Apparently The Best Way To Decrease Movie Piracy Is To Get Rid Of The Oscars

from the correlation dept

As you may have heard, last night was the Oscars — Hollywood’s favorite back-patting celebration. However, as a recent study found, films that were nominated for Oscars saw the number of unauthorized downloads and streams surge, as people wanted to make sure they had seen these celebrated films. Films like American Sniper and Selma saw a massive increase in unauthorized downloads after being nominated. The company that did this study, Irdeto, argues that these unauthorized downloads represent a major loss for the films’ producers — but it seems like there’s another explanation: the MPAA really ought to be targeting the Oscars for encouraging infringement.

After all, for the past few years, the MPAA has been on a rampage trying to blame other third parties, like Google, which Hollywood insists is leading to greater infringement — and yet, here’s pretty obvious proof of another “cause” of piracy. Sure, one could argue (as we have, many times) that the lack of authorized, legitimate versions of these offerings may be contributing to the unauthorized downloads — but the MPAA has insisted over and over again that this isn’t fair. So, we’ll take the MPAA at its word, and assume that the real culprit is “the Oscars” itself. Clearly, it’s time to get rid of that major promoter of piracy. Just a few weeks ago, we noted that nearly all of the Oscar-nominated films were quickly finding their way online (in HD format, no less), and it’s pretty clear that there would be a lot less demand if they weren’t nominated.

Sure, one might argue, that the more popular a film is, and the more attention it gets, the more piracy will be the result — but, again, the MPAA angrily dismisses such claims, insisting that it must be other factors leading to piracy. And, from the Irdeto study, it certainly appears that one major factor is… the Oscars.

I expect that the legal geniuses at the MPAA are now huddling in a circle figuring out which Attorney General they can convince to front a legal assault on the Oscars — and this will all come out in the next batch of hacked emails….

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Comments on “Apparently The Best Way To Decrease Movie Piracy Is To Get Rid Of The Oscars”

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47 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It can never be THEIR fault for piracy, it’s always SOMEONE ELSE’S fault for piracy.
So they’ll blame everyone up and down for enabling or causing piracy from Google to Mega to Open Office to Skype to that one guy with a geocities page about his cats. But when their directors and producers and teams in house are giving away and uploading movies or telling people which movies to pirate, it can never be their fault.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

TL;DR version:

All the science fiction movies get nominated for the same visual effects category but rarely anything else.

All the movies that win best picture, director, screenplay, actor, actress, etc. are all heartwarming or heartbreaking movies about some tragic or dramatic topic like mental illness, war refugees, intense poverty, personal tragedies, etc.

And you’ve likely not seen most of the movies that go nominated before they got nominated. And you still can’t bring yourself to watch many of the ones that did win because they sound utterly depressing or boring.

Anonymous Coward says:

This has been my argument from the beginning of widespread file-sharing. What would you expect to happen when you have a group of top players in an industry that invests so much in marketing and their products are so ubiquitous in our culture that they’ve made their products so high in demand that people will do anything to see them, even when they can’t or won’t pay to do so? Copyright infringement is proof that Hollywood’s marketing teams are doing their jobs well. They made people want to see their (often disappointing) movies. If they’d just stop marketing their movies, infringement would likely go down a lot.

Anonymous Coward says:

what the MPAA and especially Dodd is interested in is maintaining a means whereby millions can be paid to them under the pretense of ‘stopping piracy’! everyone knows, including the industries themselves, that the best way to curb illegal downloading is to make legal downloading available in the same quality at many more legal sites. until that is brought into play and the industries stop this continuous bullshit and lies of ‘there are loads of legal sites now, so no excuse’ and actually make it that there are loads of sites, that the movies are available damn quick and the price is right, then piracy will drop accordingly. something the industries like to ignore is the amount of money spent in keeping the MPAA available plus the money spent on court cases. those expenses alone would be far better spent on legal sites and the encouraging of downloading sensibly. what the other way does is make the people needed to keep the industry viable, the customers, pissed at the industries, despising them rather than siding with them and putting nothing in the coffers. it wouldn’t take a massive change and would achieve so much more than at the moment! but then it’s the industries we’re talking about and they seem to be very lacking in the sense department!!

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Word of mouth might still be a problem. After you go to a movie theater to watch a movie – which you would have to select randomly, I suppose since they couldn’t show you a list of them on a billboard – as you exit, you should be dropped into a hole that prevents you from leaving until the movie you just watched is out of theaters.

I think that would generate a lot more revenue.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually, neither is true. This article is kind of a strange one for Techdirt, although I realize it’s being at least a little facetious.

Piracy is caused by a couple of things, but the two biggest are service and price (with the former substantially higher than the latter). Most people pirate because piracy is more convenient than legal services. The product you get from piracy is, in virtually all cases, superior to the product you get from a legal source, and it requires less overall effort and headache.

Once a service comes out that’s even slightly more convenient than piracy, piracy rates drop down to miniscule numbers. Music piracy hardly even exists anymore, even though internet radio is inferior to piracy’s media files and iTunes is absurdly expensive for what you’re getting.

When the Oscars come out, they highlight movies that people become interested in enough to check out, but not interested enough to pay the ridiculous costs and inconvenience associate with them. Want to see Birdman? Better expect to pay around $20 at the low end, $70-$100 if you have kids and/or want some popcorn. Want to see Interstellar? Too bad, barring some special showing you can’t for another month since it’s out of theaters but not yet available on DVD. American Sniper is still theater exclusive and Whiplash isn’t out on DVD until tomorrow. Piracy is literally the ONLY way to watch four of the biggest Oscar movies at home.

Is it so shocking that highlighting these films as “must see,” then preventing people from legally watching them at home, is going to cause a jump in piracy?

Either way, there is no legal method to buy a purely digital version of a movie at the current time. I can buy a DVD and rip it, but considering my computer doesn’t even have a DVD player (why would I use a 4 gb storage device that takes up the space of a large postcard when I could use a 128 gb storage device that fits on a keychain?), this is rather annoying and arguably not very legal, depending on the DRM I’m circumventing. I can stream it online, but if I want to watch it on my laptop on a plane, or camping, or in a car, or when my internet is down, or when their service eventually goes out of business, too bad.

How can anyone possibly be surprised at piracy when piracy is free and giving you a product that you literally cannot buy from the creator? It’s completely insane.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I detected a hint of sarcasm in the article. I think the point was that the MPAA points to all kinds of numbers about how the most popular films are the biggest targets of piracy to claim that it is a giant problem that is costing Hollywood huge amounts of money yet those figures can be viewed in another way as well to place the blame somewhere else even if that view is also flawed. I don’t think Mike was being serious in claiming that the Oscars are a cause of piracy so much as pointing out that just because you point to a bunch of figures it doesn’t necessarily validate your claim.

Anonymous Coward says:

“…lack of authorized, legitimate versions of these offerings may be contributing to the unauthorized downloads…”

If the studios were not having films shown in theaters, available on PPV, offered for sale by innumerable retail stores, etc., then what is stated may have some persuasive force. However, there are many legitimate means by which to view these films, so to lay the blame at the feet of the studios for the actions of others who are too intolerant to either pay to watch the movie right now or later when prices naturally decline is taking a cheap shot at an easy target.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t care about the Oscars. Back when I watched tv, I didn’t care, dang sure don’t care now. As far as I am concerned they could make this one the last one ever and probably get a standing ovation for it.

Since we are on reasons that create piracy, how about we end all the hype that surrounds every friggin’ movie that comes out, not to mention those encouragements found on every rental dvd that you can’t fast forward through. If no one knew about them, there would be far less chance of them being sought for a download.

dave blevins (profile) says:

While we're removing the Oscars ...

… let’s select the “weekly box office winners” by counting the number of tickets sold, not the sum of the price of all the tickets. Wonder how some of the oldies would come in.

Getting rid of the Oscars would free about 10,000 hours of TV time and think of the newsprint saved.

But removing movies and music from copyright would sure help. They got it wrong in the early 1900s when they added them. When I was a programmer early in my career, I got paid once for the program, not each time it was executed, which is what happens for movies and music.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: While we're removing the Oscars ...

“Wonder how some of the oldies would come in.”

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/adjusted.htm

There’s sources that adjust for inflation, which is a similar kind of thinking. Gone With The Wind is always #1 on that chart.

But giving award to the films that happened to have sold the most tickets rather than any merits of the content? No, bad idea, even if the current system is very flawed that would be a lot worse.

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