Piracy From A Film Student’s Perspective

I was recently asked the question of whether or not I would offer any film I made for free via peer-to-peer or Bittorrent. It didn’t take me long to respond with a resounding “hell no,” and I’ll explain why. Back in the day, I was quite the swashbuckler. When confronted on the issue, I would defend my lecherous ways to the teeth by exclaiming such proverbs as “fuck the man” and “the MPAA are jerk-faces!” If I was feeling particularly rowdy, I would just say something along the lines of “lol butts.” However, things changed for me and I did a 180 on how I view the whole “piracy” issue. This happened as I walked onstage and accepted my fake diploma, along with the germs of the President of Columbia College.

Fuck.

My career IS film.

If you think about it, the movies you see on screen are the result of hundreds of people working their asses off to create an end product that you can enjoy at your leisure. When you get it for free and share that free-ness with others, you’re essentially punching all those people in the nuts and stealing their lunch money. Do I need to give you a worse metaphor? Fine! When you decide to download Wolverine: X-Men Harder instead of paying to see it, you’re killing babies.

The argument that films these days are just too expensive has always been strange to me. When you go out to the bar, you usually blow anywhere from $20-$40 depending on your level of alcoholism. When you go out to eat at a place that isn’t Popeyes or McDonalds, you’ll probably put away somewhere in the ballpark of $10. Sporting events of any kind usually drain you more than a movie ticket’s worth. And what about matinee prices? What about second run theaters?

As I enter into the realm of filmmaking, I can’t help but think about all the people out there who feel it’s their right to watch a movie and never compensate anyone for it. Girl’s gotta eat, folks!

  • Tom

    While I agree with what you are saying, I can't help but point out that some people chalk it up to “try before you buy”, with film, music, and more. The promise is that if they like something, they will pay for it, but I can't help but wonder if they like something, and they already have it for free…. Why would they bother to go back and buy it?

    Thoughts?

  • Tom

    While I agree with what you are saying, I can’t help but point out that some people chalk it up to “try before you buy”, with film, music, and more. The promise is that if they like something, they will pay for it, but I can’t help but wonder if they like something, and they already have it for free…. Why would they bother to go back and buy it?

    Thoughts?

    • With television, I first try to watch the show / episode through legal channels like Hulu, the show’s site or on tv itself. I’ve bought a few episodes here and there on itunes just so I could catch up. But for shows on premium channels like HBO or Showtime, where they don’t have a means for you to get them other than pay for their channels, I resort to swashbuckling. However, Netflix has greatly reduced my need for this since they are now streaming some of their tv box sets on the site, like Weeds, etc.

      I don’t try film before buying, or at least I haven’t in a long time. I pay subscriptions to Neflix and rent movies I know I’m not going to buy. Since I’m going into the film industry, I’ve been very big on supporting the filmmakers by going to their movies when they come out in theaters.

      Music…well…I’ve adopted the try before buying because I’m broke as a joke. I know full well which albums I still need to make official and plan to when I get the chance.

      My two cents. :)

  • With television, I first try to watch the show / episode through legal channels like Hulu, the show's site or on tv itself. I've bought a few episodes here and there on itunes just so I could catch up. But for shows on premium channels like HBO or Showtime, where they don't have a means for you to get them other than pay for their channels, I resort to swashbuckling. However, Netflix has greatly reduced my need for this since they are now streaming some of their tv box sets on the site, like Weeds, etc.

    I don't try film before buying, or at least I haven't in a long time. I pay subscriptions to Neflix and rent movies I know I'm not going to buy. Since I'm going into the film industry, I've been very big on supporting the filmmakers by going to their movies when they come out in theaters.

    Music…well…I've adopted the try before buying because I'm broke as a joke. I know full well which albums I still need to make official and plan to when I get the chance.

    My two cents. :)

  • With television, I first try to watch the show / episode through legal channels like Hulu, the show's site or on tv itself. I've bought a few episodes here and there on itunes just so I could catch up. But for shows on premium channels like HBO or Showtime, where they don't have a means for you to get them other than pay for their channels, I resort to swashbuckling. However, Netflix has greatly reduced my need for this since they are now streaming some of their tv box sets on the site, like Weeds, etc.

    I don't try film before buying, or at least I haven't in a long time. I pay subscriptions to Neflix and rent movies I know I'm not going to buy. Since I'm going into the film industry, I've been very big on supporting the filmmakers by going to their movies when they come out in theaters.

    Music…well…I've adopted the try before buying because I'm broke as a joke. I know full well which albums I still need to make official and plan to when I get the chance.

    My two cents. :)