Indian Film Industry To Punish Pirates Paying Customers With 3-Month Film Release Boycott

from the baby,-bathwater dept

As we’ve noted countless times, diminishing the impact of piracy isn’t exactly rocket science. Give consumers what they want at a reasonable price, and more often than not you’ll be able to minimize piracy’s impact on your business model. But as we’ve seen just as often, that logic is a bridge too far for many entertainment industry executives, who’ve relentlessly instituted all manner of more “creative” solutions to try and retain legacy power in shifting markets. Why give consumers what they want when you can insult, cajole, sue and otherwise harass your paying customers, then blame everything but your own rigid thinking?

The latest ingenious solution comes courtesy of India’s Tamil Film Producer’s Council (TFPC), which is considering a plan to stop releasing movies entirely in the misguided belief that this is going to somehow stop people from pirating. Apparently, the logic goes, if you stop releasing films for three months, the lack of things to pirate (ignoring a century of previous content, of course) will magically stop piracy forever! Ingenious!:

“Piracy will automatically stop when there’s no content. When we stop film releases, say for three months, the movie pirates will go out of business. We are looking into this option because film producers have suffered heavily in the last 24 months,” (said) Kalaipuli S Thanu, TFPC president.”

One, there’s just a blistering amount of hubris involved in believing that you can turn an entire culture’s art creation on and off like some kind of spigot. Like they were scolding a kitten, you’ll recall the RIAA often used to state that if people didn’t stop pirating content, creators would just stop making music — as if the business side of the equation could simply wipe all art creation from the face of the earth. That some still think they can unilaterally stop art creation as a “punishment” for piracy perfectly exemplifies the distorted thinking responsible for the global entertainment industry’s ongoing struggles.

Two, the report notes that just a three-month ban on film production would impact the release of some 36 Indian films, which would then be harmed by the fact that they’d be shoveled in a more crowded release window. In addition to harming content creators, TFPC can’t apparently understand that stopping the release of all films hurts its paying customers. Local filmmaker “Cheran” has a different suggested course of action, involving crazy concepts like modifying release windows and (gasp) lowering prices:

“If original DVD of a new film is available for Rs.50, why would anyone think of buying a pirated copy?” (asked Indian Filmmaker Cheran. “We all know the quality of pirated prints. I’ve sold nearly Rs.10 lakh (or around $16,800) DVDs of my film in the first two days,” he said.”I don’t mind if one person buys and shows it to his entire family. As long as people don’t watch pirated version of any film, I’m happy to release my films on DVD. Most households today have access to digital TV, so new films can be released via direct-to-home medium as well,” he added.”

Hopefully somebody at the TFPC hears Cheran’s outlandish suggestions above the din of indignant entitlement.

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Companies: tamil film producer's council, tfpc

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Comments on “Indian Film Industry To Punish Pirates Paying Customers With 3-Month Film Release Boycott”

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41 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

If they can somehow pull up a full, international stop they MAY hurt physical piracy a tiny little bit (which is a real problem and actually causes losses). And I’m not even mentioning the wealth of past titles that are already available. I could watch 1 movie every single day and I’d still be very far from depleting the pool of available movies by the time I turn 200. And, of course, I’m not mentioning online piracy that often does not make any money at all so they’d just pause on new releases and resume afterwards.

No really, in what world do these morons live?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

No really, in what world do these morons live?

Apparently ours.

They are so adamant about maintaining their government granted monopoly privilege to prop up their obsolete business model that they are willing to forego making any money at all – the only logical outcome of not releasing any films – in some vain belief that they can actually stop piracy.

It takes a special breed of stupid to believe boycotting releasing your own films will still make you money and stop piracy.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Do it

In fact, three months seems short, I’m sure there are some really tenacious pirates who would be able to weather that, they should extend that to six months, or even a year, just to make sure. Refuse to release new movies for that long, and I’m sure they’d manage to kill of piracy entirely in India, and if not, why they can just extend the ban for another year, and hope it works that time.

Really, this makes the Netflix/theaters spat almost look smart in comparison, but hey, if they want to be so monumentally stupid, I really hope they follow through, even if I’m sure they’d blame their sudden massive drop in profits on the pirates(somehow), rather than their own idiocy.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Do it

In fact, three months seems short, I’m sure there are some really tenacious pirates who would be able to weather that,

It is WAY dumber than that.

Most “piracy” isn’t commercial. They are trying to drive pirates “out of business” when it isn’t the pirates business. The majority of piracy is simply people sharing something they like with other people. Entirely stopping the flow of content is, at most, going to pause the behavior until there is more content to share – not that people are actually going to run out of great content that they like and want to share, they are just going to have to go look for original versions of things rather than the “reboot” version we would expect to get now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ignorance

And that’s the line that blew me away. The ability of many people to acquire the same materials as bootleggers has already destroyed that business. They’re fighting a near dead opponent. It’s an easy win, since you can see that bootlegging is down from some pre-internet piracy point, although internet piracy won’t be affected in the least.

Yeah, you can claim no one stole your movies, but you also can’t claim anyone saw them either. They have to ask themselves, what’s really important.

coward (anon) says:

Re: Ignorance

Actually, in India, this is how it works. The piracy that they are complaining about is the physical kind. Bootleg DVDs made from recording theater showings being sold on street corners. In the US that’s mostly died off due to the poor quality vs perfect downloadable copies made by studio insiders.

But think of the possibilities of this approach applied to different businesses. The auto insurance industry could make a killing if we just closed all of the roads for 3 months. Or the healthcare industry if we closed all of the hospitals.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Ignorance

was that some sort of stealth adlet ? ? ?

speculated to SWMBO the other night, that ads were going to start being location-specific, in that -say- ad is of a couple in front of starsux coffee; depending on where you are, the local starsux coffees shop will be projected as the background to the commercial…

shit, i should have patented that, and let NO ONE have it…
so, here’s your prior art, right here…
hee hee hee

Anonymous Coward says:

One step further is absolutely necessary

I’m pretty sure they need to ban cameras of all types too, (incl on phones) to ensure that those unhappy folks left sitting at home with nothing to watch don’t take it into their law-breaking heads to start making their own films and sending them over the internet (CRIMINALS!) to friends and family. That might even start a trend, they could call it MyTube or something (wait, isn’t there something like that already? I forget..)

Anonymous Coward says:

any chance of making it longer? perhaps then these people in these industries will realise that it’s them that need us, not us need them! then add in that if these industries were really interested in their customers, they would listen to and enact on what the customers keep saying! all this little exercise is going to do is drum up through a series of lies and mal comments whatever they can to make out that they had to do this because they have been losing money due to piracy. if they were to tell the truth and admit that it’s downloaders who make the industry the success it is now, not the cinemas or disks, the people who get the mediafrom the ‘net!

Anonymous Coward says:

any chance of making it longer? perhaps then these people in these industries will realise that it’s them that need us, not us need them! then add in that if these industries were really interested in their customers, they would listen to and enact on what the customers keep saying! all this little exercise is going to do is drum up through a series of lies and mal comments whatever they can to make out that they had to do this because they have been losing money due to piracy. if they were to tell the truth and admit that it’s downloaders who make the industry the success it is now, not the cinemas or disks, the people who get the media from the ‘net!

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Ignorance

“This shows the reason the “average” IQ is only 100, and maybe decreasing.”

dons pedant hat

The average IQ is always 100, since an IQ of 100 is defined as the average. Even if the average intelligence changes over time, it is always called 100. This is one of the many misleading things about IQ scores: you can’t easily compare them across time.

Anonymous Coward says:

What if...

How about a little thought experiment? What would happen if, somehow, every movie studio in the whole planet stopped at the same time and didn’t release a new movie for a whole year, or even more?

I believe the result would be: initially, people would rewatch old movies. Lots and lots of old movies. Forgotten movies from decades ago would become fresh again.

As the dry spell goes longer, amateurs would start making their own movies. There is precedent for that; see for instance the Blender Foundation shorts. The longer the dry spell continues, the longer and higher quality the amateur movies become.

If this goes for long enough, the former amateurs are now producing movies as good as the old studios. Even if the studios come back to life, they now face new competitors.

And it’s interesting to note that, in a more limited way, this scenario has already been unfolding elsewhere. Take the “cord-cutters”, for instance; once they fill their free time with alternatives like playing games or even reading books, going back to cable TV becomes less attractive.

jcar2 says:

Like a clumsy cat

I think these people know their business model is outdated and that they’ll soon be out of business. Their response of not releasing any new films for a few months reminds me of my old cat.

That cat would sometimes do dorky, stupid acrobatic things, and would often crash and burn … like sliding across the kitchen floor so fast she ran into the wall. But she always immediately sat up, and calmly licked her paws and washed her face before slowly strolling away, pretending that she had actually intended to do that undignified wall-thumping slide.

The India movie industry is merely pretending that they have CHOSEN to go out of business. Rather than admit that their business model is outdated and ridiculous, they pretend that they meant to be ridiculous.

Anonymous Coward says:

And? Not releasing movies will stop piracy… of those movies, for at least as long as you’re holding it back (disregarding insider leaks as Hollywood ones often do). Will it stop piracy as a whole? Hell no, pirates will just look for older stuff and other things that they haven’t yet seen, or watch/replay things they already have.

You can put a cork in this bottle, but that’s not going to stop the other genies that have already long since floated out of theirs.

Steve says:

Do It Now!

Please, we need to make this boycott happen. Imagine a world where all the big players have gone out of business after their boycott as all of their previous customers/pirates realise that there is plenty of free awesome content out there that requires no payment or piracy, rendering their businesses obsolete.
Shut up! I can dream!

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