John August, the director of hit movie ‘The Nines’ said he wouldn’t hold it against BitTorrent users who downloaded his movie. So what exactly does he mean by this? TorrentFreak caught up with John who shared some more of his thoughts on piracy with us.
He’s not exactly pleased that his movie is available for unauthorized download, but he’s remaining realistic. “I’m not bouncy with joy over my movie getting torrented,” he told us, “but I think it’s a stretch to equate unlawful downloading with traditional theft.”
Many people in the copyright debate agree that personal use is much different to physical theft, with many drawing the moral line where personal use ends and commercial piracy starts. John seems to do the same: “I get pissed off when I see blackmarket DVDs sold on the sidewalks, because those are literally discs we’re not selling. It’s an organized crime. But an individual watching a movie he’s downloaded for free isn’t on the same scale for me.”
So how does John view the usefulness of BitTorrent for marketing purposes? He told us: “The pro-torrent argument, particularly for indie films which get limited distribution (like The Nines), is that a torrent allows a lot of people to see the movie who otherwise couldn’t. And yes, a filmmaker wants his work seen.”
Of course, monetizing content is something that film makers have to consider, as John explains: “[the filmaker] wants to be paid for his efforts. No matter where you work – an office, a factory, a retail store – you do your job with the expectation of getting paid. If your employer decided he didn’t want to pay you, you’d be upset. If the employer said, ‘Well, the customers decided to take the products without paying for them,’ you’d rightly tell him to get off his fat ass and hire a security guard.”
Many discussions about the ‘solutions’ to piracy touch heavily on the need for more reasonable, appropriate laws and greater ease of access to legal content. John seems to be of a similar view: “There are lots of things that can and should be free – or at least freer. Copyright needs to be re-thunk, particularly in terms of corporations and their endless time limits. And legitimate, convenient alternatives need to be available, so that’s it’s not any more difficult to find and download a movie legally.”
Finally, John told us about an interesting idea he’s hoping budding film makers will pick up on: “One of the things I hope to do with The Nines – sometime after the writers’ strike, when I can call Sony again – is to release a low-res version of all the source material for The Nines, so budding filmmakers can try their hand at cutting (and re-cutting) a real feature.”
John finishes up with a thought about the motivation behind someone downloading his movie: “I’m watching this first wave of torrents carefully, hoping the people who are downloading The Nines are doing it because they love movies, and not because they want to screw over some mythical ‘The Man’”
Meanwhile, TorrentFreak attributes Steal This Film II’s success to the creators’ wise avoidance of psychological reactance, which states that people are inclined to respond in a manner opposite of the rules when it inhibits behavioral freedom
You know it makes sense.