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Film Piracy, Careers Ruined, Sundance, Worth it?

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1 hour ago, Grim Fandango said:

Re: Streaming on your own website - if it can be displayed on a screen, it can be ripped, by using a software that masquerades as a screen, then records what it is "displaying". You will still have your movie pirated. Sorry.

ABSOLUTELY CORRECT FOLKS!

I think people who are blaming piracy for their lack of profitability are, on the whole, looking to blame anything that was "done to them" to explain their lack of profitability, it's a lot more seductive than having to change how one approaches the commercial side of the business. People seem to have this over-romanticised idea of "the movie business" that never existed. It has always been cold and difficult for new talent, low budget productions and independants. People have always taken advantage of your hard work, taken it for free and put their name on it.

This I strongly disagree with.
As has been shown recently, the methods used to track and estimate piracy are getting more advanced and more accurate. 
It absolutely is a huge deal. It's absolutely real. And each passing year piracy is taking a significantly greater percentage of fair earnings away. 

Sure, people romanticized how hard the movie industry has always been - but in the past, if people saw the movie then SOMEONE got paid. Now we have a totally new condition wherein thousands or even millions of people are seeing the movie and NOBODY is getting paid. That is very different.

 

 

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1 hour ago, DPStewart said:

but in the past, if people saw the movie then SOMEONE got paid.

Well, now, that's just not true. Never borrowed a dvd from a friend, do you think VHS to VHS recording didn't happen, do you think everyone who worked in a cinema was honest and absolutely never recorded the movie for private distribution. Kids didn't sneak into movies, please, piracy is an old problem that updated due to the technology avaliable.

"It absolutely is a huge deal. It's absolutely real. And each passing year piracy is taking a significantly greater percentage of fair earnings away."

Ok, let's pretend this is true. You're obviously not going to pay attention to actual evidence, prefering to rely on your own imagination and conjecture. What are you going to do? All capping on the internet doesn't work. You admit yourself that you can't stop the problem. So evolve or die. But I promise you, if you evolve the way of being a pain for your paying customers, they will go to one of the many other forms of entertainment they could do with their spare time where they don't have to deal with navigating your budget excuse for a restricted web video player (which doesn't prevent piracy, doesn't prevent someone downloading your movie for free and getting a vastly improved experience over your paying customers). So why not give your paying customers added value, the sort that piracy cannot deliver. Give them a smooth web experience, to be able to simply browse a list of movies, easily organised, relevant suggestions etc so they don't have to deal with malicious websites. Give them cheap playback - it's all very well producing a budget movie, but the price of admission isn't budget. I refer again to the "cheapest imaginable" price in the OP's article of $3. Know what it costs to go to the cinema in Namibia? Less than a penny. If you're not prepared to drop your price in that market, then they will pirate it, live with that, don't let it affect your mental health.

Other ways to add value - how about giving access to the soundtrack in spotify, what about connecting with your audience via podcasts and videos documenting the production - get the audience invested early, connect in a likable, human way, get them excited early and they will be throwing money at the screens to support you before your movie is out. The amount of effort you put into getting great results from your gear for very little money - put equal effort in getting great results from very cheap marketing. When was the last time you were a guest on a popular youtube channel to talk about your film? If the answer is never, then why not, that's a colossal audience of people who sit at their computers watching videos for entertainment. Which is what you're selling.

Or sit there, all caps us all about how unfair those nasty pirates are, how movies are dying and ignore the huge number of commercial sucesses being made every day across the globe on shoestring budgets. More movies are being made every week in Nigeria and India this year than were made globally each year through the "golden age" of cinema.

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Just now, Zak Forsman said:

please cite "actual evidence".

OK,

Here:

BTW, before I start, I'm a new user and posting a list of links probably isn't going to go well for me. So I'll do it in the next post, so you at least will know why I've gone silent :)

Incidently, while I'm at it, why don't you post your evidence to support the claimed 10% you wrote about in that blog post. To save you an hour or two googling, the best figure you will find is the widely derided 6-7%, rightly ignored because it was based on "industry predictive models", i.e. someone thought that sounded about right.

You'll also find a student paper which talks about the shutdown of megaupload and the 18 week increase globally in sales. If you use this figure, please look at the graph showing the period not affected by normal increase in sales and rentals as a result of the christmas period - it shows a change of between +4% and -4%, i.e. a statistically insignificant amount. Of course if you also include the weeks affected by christmas increase in sales, then we get to 6%-10%, and if you do want to use that figure, and I'm sure you do, then please apply the differential results to your own specific scenario, the one that shows only the biggest movies benefited from megauploads shutdown in increased sales, while medium and small productions suffered a loss of sales in the same period. In case my link doesn't come up for this, crucially important study, google "Piracy and Movie Revinues: Evidence from Megaupload A tale of the long tail by Peukert, Claussen and Kretschmer of LMU Munich, Copenhagen Business School and Institute of Economic Research, Munich respectively"

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And here is my evidence:

https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/online-copyright-enforcement-consumer-behavior-and-market-structure

Taken at face value, our ndings indicate that digital music piracy does not displace legal musicpurchases  in  digital  format.   This  means  that  although  there  is  trespassing  of  private  propertyrights (copyrights), there is unlikely to be much harm done on digital music revenues.

http://www.lse.ac.uk/[email protected]/documents/MPP/LSE-MPP-Policy-Brief-9-Copyright-and-Creation.pdf

The creative industries are innovating to adapt to a changing digital culture and evidence does not support claims about overall patterns of revenue reduction due to individual copyright infringement.

http://www.ew.com/article/2013/03/31/hbo-thrones-piracy

And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales.

http://www.nber.org/chapters/c12454.pdf

In spite of this, the supply of recorded music appears not to have fallen off much since Napster, and there is at least suggestive evidence that independent music labels, which operate with lower break-even thresholds, are play-ing an increased role in bringing new works to market.

http://crem.univ-rennes1.fr/Documents/Docs_workshops_2013/2013-10-24_Digital_Piracy/2013-10-24_3_PeukertClaussenKretschmer.pdf

Our main finding is that smaller and larger movies were differentially aected by Megaupload's shutdown:  while only very large movies benefitted from the shutdown, revenue formost smaller and medium-sized movies decreased with the shutdown.

https://www.vg247.com/2012/05/19/cd-projekt-pirated-games-are-not-lost-sales-drm-is-a-lot-for-legitimate-users-to-put-up-with/

“It really puzzles me how serious software companies can consider each pirated copy to be a lost sale,” said Iwinski. “Maybe it looks nice in an official report to say how threatening pirates are, but it is extremely far from the truth.

https://stephenfollows.com/has-piracy-harmed-the-uk-film-industry/

I can see why the community pirated as they did – our core audience were teenage boys, who are also the keenest pirates. They were faced with a choice of either paying money (via credit card, which they may not have) to wait a week for a physical copy to arrive which could be scratched or lost; or they could instantly get a copy for free, which could also be backed-up and shared with friends.

 

This stuff backs up and supports everything that I have been saying - 1) Piracy happens and you can't stop it. 2) Piracy can't be quantified in economic terms as you cannot "minority report" a downloaders intentions. 3) Piracy is a service problem, not an unwillingness to pay problem. Do with that as you will, there is tonnes more evidence out there, but I only have a half an hour to compile this for you. I'm not here on the side of the pirates, I genuinely want you to suffer less for it - but I don't have the answers, only a good sense for codswallop, and when I see inflammitory, clickbait posts like the OP, when I see pie in the sky numbers being hurled around with free abandon, I call it out because belief in something that isn't true does not help you in the short or the long term. I've already seen two people talking about "locking your work down". For gods sake, please, before you do anything that could actually ruin your career, please research what happened to large companies like gametrailers - http://www.thejimquisition.com/2016/02/gametrailers-was-a-victim-of-itself/ - the takeaway is what audiences do when they have to deal with a "locked down" media player. They go somewhere else.

 

This is hardly evidence, but it's an interesting read nontheless

http://www.cato.org/blog/how-copyright-industries-con-congress

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3 hours ago, Grim Fandango said:

Incidently, while I'm at it, why don't you post your evidence to support the claimed 10% you wrote about in that blog post. To save you an hour or two googling, the best figure you will find is the widely derided 6-7%, rightly ignored because it was based on "industry predictive models", i.e. someone thought that sounded about right.

You'll also find a student paper which talks about the shutdown of megaupload and the 18 week increase globally in sales. If you use this figure, please look at the graph showing the period not affected by normal increase in sales and rentals as a result of the christmas period - it shows a change of between +4% and -4%, i.e. a statistically insignificant amount. Of course if you also include the weeks affected by christmas increase in sales, then we get to 6%-10%, and if you do want to use that figure, and I'm sure you do, then please apply the differential results to your own specific scenario, the one that shows only the biggest movies benefited from megauploads shutdown in increased sales, while medium and small productions suffered a loss of sales in the same period. In case my link doesn't come up for this, crucially important study, google "Piracy and Movie Revinues: Evidence from Megaupload A tale of the long tail by Peukert, Claussen and Kretschmer of LMU Munich, Copenhagen Business School and Institute of Economic Research, Munich respectively"

you're making an assumption about me... i'm not an advocate for or against piracy. i've only relayed my personal experiences with it. the day i discovered the torrents of my movie I had two thoughts. First was, "this is amazing!!!" and the second was, "shit! what if my distributor finds out?" :)  I see the good, i see the bad. I've declined an invitation from the MPAA to speak on indies' behalf because, like most things, i know the truth of this matter lies somewhere in the middle. you don't need to convince *me* of anything. i asked for citation so you would back up your posts. without it, it comes across as asserting "opinion as fact".

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Just now, Zak Forsman said:

you're making an assumption about me... i'm not an advocate for or against piracy. i've only relayed my personal experiences with it. the day i discovered the torrents of my movie I had two thoughts. First was, "this is amazing!!!" and the second was, "shit! what if my distributor finds out?"   I see the good, i see the bad. I've declined an invitation from the MPAA to speak on indies' behalf because, like most things, i know the truth of this matter lies somewhere in the middle. you don't need to convince *me* of anything. i asked for citation so you would back up your posts. without it, it comes across as asserting "opinion as fact".

My apologies, in my rush, I had confused you with DPStewart

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7 hours ago, Grim Fandango said:

My apologies, in my rush, I had confused you with DPStewart

Wasn't me either.

I don't have a blog. (Unless you mean a comment posted here.)

And the only reference I made to anything that mentioned 10% of anything was when I said that you'll earn less money from 10,000 people watching your movie for free than you will from 1,000 people paying to watch it.
But of course that's so obvious as to be ridiculous. I included it more as an observation that it feels good on our  egos to have a lot of people see our work even if it's for free - but that the ego stroke won't pay your sound guy, or your grips, or your cast, or your food services. 

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Just now, DPStewart said:

Wasn't me either.

I don't have a blog. (Unless you mean a comment posted here.)

And the only reference I made to anything that mentioned 10% of anything was when I said that you'll earn less money from 10,000 people watching your movie for free than you will from 1,000 people paying to watch it.
But of course that's so obvious as to be ridiculous. I included it more as an observation that it feel good on our ego to have a lot of people see our work even if it's for free - but that the ego stroke won't make your car payments for you.

Nah, I got the pair of you confused as one person! I combined your disagreement with me with zaks blog post etc... don't worry about it, the post above I feel is good information for people or easy enough to ignore

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1 minute ago, Grim Fandango said:

Nah, I got the pair of you confused as one person! I combined your disagreement with me with zaks blog post etc... don't worry about it, the post above I feel is good information for people or easy enough to ignore

So... you spliced me and Zak together like Brundle Fly.
Well, I suppose I've had people do worse to me than that. LOLZ!

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On February 19, 2016 at 3:05 PM, DPStewart said:

Your position seems extreme...but it's not wrong.

The biggest problem is people FEELING ENTITLED to take and spread YOUR product for free.

If the ONLY way for you to not get totally robbed is to lock it down, then LOCK IT DOWN.

The ego stroke of 10,000 people seeing your movie won't put a dime back in your pocket for your next one.
But only 1,000 actually paying to stream it will.

The choice is up to each individual.
 

DPStewart t I agree with you. Even 50k is too much money to lose to some hacker, film festival judge, or Amazon.

As you say, at this time filmmakers (especially ones using their OWN money) have TO LOCK IT DOWN.

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On 2/20/2016 at 0:30 AM, DPStewart said:

So... you spliced me and Zak together like Brundle Fly.
Well, I suppose I've had people do worse to me than that. LOLZ!

I don't mean to offend but everytime I see your profile pics I think of Howard Stern and Seth Rogen. In a really good way though!

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59 minutes ago, HelsinkiZim said:

I don't mean to offend but everytime I see your profile pics I think of Howard Stern and Seth Rogen. In a really good way though!

it's okay. i doubt either of those two read this forum. they won't be offended.

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