Tuesday, 8 January 2013
The reluctant pirate
So it's not all clear cut - piracy can often be good for both industry and fans alike.
What about downloading big screen movies though? Now this is wrong, totally and can not be justified....or can it? These days we have a worldwide web and this means that in theory anyone can put anything online and it can travel around the world in moments. And yet the film industry still stagger film release dates. This makes no sense in the modern world - Take the recent release of Bond movie, Skyfall. It was out in the UK weeks before the US, so American Bond fans would read the reviews coming from across the pond and be frustrated because there was no way these could see the movie. Only they could - I wonder how many people downloaded Skyfall simply because they wanted to see it at the same time as most other countries? Many did, no doubt. A similar situation exists with Tarantino's Django Unchained - it's out there Stateside but we Brits don't get it until the 18th Jan. They did the same thing a couple of years back with the Coen's retelling of True Grit. I love westerns and although I was there to see True Grit on opening day I'd already seen it via a screener doing the rounds on the web. And it's the same situation with Django Unchained - I'll be in the cinema for this movie but I've already seen it via a high quality screener sent out to critics was leaked to the web - AND IT'S FUCKING EXCELLENT!
Screeners have leaked since Napster popularized illegal file sharing. Illegal copies of “This is 40,” “Lincoln,” and even more recent releases like “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Django Unchained” have become available in recent days. And these are not dodgy copies done by some arse hiding in the back of the cinema with a camcorder but high quality studio copies - the Hollywood studios send out screeners to critics, hoping to gin up critical conversation before the movies are made available on DVD or Blu-Ray. Each copy has an encryption or is watermarked in some way so if it does leak to the Internet the studios are able to determine just how it got there, and whom to strike from the screener mailing list next year.
Now I won't buy a pirated movie - not only because the quality is often bad but because I don't think it is right to do so, but if I can see a movie like Django Unchained immediately rather than wait weeks for it to his UK screens that I will do, and have done. Do I feel guilty? No not at all - I'll be there in the Cinema and I'll buy the DVD when it comes out, but having to read all the glowing American reviews and then be expected to wait weeks for the movie is bullshit. So maybe the studios need to wake up to reality and release their movies simultaneously around the world.
It's crazy in a world with the world wide web, to stagger film releases. Just as it's crazy for studios to spend a fortune taking fans to court which whilst resulting in convictions only create bad public relations with customers.The basic fact the movie studios need to realize is that there's something cool about an outlaw, but nothing good about big business litigating against movie fans.
Ahh well it's a tricky one but all I will say is - "That Django's a bloody good film, ah indeed Jim Lad and I'm certainly going to hand over my pieces of eight when UK screens finally get to show this movie, which could be the best western in decades.