So my stance on piracy is a slightly complicated one, and I will devote a whole post to it at some point in the future. But in a general sort of sense, I am against piracy in most forms, with a few exceptions, and one of them is movies. Movies are an interesting form of media because the average person paired with the average movie is not very likely to repeat the experience. Let me elaborate. Try to picture every movie ever made, and between the internet, Netflix, and the video store, that is exactly what you have access to. in the whole wide world of movie how many would you actually be willing to see?
Not a significant fraction, however this is still a really huge number we’re talking about and when you are dealing with number that big even insignificant fraction are pretty massive. So even with a pretty reasonable ten percent, we’re probably talking like thousands of movies that the average person would willingly sit through at least once. Not surprising that so many folks want in on this action. But here’s the catch, how many of those few thousand movie would you watch more than once? Its probably a similar fraction. Which means that for average person the number of movies they actually like numbers in the hundreds.
And this is where we enter the realm of owning a movie in one format or another and in this area we have to eliminate even more. Because the average person will probably not buy a movie they have not seen. And this is the premise of the theatrical release, from the studio’s perspective. Now I realize that there is more to swing a movie than simply being an audition for your DVD purchase list. But you have to concede that it IS a factor. After all how many times have you walked out of an excellent movie theater saying to yourself or a friend ” Yup, Definitely going to buy that when it comes out.” ? Or when walking out of a so-so film saying ” it was okay, but I wouldn’t watch it again.
And this moment is what it’s all about for the studio and publishers of a film. The movie is one big pay-per-view advertisment for the DVD, and it is here, at the line between ad and purchase that the issue of piracy comes into contention. The real financial power behind the film industry does not care if you never are the film in theaters as long as you buy a copy of it for for you and all your friends. But being realistic they will settle for you and all your friends buying one each for yourself. And barring that they will take just you (“you” being some significant chunk of the population) buying a copy.
And here’s the rub. In my opinion of there is a movie that you plan on watching more than three times in your life then you should buy a copy for yourself, legally, and preferably new since the secondary market doesn’t help any of the creatives at all. You buy a new copy to support the people who make the things you like. Otherwise I don’t see the real harm in downloading a torrent of a newish movie that you haven’t seen yet after all for you, the average person who will seldom decide to purchase a movie before you see it, it is no different than borrowing a friends copy to see of you like it before a purchase is made. Though the tricky bit is when the first bit of this paragraph is disregarded and you find someone, yourself even, saying when seeing a new movie come out “Meh, I’ll wait till the DVD comes out” and then they just download the torrent instead.
Still, ever the optimist I still hold out a vague hope that the majority of people are essentially good. I also think that as crowd sources becomes more common place that people will become more aware of what they are paying for and see the worth in giving that money to the production of the things they like. Anyways I think that that is about all I have say on that matter. Though I may have to make time to write about some of the other forms of piracy in the future.
For now I will just say that without the support of the fans (and yes that does mean financial support) all of the arts, from music, to sculpting, to theatre, will no longer have a means of functioning. Not only are government funded art projects seldom seen they are even less frequently interesting or innovative and so it fall to the public to make sure that the things worth paying for get their dues.
And that’s my take on owing movies.