In a world where heavy (regional) restrictions apply to downloading movies and music in a legal way, it’s no surprise that many people choose to take the route of free.
Anti-piracy zealots claim that downloaders are curmudgeoning pinchfists. That’s open to debate. But complicated (and proprietary) purchasing procedures of online media certainly don’t make paying any more compelling.
This is why I find the response of filmmaker Tom Lowe who discovered that his film got stolen and put on the Pirate Bay so interesting. Instead of lawsuits he just left a friendly comment, asking people to buy the film if they like it.
His upfront response has earned him the respect of the Internet, and it’s a good example to follow (remember what happened when Metallica started whining about downloads?).
In an interview with techcrunch Tom Lowe said:
I wasn’t upset about the torrents. I knew it was going to happen […]
When I saw the torrent, I felt like letting downloaders know that this was a small, self-financed film, and there are not any Hollywood fatcats in the revenue stream. […] If you want reduce file sharing, I think you should offer fast, secure, relatively inexpensive, DRM-free downloads in as many flavors as possible. […] I just see piracy as a reality. I don’t really see it as good or bad. Artists need to accept that this is reality now, and adapt their business models around reality.
Talking about making movies and offering them in as many formats with as little hassle as possible, have you heard about Indie Game: the movie? Their film is coming out in a few days and I can’t wait to see it. To me, paying for products like this is not just the result of a cold cost-benefit analysis, it’s a political action.
By supporting independent works of art and their independent networks of distribution we are showing that there is an alternative to the ‘entertainment industry’ and its draconian measures.
It’s not enough to just say “no”, we need to prove that another world is possible, whether we are content creators or consumers.
img: morguefile license, snowbear