Comment on: Pirate Bay doc gets online boost
I was at Sundance and the World Documentary categories for which Simon Klose's film was not selected, included documentaries on many important cultural, social and political issues. I would suggest to him that selected films such as "The Square" about the Arab Spring and "Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer" are much more relevant and genuine to the discussion of the issues of censorship and freedom of speech, than his film about a bunch of people who cynically mis-appropriate the issues in an attempt to create cover for their criminal activities. It's perfectly reasonable for Sundance to judge Simon Klose's film as less important in comparison - and for him to cry censorship is preposterous. He's either being cynical or has an over-glorified sense of his own self importance. Freedom of speech gives Sundance the editorial freedom to both select and not select whatever it wants. For him to regard non-selection by Sundance as a form of censorship - goes against the principles that he falsely purports to defend. When it comes to the Youtube "views", these figures are nothing exceptional. Go on Youtube and you will find many thousands of uploads with seven figure stats achieved without the publicity campaign mounted for this doc. The internet and youtube invariably exaggerates the audience. For most one takes 1% or less to gauge the real audience potential.
There is this frustrating mentality where films are expected to be available for nothing on the grounds that it's education. I was recently approached to screen a film that I repped for an educational event - but their policy was that "we don't pay screening fees because it's education". When I asked the organisers if they was waiving their salaries for their time on the event, or if their publicity leaflets were designed and printed for free or if their website was being updated voluntarily etc etc. There was silence - of course they were all being paid normally. Why should filmmakers and the sales agents or distributors that represent them be the odd ones out and be expected to provide films for nothing? How exactly are filmmakers expected to support themselves? Furthermore what's the point in educating the next generation about films and media if the practice is to make it as difficult as possible to earn a living from the artform? John Flahive Wavelength Pictures
Comment on: Pirate Bay film to be distributed for free
When he says “I am just saying that the focus should be on finding new business models" Simon Klose is only repeating a well-worn tactic of pirates to create the impression amongst the public at large that piracy is somehow the fault of the industry. This totally self serving and dishonest, the only purpose of which is to promote the notion that it's OK to frequent pirate sites. As for this equally dishonest criticism of the role of "middlemen" - Pirate Bay themselves perform a middleman role albeit an illegal one. Instead of dealing with filmmakers and creators and paying advances or revenue shares, Pirate Bay just steals from honest middlemen by ripping off copies from their releases (both niche and major releases) and keeping all proceeds from their activites for their own benefit. This is organised crime at work. I'm not so naive as to believe that a world without piracy will ever be achieved. There will always be crime where the possibility or motiviation for it exists. In this piracy is no different to shoplifting, burglary or even online crime such as the phishing emails that prey on us all. However it is possible to limit is prevalence just like any other crime. I will of course watch Simon Klose's documentary for which I would of course prefer to pay. However his public pronouncements so far are not promising in terms of the credibility of his documentary.
I'm sure Film & Media undergraduates would be capable of appreciating that there is a relationship between levels of piracy and their future job prospects. Revenue lost by the industry to piracy basically equals less money available to employ people. The industry is failing to put that message across.
No surprises here. The low numbers that regards it as morally wrong to illegally download is significantly due to a failure by the film industry to even try to influence opinion. Whilst its important to get new laws passed and pursue court judgements to shut down and/or block pirate sites, that on its own is not enough. Film and music industries employ thousands of people, and the acceptablility of illegal downloading would diminish if for example the public understood the link between piracy and the dole queues, which the everyday taxpayer has to pay for. Piracy has evolved into a form of organised crime and it has fostered lobby groups that work to frustrate law enforcement and influence public opinion - particularly by promoting (absurd) notions that piracy equals freedom of speech. It's developed this to such as sophisticated degree that Google and Wikipedia were basically finessed into sharing a platform to frustrate the SOPA and FIPA bills in Congress. Our industry needs to get its message across and not just dump the battle against piracy on the legal depts.