Tag Archives: Hollywood

Piratkopiering förstör för fri kultur

Do it your fucking self. Picture: CC:by-sa @ Wikimedia

Det är en tvist på ett gammalt slagord: “Piratkopiering förstör för fritt licensierat material”, t.ex. film, musik och fri mjukvara.

Tanken är att om vanligt folk, varav de flesta piratkopierar, faktiskt hade behövt konkret betala för t.ex. Microsoft Windows skulle ingen använda skiten och gå över direkt till t.ex. en fri Linux-distribution. Hade folk faktiskt behövt betala för film och musik skulle ingen av dagens “kändisar” idag vara lika stor som de är – för de fria alternativen hade styrt konsumtionen (free speech, not free beer).

Jag skrev nyligen ett inlägg om detta på UmeTVs hemsida gällande en artikel i Västerbottens Kuriren om att en bioaktuell film har visats på lokal-tv i Umeå.

Min konkreta åsikt är att den film som VK-artikeln nämner (en generisk coola-effekter-hollywood-tönt-manus om superhjältetonåringar) aldrig någonsin bör ha producerats i den aktuella regin. Om något så verkar den mest vara en B-film med hög budget.

Jag har inte ens tänkt bemöda mig med att ladda hem och titta på den. Den förtjänar inte den uppmärksamheten och ej heller att nämnas med namn på min blogg.

Sådana filmer får gärna produceras, kultur kan ju inte jag hävda vara globalt sett dålig. Men när man använder sig av ett multimediamonopol som den svenska biografens värld faktiskt är, som resultat av Hollywoodrövslickeri… Då tycker jag det är rent ut sagt moraliskt apkasst. Producera gärna filmen, men gör det utanför upphovsrättskartellernas järnhänder. Och inte med pengar som ändå bars spenderas på s.k. “frukt och blommor” i slutänden. Dvs knark och horor för kändisarna.

Men var är då “utanför upphovsrättsindustrins järnhänder”? Jo, kika på t.ex. VODO.net som är en lovande tjänst för Creative Commons-film av diverse slag. Därigenom kan du enkelt ladda hem film gratis som du får sprida till vänner – samtidigt som du kan stödja producenterna. Det finns såväl långfilmer som kortfilmer och serie-avsnitt där – allt under en fri licensiering

För ni vet väl att det är olagligt att visa en DVD eller lyssna på musik i annat sällskap än din absolut, närmsta umgängeskrets. Om du inte betalar extra förstås. Utöver skivan.

Det enda sättet att ha en socialt acceptabel miljö för upplevelsekultur är fria licenser. Dagens upphovsrättsindustri, må den leva en kort tid och aldrig få visa filmer på UmeTV, är långt ifrån en önskvärd förebild för kulturälskaren.

Att sedan piratkopiering är ett sätt att bibehålla en demokratisk anda i samhället när rättsväsende, regeringar och övriga myndigheter försämras nästan dagligen, det är en helt annan story. Men då snackar vi inte piratkopiering av hjärnbedövande, överbekostad B-film, det är ett som är säkert.

Paying for a movie (or supporting Creative Commons)

Being an active promoter of filesharing, people ask me “how will the artists/filmmakers get paid?” every once in a while. Usually I respond with either of these alternatives:

  • The same way they always have gotten paid: delivering an experience, not copies.
  • Artists/filmmakers don’t get paid today nor have they ever gotten paid.

Both statements are correct, though they differ in context, depending on the definition of “artist/filmmaker”. Either you speak of established filmmakers – those who produce for your everyday cinema – in which the first statement is correct. For these people a movie itself doesn’t mean money – they have to make it “sellable” in the sense of adapted to every possible viewer. Through the centralized and narrow-minded Hollywood, however, there are few enough films made to cash in this way using the big herd of movie watchers who don’t bother choosing movies.

By choosing movies I speak in the sense of actually discovering other sources than what’s force-fed through your standard media monglomerate monstrosity. Alternative distribution styles, independent labels/studios or maybe even just older movies in general – perhaps produced before the viewer was even born. Going to the cinema (or using most pay-per-view services) and looking at the schedule is not choosing.

The second statement, that creative people don’t get money, is correct in the sense of independents and those who haven’t already established themselves in the industry. The people who create because they want to and not because they signed a deal to write 15 songs in a year or deliver 3 identical movies featuring Tom Hanks. I’m talking about the films you previously never got to see because it was too expensive to create, distribute and reach out to an audience.

So how does one finance a movie without already having a huge herd of sheep at your doorstep, ready to pay $10-15 for a visit to the cinema and then $20 for the DVD? I’m not entirely sure how they did it, but the production of The Tunnel might provide that answer. I just “bought” 25 frames – one second – of that movie, meaning I donated $25 to the project. That’s more than I’ve paid for Hollywood crap-flicks the last 10 years. And this movie will be free to redistribute at no cost.

For more information on the phenomenon called “the Long Tail” and probabilistic distribution I’d definitely recommend starting with the book by Chris Anderson.
Go to your local library and borrow it for free.

Previously I have promoted and helped raise attention to Creative Commons-licensed films such as Nasty Old People, though I did not support it financially. That specific production however, as well as other free films, seem to have made it fine anyway thanks to other people supporting it. As with any film production it requires taking a risk, but from what I can see there have been relatively small problems for actually good, well-produced films to finance themselves in order to gain a profit. Star Wreck (2005) is a marvellous example of a €15,000 budget movie catching attention and eventually making it possible to finance a €6,500,000 production called Iron Sky – set to be released in 2011.

But let’s return to The Tunnel, set to be released on torrent trackers in late 2010. It was denied an IMDb listing (until they release it) due to not using an “official” distribution channel, they also somehow mark the dawn of a new age in filmmaking and project funding. IMDb notes that they do feature films distributed via BitTorrent, not explicitly saying – but giving the impression – that they don’t want to give the film possible credits required to “be serious”. Who knows, The Tunnel may very well be a trick to collect $135,000 and close the project?

My hopes however are in the finalization and distribution of the movie before December 2010. This in order to show it as part of the 2010 edition of Common Culture of Umeå, a short festival promoting free culture such as that which is licensed Creative Commons.

Having donated $25 I count it as no more than 2 ordinary cinema visits (only one if you count the overpriced popcorn). $25 also counts to approximately one newly released DVD. Though neither of those alternatives give you any right to redistribute the film to anyone else – ever. Keep in mind that you can’t (legally) invite your friends for a movie night using an ordinary DVD release. That sucks and is why I never pay for anything non-Free.

Creative Commons however gives you social freedom, free culture and the right to redistribute.

Digital sales are up, DRM will bring’em down

Apparently a new copyright “protection” scheme DECE, entirely dependant on hardware, is in development. Unfortunately the people who decided on this don’t know that what can be done in hardware can be done in software. And Kopimi is unstoppable, mostly because of the analog hole. What’s interesting is how the article reflects on optical media versus digital sales:

DVD and Blu-ray revenues contribute significantly to Hollywood’s bottom line, but spending on those discs is dropping sharply. It declined 3.2 percent to $4 billion in the third quarter of last year. Digital sales were up nearly 20 percent in the quarter, but amounted to a relatively paltry $420 million.

Physical sales are down, digital sales are up. Profits are increasingly rising and every part of the music, movie and other types of media industry except the optical media part. Considering how bad optical media is for technology, the environment and for the purpose of generating a profit for creators, I see this as a good development.

It declined 3.2 percent to $4 billion in the third quarter of last year. Digital sales were up nearly 20 percent in the quarter, but amounted to a relatively paltry $420 million.

A bird once told me that distributing and storing digital material i by far less than 1/10 of doing the same with physical matter such as pieces of plastic and aluminum. The costs merely related to gasoline in optical media distribution probably outweighs the cost of digitally distributing the music to twice the amount of people at better quality. And that’s not counting production, storage and employees at supermarkets.

What strikes me the most in the article is how consumers are portrayed (betrayed) by the person in focus in the article: Mitch Singer, the president of the DECE and chief technology officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to know what’s inside,” he said. “They should just know it will play.”

Jeez. Consumers may be sheep in general, but can’t we at least try to enlighten people? Knowledge is power. Use this power to the greatest benefit. Stop buying DRM:ed crap. Or in this case, products that are part of the “Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem”. There’s something much better out there, and it’s called the internet.