Online piracy is rampant for films. Even our small indie films can be found for free online. It sucks.
As it is, indie filmmakers struggle to earn a living making movies. With piracy, we are losing out on major revenue that could allow us to be financially stable and pay our investors back so we can keep making more films.
We aren't huge studios with deep pockets. Every film sale or rental helps us keep the lights on. Should producers of quality product be forced to find temp jobs to survive when their films could be supporting them if only they weren't being stolen?
To rub salt in our wounds, web sites like Pirate Bay actually think it's funny that filmmakers want to protect their work that they spent millions creating and now have to spend years recouping. They go so far as to ridicule anyone who sends them Takedown Notices. Here are some choice quotes from their responses to Takedown Notices (from their Web site here):
- We would like to refer you to our Legal Threats section, on which we, while having much fun, ridicule people like you. Thank you for your contribution.
- Hello and thank you for contacting us. We have shut down the website in question. Oh wait, just kidding. We haven't, since the site in question is fully legal. Unlike certain other countries, such as the one you're in we have sane copyright laws here. But we also have polar bears roaming the streets and attacking people.
- ...and I would like to refer you to the relevant court cases. Unfortunately, our legal team partied quite heavily last night, so the only reference I can provide you with is Hogsta Domstolen (the Swedish Supreme Court) NJA 1996 page 79.
- Damnit. You got us there. Now I'm scared I pissed my pants. Where should I send the invoice for cleaning them?
- You have scored 10 out of 10 points on our Legal Threats Entertainment scale. You win the grand prize: A lifetime of ridicule on our legal threats section (http://static.thepiratebay.org/legal/)! Congratulations!
- Please also note that I'm not currently out of toilet paper, so you may wait a while before sending legal papers.
- Please don't sue us right now, our lawyer is passed out in an alley from too much moonshine, so please at least wait until he's found and doesn't have a huge hangover...
- It is the opinion of us and our lawyers that you are ....... morons, and that you should please go sodomize yourself with retractable batons.
These responses are ridiculous. A professional Web site will honestly call others morons and tell them to go sodomize themselves? Sane copyright laws means it's okay to help content be stolen? Now who's insane?
These sites mock content creators and act as if they aren't culpable in copyright infringement. That's like saying you shouldn't be charged as an accessory to murder because you didn't actually pull the trigger.
Well, it's time to fight back. I have spent hours tracking down links that offer our films for free. But recently my biz partner Jade found this site that helps us find the pirates: Muso.com.
We've signed up and so far, it's found almost 500 links that should come down. That's a lot of links!
I have no idea if this site will really work but we're giving it a try and I'll report back. All I know is we need to fight for our films and revenue. Our livelihoods depend on it. And no, we aren't morons. We're victims.
A call for change: For anyone who thinks it's harmless to use torrents and watch content for free from illegal sites, please think about the filmmakers who made that film that you are enjoying. We are just like you with bills and families to support. We can only survive and thrive and make more films for you to enjoy if you pay for our work. Independent filmmakers often work for free to make their films because we believe in entertaining the world with stories above and beyond what the studios can provide and we RELY on our earnings from rentals and sales to live. I understand entertainment can be expensive, but it's very costly to make as well. We can't keep providing entertainment if it's going to keep getting stolen. Please stop using these sites and help us survive.