Those who dismiss concerns about copyright piracy always deflect the conversation to the big Hollywood studios, as if piracy only affects extremely wealthy people driving around in Bentleys. It’s not surprising that defenders of piracy tend to be class warriors in other areas of politics as well.
But the greatest impact of piracy is on those downstream small businesses and employees who work in the industry. Losses due to piracy, at the margin, affect the number of people hired, how much they are paid, and how many projects are undertaken in the first place.
But then there’s the indie filmmaker, for whom the entire project is being done on a shoestring. When everything is being done with marginal resources, marginal impacts have a major impact. The same protections that would protect the major Hollywood studios against rampant piracy would be even more beneficial to the little guys.
There’s a very interesting article up on FilmSchoolRejects.com about filmmaker Zak Forsman and the experience he’s having with piracy of his new indie film, Down and Dangerous.
Forsman assumed piracy of his film, of course, so he made a point of watermarking each print that was sent to a festival, screener or distributor. It wasn’t long before pirated copies started showing up all over the world, of course on torrent and other sites, but also packaged physical copies of the DVD.
Forsman is frustrated with those who dismiss the impact of piracy
Now it would be ridiculous to count all 10,000 downloaded torrents as lost revenue. But if only 10% of those could have been converted to legit sales, that’s another $7,000 we could have grossed. Not a massive amount of money, but to an outfit that crowdfunded a $38,000 budget to make the sucker, it’s significant.
And that’s primarily why I wanted to share my experience with piracy. I’ve seen a fair amount of people dismiss it as something that doesn’t affect indies in a meaningful way.