Movie Makers Use 'Fake' Piracy Numbers To Score Distribution Deal

from the well,-good-for-them? dept

The NY Times recently had a blog post noting that the makers of an $850,000 romantic comedy called X’s and O’s were thrilled that their movie was widely shared on file sharing networks, because the attention it got helped land them a big DVD distribution deal, and potentially a television deal, helped along by the attention received from that file sharing. Of course, there’s just one little problem. The FreakBits guys noticed that the number of downloads the movies’ creators are citing are almost certainly false. Apparently some sites post fake download numbers as a part of their advertising, and the movie makers used those fake numbers. But… it seemed to get them attention to get more deals, so more power to them. No matter what, it suggests that (once again) obscurity is a much bigger problem than piracy.

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Comments on “Movie Makers Use 'Fake' Piracy Numbers To Score Distribution Deal”

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11 Comments
The Ghost of President Scroob says:

In accounting, there’s an error called “Double Counting”.

If they could determine the number of people who pirated the video and then ultimately bought the video, it could really super-charge the industry. But only because they could then ask the non-consumer what really sucked about the movie.

However, in all reality, piracy numbers probably should be accounted for under a “Unpaid Rental” column on the books, as pirated videos lack additional content, and take forever to transfer to a blank DVD. If a “pirate” wanted to watch the same movie over and over again, don’t you think its a ton easier to just buy it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Nope. For most regular people, I think it’s really too time consuming to pirate a video.

Now, you may be in the minority. But you understand the technology better than the industry itself. You have a bright future once all the deadwood retires, dies or is forced out due to inability to meet customer needs.

They say it’s a complete copy, but in reality it isn’t. So therefore, it seems the whole argument fails.

No second languages, no extra content, no directors commentary.

A true enthusiast would want and desire this, and in reality, a pirated video is much, much closer to an unpaid PPV or rental. Thusly, a complete pirated copy is recieved by one of three types of people:

1) A recipient of a welfare person who can’t afford a trial and desires to settle. (Students or Jammie Thomas) (Perhaps 85%)
2) A recipient of someone who doesn’t really think it’s not even worth renting, and get kinda pissed, both at the movie and at the system. (Perhaps 10%)
3) Evil, evil, pirates who make copies and sell them on the backstreets of La Brea Avenue (Perhaps 5%)

Keven Sutton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“They say it’s a complete copy, but in reality it isn’t. So therefore, it seems the whole argument fails.

No second languages, no extra content, no directors commentary. “

the language can sometimes be a draw to the pirated versions of the film or series. I’m a bit of a fan of fansub animes and I find that I enjoy the fansubs (usually) a lot better than the dubbed or industry subbed versions (there are exceptions).

Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a debate about whether this is tranformative. I know I’ve noticed the difference in several animes.

CrushU says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Actually fansubs are a bit of a hot topic, when it comes to Anime… Japan companies either can’t or don’t care about fans putting English subtitles on the episodes. (I’m not sure which) However, ENGLISH companies most certainly DO care when someone takes the Japanese anime and puts English subtitles on it, when they’ve licensed it from Japan. Afaik, they’ve not been very strict in trying to enforce copyright, e.g. suing fansubbers, because they realize that they’re the biggest fans. (They don’t get paid to do this work!) To my knowledge, some fansub sites have been sent C&D’s to stop hosting the fansubbed episodes.

The only specific example I can point to is the Dattebayo fansubbing group, and their (former) flagship anime to sub: Naruto.

They stopped subbing it recently because the American license holders started putting up subbed episodes up online (for free?) in a short amount of time,

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nope. For most regular people, I think it’s really too time consuming to pirate a video.

Most “regular” people are lucky if they know how to check their email without needing a reference sheet, forget downloading movies.

They say it’s a complete copy, but in reality it isn’t. So therefore, it seems the whole argument fails.

No second languages, no extra content, no directors commentary.

How many people actually watch the extras? My friend collects tons of DVDs and hardly ever watches the extras. I don’t think he’s ever listened to a director’s commentary.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there was a DVDR copy available that included the extras.

sharing is caring says:

some movie studios used sharing data for research

I seem to remember a company called widevine where a friend worked on piracy analytics – tracking which pre-release and newly released movies were being pirated on IRC, usenet, Kazaa, and Morpheus (yes before BT was huge).

For better or worse, the sharing data on which movies were shared the most seemed to track closely with success in theaters. There was internal debate on whether the data indicated the sharing lead to ticket sales or if sharing simply indicated the quality of the movie, however, it didn’t matter. Some smaller studios actually were paying for some of that data.

While this doesn’t prove anything, it does suggest value in the data about movie sharing.

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