shows someone walking down the street, that the businesses seen behind them have signed a legal "ok.""

    Business has to agree to being in a movie and to hell with any little people. This points to the fact that if you have no money, you have no rights. Plain and simple. I would guess that if a movie had, by chance, a rich person in the background, said person would be asked for their ok.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 5:32am

    Here's the TORRENT

    http://vodo.net/media/torrents/The.Yes.Men.Fix.The.World.P2P.Edition.2010.Xvid-VODO.torrent

    This is the future, and may http://VoDo.net have every success - before a jealous publishing lobby convinces the corrupt state to tax the Internet to 'compensate' their cartel buddies for the loss of their 18th century monopoly they thought would last forever.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    It's pronounced Du-mas, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 6:03am

    /semi-sarc/There are a lot of rules and laws I choose to ignore as well. Way to go!/semi-arc/

    Can I copyright or patent a semi-sarcastic mark????

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    Interesting movie ....

    I really liked the Golden skeleton part and the BBC 300 million viewers prank ... to funny and way to go.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Once again control of an industry falls to the Insurance Industry rules (laws).

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Bob, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 8:03am

    Hmmm. Clever film makers versus the truth

    I enjoy the Yes Men, but at a certain point they seem to cross some line. Is it really helpful to lie about who you are and get people to appear on screen under false pretenses? That's their big problem here. They lied to people to get interviews and then they make fun of the interviewees on screen. No wonder the lawyers are worried about getting sued. No matter how much I may like the Yes Men, I've got to wonder if this is really fair or good for the system.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    Re: Hmmm. Clever film makers versus the truth

    You worry about their little lies when all they're doing is exposing the GINORMOUS lies that are in control of this country. The Yes Men are doing us all a favor (in a very entertaining way) and to sue them or fine them or jail them only makes them martyrs.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    From what I hear in the U.S. most cities require you to get a permit and to hire their cops on the scene to ensure that no city ordinances are broken. You have to pay those cops and if those cops are unionized you have to pay union dues as well? Technically speaking, even if you own your home, in many cities you need a permit to film in your home or on your own property even since it's technically city property? It's crazy.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    You mean you were being tong-in-cheek.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Julie, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Re: Bob...hmmm.

    "I enjoy the Yes Men, but at a certain point they seem to cross some line. Is it really helpful to lie about who you are and get people to appear on screen under false pretenses? That's their big problem here."

    Bob is worried about the Yes Men lying. Nice. Their lies have a very big impact on our lives I guess.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Rand0969, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Re: Here's the TORRENT

    Just downloaded and watched. Effin' brilliant! Thanks for the link.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Citation?

    Can you give an example of a municipal government that asserts rights over filming on your own property?

    If it's "city property" then it's not "your own property," by definition.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Yes Men Fix the World
    Megaupload single link
    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=JCPVFXSQ

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Jon Lawrence (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Citation?

    Actually, he's not wrong. Filming even on private property in Los Angeles is not legal if it's "for commercial purposes," and as granted under LA County Municipal Code Chapter 22.56.1925.

    While I would not say this is pervasive or widespread in total terms of areas of the US, it IS fairly common in large cities, or any towns that see a fair amount of film or television production - that yes, even on private property, you will be required to pay for a permit.

    If you are doing anything during shooting that the city or county "decides" you need a monitor on, you will have a police office or fire safety officer at your location, on your payroll (expect $400-700/day for those guys, each).

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Todd Rather, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 8:53pm

    This is exciting news. It's good to see that more and more artists and creative people are deciding to utilize the BitTorrent technology for legal purposes. There's a whole list of torrent trackers where you can download movies... http://www.newmediarights.org/business_models/artist/how_find_free_and_legal_bittorrent_sites

    That's not necessarily a definitive list, I'm sure there's a lot more. But the point is that BitTorrent is providing a new distribution outlet for filmmakers and that's great.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This