Werner Herzog Joins Plenty Of Other Artists In Recognizing Piracy Isn't The Problem

from the and-can-be-beneficial dept

It’s getting a bit silly to have to keep pointing this out, but contrary to the popular narrative, there are tons of artists who not only recognize that the narrative that “piracy is the problem” is false, but many who recognize that piracy actually has its advantages. And, now, apparently, we can add esteemed film director Werner Herzog to that list. In an interview, he made it clear that when other options aren’t readily available, he has no problem with people pirating his works:

?Piracy has been the most successful form of distribution worldwide,? said Herzog after being told by Ukranian producer Illia Gladshtein he was only able to find his films on illegal download sites.

Herzog continued: ?If someone like you steals my films through the internet or whatever, fine, you have my blessing?

He obviously (and perfectly reasonably) would still prefer people pay to see his films, and later in the interview talks up ways the internet has made it easier for people to buy his work, but also notes:

… if someone can?t find his work on ?Netflix or state-sponsored television, then you go and access it as a pirate.?

This is a perfectly reasonable and respectful approach. Rather than simply flipping out that there’s an alternative, unauthorized distribution system, he recognizes that it exists, admits that it’s a very simple, “most successful form of distribution,” and supports the fact that, for some fans, it’s a perfectly acceptable option, while still politely encouraging others to purchase his stuff in authorized ways when possible.

It still amazes me that more artists don’t take this particular approach. Actually treating your fans respectfully, rather than assuming they’re all criminals, usually means they’re a lot happier to support you when the option is there.

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Comments on “Werner Herzog Joins Plenty Of Other Artists In Recognizing Piracy Isn't The Problem”

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"But Anon, nobody pirates mailing lists."


I was under the impression that pirating a mailing list was more lucrative than knocking over Fort Knox, judging by the hysterical polemics of Baghdad Bob incessantly chanting about how he’d lost so very many million because pirates done stole his mailing lists…

And now you’re saying no one pirates such shining examples of overflowing pelf and lucre?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Don't visit that place

  1. art can’t be graded; it’s subjective
  2. i love how i just found out about snarky puppy on youtube…some would call this piracy, where others would see it as "free" advertising — actually it’s all about monitization and getting people to buy the music
  3. is the opposite of a hard pass: a "soft pass" or an "easy pass", and why?
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Don't visit that place

  1. it can be you retard, subjective doesn’t mean "I can’t have an opinion"
    Herzog is a hack and complete bastard like many directors for some reason, unlikable on personal level, though some of his films are godly, namely aguirre and herz aus glas. Now he puts out forgettable film after forgettable film and turned into cancer like tarr. He doesn’t have the balls to quit. Current state of capitalism, democracy and world in general is very openly hostile to beauty and art in general.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Don't visit that place

You have a lot of vitriol for an artist that you simply don’t like their work.

While you can have opinions on things, your opinion is rather insane. If you want to scream about how capitalism degrades real "art" I’d point to someone like Micheal Bay who can be arguably shown as a true hack. He constantly uses techniques in his directorial process that are technically amazing and he has an understanding at a sub conscious level in how to make a scene look good. But he also has no understanding why or when to use these techniques. You’ll get epic sweeping zoom ins, or artistic camera pans that bring attention to… nothing. Every scene of his is shot as if it’s an action scene when it isn’t. That’s true hackiness.

But he’s still an artist. And people enjoy his movies. I can’t bring myself to hate Micheal Bay like you hate Herzog even though I know at a very deep down nuts and bolts level how much of a capitalist hack he is. People like it, it’s still art, at the end of the day he is still an artist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Don't visit that place

Of course I have, he represents the "artsy" directors who have not a piece of soul and are considered auteurs eg refn/aronofsky/anderson/von trier-like piece of shits.
I can’t hate Bay because he’s considered neither auteur nor artist by anybody I know, not even by tabloid media. Herzog, for his past, is. Of course it makes me angry. Bay can be at least fun, not one Herzog’s film for at least past two decades was watchable. He should have stopped embarrasing himself long ago.
Godtard at least doesn’t shit movies every two years or so.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Don't visit that place

"Of course it makes me angry"

Some would argue that getting an emotional reaction from somebody through art is indeed the fundamental aspect of being an artist.

Some wouldn’t, of course, but we shouldn’t be letting the definition of art be in the hands of reactionary immature little men like yourself, should we?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Don't visit that place

reply to your latter post down there
If you ever went to school, you would learn to read. Now being able to read, you could read my post and notice that I too consider art to be completely subjective.

reply to this post
Pure, unintended disgust which "artists" work causes makes one artist. Right. All the people who unknowingly do formidable and disgusting "art" are artists. Now I get it. Thanks.
By your reasoning the buildings built in Style, reddit, twitter, /pol/ (reddit, twitter and /pol/ actually are true art tho, as it’s yet another work of art to assure the existence of status quo, included because you clearly seem to be new "leftist") or, hell, fortnite, is pure art because it unknowingly makes me vomit and hate the world.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Don't visit that place

"All the people who unknowingly do formidable and disgusting "art" are artists"

Yes. What you find "disgusting" might be something that another finds artistic. Therefore, your personal objections to their work do not mean that they are not art. Likewise, whatever you find artistic might be something I find rather ridiculous, which is quite likely given your maturity level here.

You may have some valid reasons why those things are not art, but "I don’t personally like it" is never going to be one of them.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Don't visit that place

Art is subjective, therefore your own personal opinion on the value of the art does not change the status of the artist. Whether you believe Herzog to be a hack or a genius, he’s still an artist.

So, while your immature ravings here have been noted, they change nothing about what was said in the article or by the people you replied to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Don't visit that place

your own personal opinion on the value of the art does not change the status of the artist
It does. I don’t consider him artist. It’s your call whether you consider one artist or not, whether you consider something art or not.

Just like you won’t persuade me that art is objective, I won’t persuade you that art is completely subjective. End of debate.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Don't visit that pla

"Just like you won’t persuade me that art is objective"

I’m telling you it’s SUBjective, genius, therefore your personal opinion is irrelevant. If it were OBjective we’d be able to have a discussion with facts rather than some idiot telling everybody his opinion is worth more than everybody else’s. Yet, here you are…

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Don't visit that pla

"Just like you won’t persuade me that art is objective, I won’t persuade you that art is completely subjective. End of debate."

Art is no doubt mainly subjective. Which means that PaulIT’s point stands and Herzog is an artist as long as he can muster up a single person to state so.

You, on the other hand, are trying to claim Herzog is a hack rather than an artist based on your own opinion. So you aren’t offering an argument at all. You’re offering a personal opinion.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Don't visit that

He’s doing what seem to be disturbingly common on these threads – if an artist disagrees with the legacy industries’ narrative, attack them. Usually it’s independent artists not being famous enough to "count" or to attack the quality of the work they produce. But, it’s rare to see such a nakedly obvious ploy, trying to diminish the lifetime work of a man who’s been producing artistic output for decades, likely for long than most people on this thread have even been alive.

I can understand disliking the man himself, disliking his work, or even believing that his best work was behind him once he no longer had Klaus Kinski to battle with. But, to claim that Herzog is not an artist as a result?

Cowardly Lion says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Internet Knobbery

Very much my own opinion, but I love Werner Herzog. His "Rants in the Jungle" were hilarious and as a Killers fan, I loved his video. You know, for the last decade or so he’s been mainly knocking out documentaries, so your comments above ring a little hollow. I’m not convinced you’ve ever watched his shit.

And I’m not altogether sure who you meant by "Godtard". Was that meant to be a witty put-down of Jean-Luc Godard? Ha ha. *crickets

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

…except that procreation isn’t given to US citizens as a limited right; it pre-exists.

If you’re making a comparison, copyright abuse (taking copyright that belongs to others for a fee) is way closer to prostitution than copyright piracy is to rape culture.

If we were just dealing with individual people, you might have a point. But asking permission of a company to use information they bought… usually doesn’t go well, especially if you’re not making a significant amount of money off of the proposal from which you can pay them residuals that offset the cost of tracking the license.

Trust me, I did an experiment at one point where I was doing a copyright-exemption-supported presentation of the state of copyright, but as part of the exercise, I went and asked a bunch of major and minor players for permission to use their works (since it’s always good to ask, even if you legally don’t have to). The likes of Sony never even responded, the small artists were delighted and gave their blessing, and some of the others like Warner sent me pages of legal documents where I had to outline exactly how much I would be charging, how large the audiences would be etc. (when I had already given them all the pertinent info). Once they realized this was journalistic reporting and I wasn’t going to make ANY money off it, they didn’t just say "oh, well then, you don’t need our permission." Instead they demanded I cease and desist.

So. The symptom here might be Silicon Valley, but the problem is entrenched copyright behemoth corporations.

Anonymous Coward says:

"It still amazes me that more artists don’t take this particular approach."

There may have been far more than we ever realized. It’s been widely suspected, but rarely proven, that the vast majority of "pirate" MP3 leaks (one or two songs off an upcoming music album) were released by the record companies themselves as a promotional gimmick.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'... who?'

Obscurity has always posed a greater threat to success than copyright infringement ever has.

If someone downloads your stuff without paying at that time you’re not getting paid then, however if they like what they read/see/hear they might pay later, and/or tell someone else about you and that person might pay.

On the other hand if someone doesn’t even know you exist then they are never going to pay you, never going to tell anyone else about you, and it doesn’t matter how good or bad your stuff is, you’re not getting squat(monetarily) from it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: '... who?'

When did downloading anything that has been uploaded to the internet equal copyright infringement? The laws in place were if you use it for your own personal use and not commercial gain then you were not infringing. WTF? What a quagmire of pure greed and needless litigation supporting lawyers for the sake of supporting an already very fishy legal system.


Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Neil Gaiman wrote something — I believe it was in an introduction to Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to be Free — to the effect that when he first heard his books were being pirated on the Internet, he was furious, but over time as he looked at the data he came to realize that they were mostly being downloaded in places where they weren’t published, and he came to understand that often, when people acquire books through illicit means, it’s because they’re not available through legal ones (except perhaps as an expensive import).

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Neil Gaiman is one of the few creators who have gotten past the (there is not a nice way to say this) inflated self importance that is pumped up by the groups who steal more from them than the ‘pirates’.

The gatekeepers put thousands of gates between your fans & your art, because they’ve created a tangle of rules & regulations that make what should be simple, super complex.

Screw the disabled, their editions might allow piracy!!!
You have people who might become huge fans, but your gatekeeper has decided their market doesn’t matter vs imaginary losses.

Screw Australia, they are stupid upside down people who don’t need access to content at the same time as the rest of the world because the sea monsters make it hard to get our tradeships there.
Magically when they discovered treating them like an actual country, as opposed to an island of prisoners, & delivered the content at the same time as the rest of the globe piracy did drop.

Piracy will never been stamped out until it is as easy to access the content legally as it is illegally. Millions of dollars have been wasted on anti-piracy efforts & on "delivery platforms" that punish you for playing by the rules, and the piracy it doesn’t stop. Why do they keep pirating just because we demand to have their social security number & access to a camera watching them to make sure they haven’t exceeded the number of people we will allow them to have view the content they ‘purchased’??

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Neil Gaiman is one of the few creators who have gotten past the (there is not a nice way to say this) inflated self importance that is pumped up by the groups who steal more from them than the ‘pirates’.

I don’t know if it’s really as "few" as all that. I can think of quite a few musicians who have expressed similar views about piracy (including Gaiman’s wife, Amanda Palmer), as well as authors like Doctorow and Charles Stross. I’d say Tim O’Reilly counts as a creator too. And software developers are creators, too — anybody publishing under a free/open-source license isn’t too concerned about their work being given away for free (though that doesn’t mean they won’t enforce their license, especially if it’s something like the GPL).

I think there are quite a lot of creators who see piracy as a sign of a market failure rather than a nefarious evil. Particularly younger creators, and creators with a smaller audience, but you’ll also find older, more popular artists who feel the same way.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It is an uphill battle as their voices are always left of of the discussions or are portrayed as being naive about things work in the real world by gatekeepers who have the ears of the politicians.

It is hard to walk the line of piracy is a failure to serve the markets when the big guns keep drowning out what you say by screaming the Boston Strangler is coming to murder puppies.

bob says:

what is the future attitude of the human race.

I also support what this person wants to do with their work. However that works under the assumption that people will pay up front or later on or at least tell others about it.

But can you always assume the majority of people will continue acting this way, that the human race won’t become cold hearted and greedy like major corporation owners are now?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: what is the future attitude of the human race.

But can you always assume the majority of people will continue acting this way, that the human race won’t become cold hearted and greedy like major corporation owners are now?

All those YouTube channels supported via the likes of Patreon show that fans will voluntarily support an artists.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: what is the future attitude of the human race.

"But can you always assume the majority of people will continue acting this way, that the human race won’t become cold hearted and greedy like major corporation owners are now?"

The human race has always supported creators – there’s a reason storytellers, authors and musicians have been viable professions ever since we invented cave wall painting.

The main issue is, I believe, that there’s a limit to how many creators can be gainfully supported. And that’s not a soft cap but a hard one, enforced by the fact that every person’s budget for personal entertainment has to stretch over every type of entertainment they choose to patronize.

And money isn’t even the main issue. Consumer time is. When your competition is a thousand cellphone/tablet games, MMO’s, browser games, youtube, vevo, vimeo, half a dozen free music streaming sites…how you get the consumer to even notice you in the first place is the real concern.

Article 13, the DMCA…every other copyright directive or legislation lately, has been lobbied for not to hinder pirates (no matter how loudly Baghdad Bob/Blue/Bobmail keeps whining about it) but in order to gut the competition by effectively burning down the marketplaces.

Humans will keep supporting creators as they always have. It’s human nature to do so. We just aren’t as keen to support the middlemen.

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