Hollywood and their lawyers are all agog at the audacity of ‘pirates’ who would dare to steal their multi-million dollar productions in order to (gasp) watch them. The news is regularly reporting some lawsuit or another in which lawyers of one group or another are suing someone (ranging from little old ladies to underage children to search engines) for pirating their films.
So far, Tinsel Town’s reaction to the Internet has largely been to sue the heck out of it and attempt to use force to bend technology to their will. On the up side, they’ve created a large job-creating industry of Digital Rights Management (DRM) inventors and engineers (and lawyers) to protect their property. That has, of course, spawned an equally large, underground industry that works to circumvent or undermine those DRM technologies.
It seems that as fast as a film is printed and sent to (the new, digital version of) the film canister, someone with a patch over one eye and a penchant for skull motifs has made their own copies and sent it live to the Internet at large.
Now, a new site made by pirates who claim white hats, Movies.io, is aiming to show Hollywood what it should be doing instead of pushing against the current. Currently, Hollywood is perched on the wrong side of the tidal wave and paddling frantically to get over to the other side. It’s a fight that, any surfer can tell you, they’ll lose.
Movies.io is, basically, a movies Torrent database that finds, catalogs, and indexes movies available for download via the wonderful world of software torrents. The site itself doesn’t host any torrents, it just links to them (called ‘magnet links’ in the world of ‘Arrg, thar she downloads!’). This ploy has been attempted by sites in the past, hoping to bypass the technical legalities that allow them to be sued. Information, after all, is free and they’re just giving people information. What those people do with it is their affair. Right?
It should be, but that’s not how it always is. Regardless, it’s a ploy that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. In the end, it’s irrelevant here.
What is relevant is that Hollywood will definitely notice Movies.io, but they’ll almost assuredly notice them for the wrong reason. They’ll see the site as just another pirate ship out to rob them of their booty. Yet again, they’ll fail to see the shift in the winds and the dead water in which they tread.
Hollywood is due for a massive wakeup call. In fact, a simple call may not be enough. They’ll need something more. Maybe a blockbuster action thriller that weaves a swatch of destruction throughout downtown Los Angeles with favouritism for Beverly Hills and the Studio District. Maybe a sort of re-location shoot of Pirates of the Caribbean, but with more stuff getting blown up. In short, they don’t need a phone call so much as they need a wrecking ball through the bedroom ceiling.
The film industry just can’t seem to get a grasp on the fact that services like Movies.io are the future. This is the way content is going – in fact, it’s the way content has largely already gone, with the exception of the gigantic publishing and production houses that just can’t seem to see their own irrelevance anymore.
Book publishers are getting the picture (Ahoy! finally) and publishing houses are slowly, but surely, moving into the new realm of digital delivery. It’s time for Hollywood to wake up and do the same.