Film Distributor Creates Torrent Site Clone That Gives Away Movie Tickets To Combat Piracy

from the not-bad dept

Much of the way the movie industry looks to combat film piracy will seem familiar to readers of this site. It typically involves shakedown threat letters, games of DMCA whac-a-mole, and a paint-by-numbers approach that mostly amounts to film studios shaking their lawyers' fists at the sky. All that produces the status quo, where piracy is still a thing, films still make gobs of money, and regular observers of it all are left scratching our heads wondering how so much noise could be made over it all.

But I will give credit where credit is due as Costa Rican film distributor Romaly deserves some style and creativity points for its new anti-piracy tactic.

Romaly has employed an extremely creative tactic to reach out to would-be pirates. Their work can be seen over at LegalTorrents.net, a site that has clearly been modeled on one of the most famous torrent indexes ever. As the screenshot below shows, it is a semi-convincing KickassTorrents clone with a similar logo, color scheme and word cloud.

Here's how nice a job Romaly did in dressing the site up to look like KAT.


And the torrents on the site are actually real, except they aren't torrents for the actual movies in question. Instead, the downloads play trailers for those movies along with messaging about how piracy has a negative impact on the film industry. But the coup de grace is the inclusion of an email address where the downloader can request two free movie tickets for the film they attempted to pirate.

The cloning of a torrent site feels a little shady, but it also feels somewhat innocuous. The attempt to educate pirates that piracy is bad is also rather "meh", as that's been tried before. But attempting to build up some goodwill in the form of getting downloaders to the theaters is actually pretty smart, relying on positive actions rather than threats and tales of doom and gloom.

“With the creation of our own torrent download page we seek to approach all those who try to carry out this type of illegal action and create awareness on the subject through positive reinforcement,” says Alonso Solís, marketing manager of Romaly.

“By providing tickets we want you to remember that cinema is an experience that goes beyond a computer. In the cinema, people enjoy an entertainment space that allows them to get rid of their occupations and dedicate one or two hours to themselves.”

That's the kind of thing we've been saying for years, in fact, and it's something the movie industry should be pushing on even harder. Now, it's worth noting that the folks at TorrentFreak attempted to put this whole concept through its paces and found a lot left to be desired. It seems the seeds on these torrents are limited, resulting in failed downloads all over the place. That sort of defeats the purpose of the educational information and the free tickets.

Still, points for the effort, and for trying to forge a connection with downloaders rather than relying on the mere shaking of legal fists.


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  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 3:37pm

    The "cinema experience"

    I think one problem is that I, for example, simply don't want to go to the cinema. It's crowded, noisy, the seats are cramped and frequently flat-out dirty, the floor's sticky and it involves dealing with traffic and parking. I'd rather play the movie from Blu-ray or stream it so I can enjoy it from the comfort of my living room on the large-screen TV, avoiding all of the negatives of the cinema.

    You want to make an impression on casual pirates? Instead of tickets, point them to a site where they can stream the movie the day it's available in theaters for the same price as a theater ticket without having to go through all sorts of rigamarole and without having to install software that makes their systems malfunction and fail. Do that and the majority of piracy will evaporate overnight.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2017 @ 4:09pm

      Re: The "cinema experience"

      Don't know where you go to the cinema, or the last time you did, but I haven't been to a dirty, crowded, parking challenged, or otherwise unpleasant experience theater since around the early 90s. Every other place I've been since then, including some bigger metro areas, the theater is never at capacity (not even for Star Wars), the parking may not be spectacular but it's not terrible, the management has the off-duty policeman escort problem customers off premises (a rare occurance), and the floors and seats are clean and in good repair.

      The theater chains know what happened in the 80s and 90s with the run down theaters and obnoxious customers ran off many customers and for the most part are trying to repair that image. In some cases they are altering their business strategies a great deal to become "dinner and a movie" all-in-one establishments. In which case, where I've actually been to those, vacant tables all with comfortable seating were very few by the start of the movie, and it's mostly return business from loyal customers. Teens and couples tend to love them for date nights.

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

      • icon
        TKnarr (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 4:27pm

        Re: Re: The "cinema experience"

        Big chain theaters (AMC and Regal) in San Diego. All in big malls in major shopping/entertainment areas. They're not as bad as they were in the 90s, but still far sub-par compared to my home. As for food, I haven't been in one yet that carried more than snacks and those were so over-priced it didn't bear thinking about.

        I know one here in Seattle that's better, but it's very small (a tenth the number of seats), expensive and requires making a reservation well ahead of time. And for the hassle and cost the only thing it has to offer is being able to handle more than 8 friends at once.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2017 @ 4:36pm

      Re: The "cinema experience"

      "Instead of tickets, point them to a site where they can stream the movie the day it's available in theaters"

      But that's a large part of the problem, as films could easily have a single worldwide release date, but so often don't. And for good reason.

      Studios make a calculated decision that the financial loss from illicit torrenting is less than the increased profit from the strategy of rolling releases in which new films play first in countries where the star is most popular, in order to build positive marketing momentum for the delayed releases in the countries where the star (or director, etc) is unpopular.

      For instance, a film starring Tom Cruise (or the late Michael Jackson) and directed by Roman Polanski would be guaranteed to have a delayed opening in the US. Although film studios claim "piracy" as being their worst problem, in reality it's far down on their list of concerns, even when their release schedules greatly exacerbate it.

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

    • icon
      Eldakka (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 7:30pm

      Re: The "cinema experience"

      Dendy Cinemas in Australia (owned by Mel Gibson's company) are quite good:

      The Dendy Premium Lounge cinemas boast its own exclusive lounge bar area, full in-seat dining and bar service as well as opulent electric reclining seats.

      They have a decent menu (burgers, pizzas, seafood platters, appetizers, deserts, soft drinks, beer's, wines, cocktails) all brought to your chair in the cinema.

      But they aren't cheap...

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

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 15 Mar 2017 @ 10:13am

        Re: Re: The "cinema experience"

        You aren't going to see free tickets to a place like the one you mention... not unless it's a promotion like radios like to do. Besides, giving away free tickets still means you'll have to pay for food/snacks. Very few people can resist getting something while watching a movie. I normally get Jr Mints or M&Ms.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2017 @ 10:41am

      Re: The "cinema experience"

      I, for example, simply don't want to go to the cinema. It's crowded, noisy, the seats are cramped and frequently flat-out dirty, the floor's sticky and it involves dealing with traffic and parking.

      As a bonus, by entering you'll also be subject to searches on demand. At least according to signs at my local theaters (and apparently a result of MPAA paranoia).

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

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 14 Mar 2017 @ 4:11pm

    stupid

    If someone downloads something and it's not what they were expecting they delete it and move on...

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

  • identicon
    Châu, 14 Mar 2017 @ 4:17pm

    No cinemas

    Good idea but many places not have local cinemas must travel 200+ km. Also I think many cinemas not have that person's movie too. Also have translation for local language?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:22pm

      Re: No cinemas

      Good idea but many places not have local cinemas must travel 200+ km.

      Are internet connections fast enough to be downloading movies in those places? Only the most rural areas would be that far from a theater in my experience, and those people are probably stuck with satellite or dialup. (Technically they could still do about 10GB per month, enough for a few movies, if it's a flat-rate service.)

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

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 6:46pm

    iRony

    The cloning of a torrent site feels a little shady... Agreed. People might get the idea that it's OK to copy someone else's stuff.

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

    • icon
      TechDescartes (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 6:48pm

      Re: iRony

      (formatting fail)

      The cloning of a torrent site feels a little shady...

      Agreed. People might get the idea that it's OK to copy someone else's stuff.

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

  • icon
    JonC (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 8:59pm

    "...it is a semi-convincing KickassTorrents clone with a similar logo, color scheme and word cloud."

    Cue the trademark (trade dress?) Infringement suit...

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

  • icon
    mhajicek (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 9:24pm

    One tongue dingie

    Anyone else notice The Ring, seed 666?

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Mar 2017 @ 1:03am

    "But the coup de grace is the inclusion of an email address where the downloader can request two free movie tickets for the film they attempted to pirate"

    ...which does nothing to get people who can't make it to a cinema for whatever reason, people in countries where the film isn't going to be released for weeks or months, or people who want to watch a film that's not being saturated on every screen in the nation (and therefore have to travel a stupidly long distance to do so). This may be a relatively localised attempt, but a big part of the reason why torrent sites are popular is because they have a global supply.

    It's an interesting gesture, but as with most of these things it's missing the point. I'm not sure of the Costa Rican market either, but I'm sure that there's also the wrinkle of whether the movie is available in English or Spanish or dubbed/subbed - if it's anything like the Spanish market, there's wide open opportunities that are often missed on both sides.

    "By providing tickets we want you to remember that cinema is an experience that goes beyond a computer"

    Some people PREFER the computer (or home theatre) experience, now that the theatrical experience has been corrupted by price-gouging on concessions, lack of staff, people talking or playing on their phones through the whole thing, 2 hours of ads before the film starts, projectionists that have been replaced by button pushers who don't know what an aspect ratio is and can't adjust the film, etc. Not to mention the huge premium they're asked to pay for such a shoddy experience.

    Just as people aren't just pirating because they want something for free, people aren't avoiding cinemas just because they somehow forgot how great it is.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2017 @ 6:58am

    "give us your info"

    "now suing you for 150k x 2 for both tickets that are a "lost sale"...

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


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