Arrrrgh...Movie Piracy: A Big Deal?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Phil Florian, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    Howdy,
    I just wanted to know what other folks think about those new anti-piracy ads before movies. You know the ones? The ones where the technician or stunt man tells us how his job is in jeopardy because all those people are stealing movies (from downloading, I assume). Then I see ANOTHER ad from the movie theatre (one of those trivia cards) that showed that last year was a record breaking year in terms of income and I read another article about this holiday season being one of the best for Hollywood, if not THE best.

    What gives? I am not advocating piracy in the least bit, but it is confusing to get these sob stories and such along with the "Dots" that mark film and yet Hollywood doesn't seem to be in any way hurting.

    What is up with that? Why are we getting dots on screen (and thanks to the HTF, I now see the little f***ers) and lectured (along with gobs of non-movie ads) and yet movie tickets are moving better than ever before?

    Aieee! Anyone connect the dots as it were?

    Phil
     
  2. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    Dave Poland's written about the skyrocketing costs of movie production several times over at THB. Sure, Terminator 3 would have been a sure-lock when it comes to being a profitable venture, but a $30m paycheck to one man? It reminds me of a Jim Carrey interview where he speaks about how absurd his $20m paychecks are, but that if they (the studios) are handing it out, he sure as heck isn't going to say no.

    In regards to irony, Valenti (MPAA boss), who tried to institute the screener ban citing piracy, was also the one who said box office receipts barely bring in any profits compared to ancillary markets like DVD and PPV...
     
  3. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    All I know is that they continue to get booed at everytime they are shown. There's a thread somewhere with some good discussion on the ads.

    BTW, I proudly boo as well. I don't like being talked to like a criminal after spending $10 on a ticket, and another $10 on food.
     
  4. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    Fortunately, I have yet to see one of these stupidities, but I'll be glad to boo as well. Hollywood has proven time and time and time and time and time again that if you make a good movie, it will make millions of dollars every time even with massive piracy. Can you say, "Lord of the Rings" and "Titanic", boys and girls?
     
  5. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

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    Never mind the fact that people who are paying to see the movies aren't the pirates anyway. And also, who's gonna want to take the time to download a movie and ensure it's a good versions when you can buy the DVD for $20? And the DVD has better video resolution, 5.1 surround sound, special features, subtitles, etc.

    The closest I'd get is what some of my friends did with Two Towers. See it a bunch in theaters, when it leaves theaters, download a copy. Then, when the DVD hits, replace the downloaded copy with the DVD. Now tell me, who gets hurt by that scenario?
     
  6. Clay-F

    Clay-F Stunt Coordinator

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    Everyone that I know of dls a movie ends up buying that exact same movie. They only dl it to watch it some parts of it before it comes out on dvd.

    I dont see the average user ever going to the lenghts it takes to get a good copy of a movie. It has to be a low 1% of the viewers who are actually doing this in the US. Now in other countries it seems to be much worse.

    I think the best way to get theaters to drop prices wouldnt be to download movies, but instead to organize a few bannings of movies. If we all decided to simply stay home and rent for a few weeks the impact should get the point across. Yet that would never happen.
     
  7. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Unlike CD's, there's actually some value to be had with DVD's. I'd rather pay 20+ dollars for a loaded special edition than 11-18 for a single CD with probably two or three songs that are okay.

    Anywho, I think it was Seth Paxton that made a good point about piracy (sorry if I paraphrase him wrong). The point was that hardcore pirates (that's not sounding right already) are such a small sample size that it's almost pointless to try and use tactics to stop them.
     
  8. Jonathan_E

    Jonathan_E Agent

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    You'd actually be surprised how many people download movies, and don't go out and buy the movie itself later. They're called poor college kids. I am constantly getting a good laugh whenever I hear about someone losing their internet privledges in their dorm room because they were downloading a movie, it seriously happens to several people a day at a large university.

    As for me, I can't stand to watch a downloaded movie, way too low of quality. I also don't see those anti-piracy adds at my local theater, because I'm one of the projectionists there and we all refuse to put those stupid things on the movies!
     
  9. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

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    A lot of people I work with dl movies exclusively, and others will rent, burn the DVD, then return it.
    I of course refuse to lend them my disks, I don't want to be party to that....
    I have put too much time, money, and effort into my collection to see these guys rip it off me.
    ANyway, I've kind of enjoyed the commercials, they may not be targeted all that well, but I like them. A lot of people don't realize that all those people in the credits are involved and don't make millions....
     
  10. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    ...and won't make it, piracy or not. It makes it sound like every time a a crappy dub of a movie is sold on the streets of Manhattan, a techie is forced to hit the streets of LA, begging for money. Which is funny, because a lot of the higher quality pirate dubs come from within the industry, people who steal good prints, screeners, etc. Maybe the pirating would be stopped if they added those anti-pirate ads to pirated movies. That would show them.

    [​IMG]

    Phil
     
  11. JohnAP

    JohnAP Second Unit

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    Anyone see the column on this topic by Joel Stein in the back of Entertainment Weekly a few months back? It was very funny.

    I haven't been to a movie yet where one of these is shown, though I am usually made to sit through a bunch of commercials for products. A friend and I went to a movie a couple weeks ago and (I'm not kidding) they showed nine product commercials (three of which were for coke) before even the trailers started. To top it off, the movie wasn't any good either. I'm glad people are booing these anti-piracy ads, but I wish they'd start complaining about all the commercials like we all did when they were introduced a few years ago.

    When you just paid 9 bucks, you don't need to be told not to steal the movie you're about to watch. Maybe they should put these ads before awards screeners instead.

    Unlike with music, the quality of downloaded movies is pretty low. I know there are people who download instead of buying, but that's a pretty small minority and I read that its mostly movies like Matrix Reloaded and X2 (the biggest box-office draws) that are getting downloaded a lot, and it would seem that people are downloading after going to see the movie in a theater. If the quality improves to dvd level then they may have a real problem, but right now, these ads are just one more thing that makes your movie start twenty minutes after the "start time."

    Someone mentioned this is more a problem in some foreign countries. Is that because of a lack of theaters or movie releases in those countries? That would make sense. I know the only times I've been interested in a downloaded movie was when someone got a foreign film not released in the U.S. and it was the only way to see it.
     
  12. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    It's because foreign countries get it later because they have to be subbed or dubbed.
     
  13. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    Maybe they should sell you the DVD to the movie you jus saw for $10 out the door? [​IMG]
     
  14. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Hmmm, this got me thinking. Is it possible that these were actually introduced to take peoples minds off of the commercials that they are showing?
     
  15. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    I'm not sure what you mean by this. The dollar value of the total tickets sold may be higher than ever, but the actual number of tickets sold is a mere fraction of what it was in the early part of the 20th century. Tickets aren't moving nearly as well as they used to.

    DJ
     
  16. Jason Adams

    Jason Adams Supporting Actor

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    This is true...especially in my parent's home country of Guyana for instance. A channel will regularly show the latest movie, sourced from a DVD AND in widescreen, the same time that movie is playing in the theaters, which are few in between. Another interesting thing is that Guyana has NO copyright laws.
     
  17. Clay-F

    Clay-F Stunt Coordinator

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    When movies keep making 100's of millions of dollars its kind of hard to see it as a struggling industry. Its not, and its doing very well.

    I'd think the music industry to be taking a much harder hit over the last few years. Its very easy to quickly get high quality music for free. Movies can take a long time to download, and quality is almost always pretty poor, if you even are lucky enough to get the title that you were attempting for.

    I read that Madonna put out a ton of fake downloads for her last CD in order to thwart piracy.

    The movie industry should do the same thing. They could just flood kazaa, and other programs with fake users and fake movies. That would make it much harder to find the movie that you were actually looking for. If they can make it frustrating enough then it would just make it not worth the effort.

    If Law Enforcement really wanted to start cracking down on this, they could just walk in to about any Sci-Fi or Fantasy Convention and go to the market section. Those places always always have pirated dvds laying out for sale. I bet you could find a dvd of ROTK right now at one of those places. I dont know how big of a distribution is in those conventions, but I'd guess that its pretty hefty.
     
  18. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    They already do. I hear from numerous people who spend hours and hours downloading a movie, which actually takes weeks because of the morons who seem to enjoy having their PCs on for only an hour or so or cancelling downloads intentionally, only to find out that it's the wrong movie. I believe one of the more recent was that a huge 850MB download of X2 (while it was still in theatres) turned out to be a DVD rip of Scarface.

    Personally, I think that kind of strategy is rather brilliant. It will certainly make someone with a slow connection think twice about downloading another movie that takes a long time to download.
     
  19. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    I thought this, too. I was actually at a convention where cops DID raid it, but they were sent specifically by Paramount and they had a very specific mandate. They were looking for non-sanctioned props and so on and did nothing about the obvious boots laying all over the tables. What I got out of it was that the police only go where there are reports of stolen goods. I suppose the parallel would be if my car was stolen and I didn't report it, the police wouldn't be looking for it. So unless the studios actually say "go get copies of my movies out of that con!" then the police aren't going to just go looking for it. Maybe.

    I know the music industry is reeling supposedly, too (enough to sue little girls and poor college kids...nice) but like noted above, the ones most downloaded are the same tunes that are still selling well. Same with movies. As noted above, ROTK and X2 are the kinds of movies being downloaded and yet those are also raking in bajillions of dollars in sales in theatre's and then later on DVD. It isn't like people are downloading copies of "The Piano" or "In America" and tapping into their already thin market.

    I think instead of punishing the fans of the material that do pay by showing stupid ads by "poor" well off movie employees, the US Army, Coke, etc. and by putting now more recongizable dots on the film they should be proactive. I like the idea of people flooding the market with bootlegs that are horrible or, like many tunes now a days, incomplete. That seems like a good idea but isn't as easy as sending out lawyers to hound people, point fingers or shoot a PSA to make folks feel badly.


    Phil
     
  20. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    Movie piracy is a big deal, but not in the US. Go to Asia and you'll understand. Those commercials are preposturous.

    They're union people who get paid the same whether the movie is a bomb or a boxoffice hit. The idea that someone downloading a movie is going to "hurt" any of the union people getting paid their hourly rate just makes me angry.
     

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