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Movies Piracy The Almighty Buck

Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most 214

Posted by samzenpus
from the boosting-sales dept.
First time accepted submitter SillyBoy123 writes What is the impact of file sharing releases on the movie industry? Ask the studios and they will say billions. An economist named Koleman Strumph is presenting a paper at the National Bureau of Economics this week that tries to estimate the crowd out from these releases. His conclusion: "I find that file sharing has only a modest impact on box office revenue." In fact, Strumph finds that file sharing before the official release of a movie can actually be beneficial to revenues: "One consistent result is that file sharing arrivals shortly before the theatrical opening have a modest positive effect on box office revenue. One explanation is that such releases create greater awareness of the film. This is also the period of heaviest advertising. In conjunction with the main estimates, this suggests that free and potentially degraded goods such as the lower quality movies available on file sharing networks can have some beneficial effects on intellectual property."

Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

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  • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday July 14, 2014 @09:51AM (#47448101)

    That all the work to prevent piracy of movies is paying off.

    Good work Hollywood!

    • by tomhath (637240) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:11AM (#47448265)

      What he can't study is the that impact unlimited file sharing would have on major studio pictures. All he can say is that restricting piracy to only those people who are willing to make the extra effort and take the (albeit) small risk has the double benefit of stirring up some interest while still encouraging most people to pay.

      So it's reasonable to say that Hollywood's efforts to control piracy is working quite well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why not? Look at the profit of stuff that can be shared freely, for example because of no copyright, or perhaps because its foreign and people don't expect to get sued over it. A good example could be porn. I doubt many people feel bad for downloading porn for free, and they probably don't even think twice about risk of copyright infringement. So if porn is still profitable, then perhaps piracy isn't that big a problem. Perhaps the old model or price you sell at is no longer acceptable in the market. Perhap

      • by jeIIomizer (3670945) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:40AM (#47448505)

        So it's reasonable to say that Hollywood's efforts to control piracy is working quite well.

        Without hard scientific proof of that, no, it is not reasonable.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          They were losing trillions of dollars a day before their efforts and probably are only able to write down a few hundred billion in losses at the hands of these insidious thieves. I'd say you'd be a fool to not think their efforts were worth it.
          • Where is that listed in the report? Your conclusions are wrong. The paper talked about versions of a movie being shared BEFORE it was released in theaters. So obviously any anti piracy efforts won't work on this type of material.
    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday July 14, 2014 @11:35AM (#47448955)

      That all the work to prevent piracy of movies is paying off.

      By far the best way to prevent piracy is to make it convenient for people to pay to see the movie. I have a Netflix account, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV. Yet 90% of the movies I want to watch, even relatively old titles, are not available for streaming. So I can either pirate or not watch the movie. It is easy for me to rationalize the piracy, since the alternative (not watching) also results in zero revenue for the studio. I would pay for the movie if it was available.

      • While I agree with you in principle, I hope you're either non-US or quite well off.
        Otherwise, prepare for an unpleasant visit from some humorless MAFIAA (Music And Film Industry Associations of America) personnel.
        Have you learned nothing from Snowden and what's-her-name?

      • That argument probably isn't so true.
        If you really wanted to see it, and there wasn't a black market channel to get it, you will probably go to other methods, Renting the DVD form the library, or buying it in the store. However a lot of the stuff you watch you probably won't take the extra step, because the movies are convenient that means you are watching more of them.

        • Renting the DVD form the library, or buying it in the store.

          This doesn't work for me. My wife and I don't watch movies alone, only together. We are both workaholic nerds, and when we are both free to watch, and in the mood for the same type of movie, it is always a random spur-of-the moment thing. Renting a DVD requires far too much prior planning.

  • "Lower quality"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by kruach aum (1934852) on Monday July 14, 2014 @09:58AM (#47448149)

    Pretty sure bluray and dvd rips have a significantly higher quality than what is commercially available, as they have all the unskippable bullshit stripped out.

    • Re:"Lower quality"? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Stewie241 (1035724) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:09AM (#47448241)

      The KPI they are looking at is box office revenue. So, yes, the trailers are obviously unskippable. But it could be argued that many people don't have the same quality AV setup in their homes that the theaters have. The quality is determined by two things - one, the quality of the source material and the quality of the venue and playback equipment.

      Now what I wonder is whether the shared movie's availability helps draw more people to the box office, or whether it instead draws more people already going to the box office towards a particular film. i.e. does it make the pie bigger or does it increase the size of the slice that a particular movie gets?

      • Indeed, but there is an important detail in quality of the venue that you've glossed over. Only very rarely has a home viewing of mine been interrupted by shitheads who won't stop talking (or these days, won't stop destroying the darkness with their maglite-like phones), little kids throwing popcorn, or littler kids crying. When you also take into consideration that you can pause, rewind and fast-forward movies on your computer, the cost-benefit analysis of going out vs. staying in gets much more complicate

        • In addition, renting a film vs seeing a film in a theater is significantly cheaper. If I want to take my family (2 adults, 2 kids) to a movie in a theater, it usually costs about $40 - and we don't even buy popcorn or anything else. This is just "get your ticket and take a seat" costs.

          It's been awhile since I actually rented a film from a physical video store, so let's take Amazon VOD rentals for our cost example, Renting an HD movie costs about $4.99. Buying it costs about $20. Buying the Blu-Ray or DV

        • by nblender (741424)

          It's a rare venue that will allow my wife to show up in her lingerie and then hit pause partway through the film so she can jump me ...

          I don't understand the movie industry's penchant for penalizing people by forcing them to go to a public place to watch their fresh releases...

        • Re:"Lower quality"? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Stewie241 (1035724) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:56AM (#47448641)

          I did gloss it over in my write up though I did not forget it. I somewhat addressed that in my closing question. To expand, I think that there are some people who just enjoy going to the movies. For whatever reason, for them, all the risks of the annoying behaviour that you describe together with the cost are shadowed by the pleasure of their experience. Maybe it is just about doing something out in public, or whatever. I dunno. If we assume this, then it is possible that the pre-release leak of the movie would incline their choice of movie (given that they've *already* decided to go to the theater) towards a new release that just became available in pirated form.

          I personally find $25 to see a movie with my wife a bit hard to swallow and tend to only go on somebody else's suggest (to be social), but some people really enjoy the theater experience and would pay regardless of whether the film is available in pirated form or not.

          My suspicion is that file sharing would only affect the segment of people who value being up on the latest movies but don't value the theatre experience.

          As an aside, the report at http://www.mpaa.org/wp-content... [mpaa.org] provides some interesting statistics about ticket sale volume (in summary, "2012 U.S./Canada box office was $10.8 billion, up 6% compared to $10.2 billion in 2011, and up 12% from five
          years ago.", "The 2012 increase in U.S./Canada box office was due to an equivalent increase in admissions (6%) compared to
          2011, as admissions reached 1.36 billion,", "More than two-thirds of the U.S./Canada population (68%) – or 225 million people – went to the movies at least
          once in 2012, consistent with prior years."

          If you assume piracy has been increasing over the last few years then the stats that MPAA is releasing don't really seem to lead to the conclusion that it is affecting ticket sales in a negative fashion.

          • by MitchDev (2526834)

            I think the "theater experience" is largely the most hated part of new movies.

            The concessions prices, volume levels, other patrons, inability to pause as needed, etc are just too much hassle and not worth the "big screen" and "big audio"

            • by geekoid (135745)

              ".. inability to pause as needed, .."
              not being able to sit still for two hours is an indicator of the patrons inabilities, not the movie experiences.

              I love going to the Cinema. Granted, I usually try to go friday early afternoon, and I rarely buy concessions. Sometime nostalgia kick in and i'll indulge a little.

              I would go in the evening if there was an usher there to toss people out. I'd pay a couple extra bucks a ticket for that.

        • by MitchDev (2526834)

          Don't forget "Closed Captioning" in most movies where the dialog as at "Whisper"-level and the background music/sound effects are at "END OF THE FUCKING WORLD"-LOUD.

    • The paper goes into some detail regarding the latest X-Men movie, where there were 7million downloads of a pre-production work copy of the movie, and, with heavy news coverage, it could be assumed that everyone seeing the movie would know it could have been downloaded for free. Even there, the small, positive bump in revenue was found. That's the smoking gun, IMHO.

    • by MitchDev (2526834)

      Amen to that.

      I don't care about Disney's other movies/videos/DVDs/ "Fast Play"-feature (what a lie that is) or any publishers. I want to put in the disc, hit play, and get right in to the movie, not sit through 20 minutes of "This feature is currently diasbled by the content" while my daughter (or wife) complains about why aren't I starting the show yet....

    • they have all the unskippable bullshit stripped out.

      EXACTLY! Exact"fcuking"ly!

      I'm in the UK and whenever we go to the cinema and one of those really annoying FACT warnings appears, she tells me to "sssh!" because she knows I'm about to start a rant. "I've already paid for the fcuking film! Stop bugging me with all this crap!". Murderers get less time time than potentially available for copywrite infringers.

      The only people that don't have to watch those bloody annoying warnings that are unskippable at the start of DVDs are the people who have bloo

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2014 @09:58AM (#47448163)

    The economist, spreading FUD.

    Piracy has ruined the movie industry like it ruined the music industry. Counting all the billions in lost sales because of people distributing data by making it available mean that Hollywood and movie studios have run out of money.

    Authors, musicians, actors, directors, agents and artists are all dying of starvation.

    Why do you think there has been a rapid decline in content creation? less movies and music every single year, year on year. Piracy is killing the industry.

    Look at the terrible fate of Microsoft, suffering the most pirated OS to date.

    Poor bastards.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:26AM (#47448385)

      Why do you think there has been a rapid decline in content creation? less movies and music every single year, year on year. Piracy is killing the industry.

      Speaking of creation, "Home fucking is killing the prostitution industry!"

    • Counting all the billions in lost sales because of people distributing data by making it available mean that Hollywood and movie studios have run out of money.

      Exhibit A: The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was such a colossal failure at the box office that it never turned a profit. Whose fault was that? Piracy! (What second set of books? No, you can't look at those. Hands off! *puts books into locked safe*)

      • by MitchDev (2526834)

        Hehehe, more like "Hollywood accounting"

        • Re:Lies, damn lies. (Score:4, Informative)

          by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday July 14, 2014 @12:54PM (#47449543)

          Hollywood Accounting: "That mega-popular movie that broke box office records actually didn't make any money. In fact, it lost a ton of cash." (Translation: "We want to pay the people who worked on the movie as little as possible so we're grouping unrelated costs into that movie's budget to fake a loss.")

          Hollywood Accountability: "The reason that movie tanked was because dirty, rotten Internet pirates stole it rather than watch it in theaters or buy the Blu-Ray/DVD!" (Translation: "It was an idiotic movie with no plot, bad acting, and special effects added in a vain attempt to improve the final work. People decided they'd rather light their limited entertainment dollars on fire than see this stinking pile of garbage. Still, we someone to blame who isn't us so... INTERNET PIRATES!")

    • Though I agree with most of what you write, I disagree with the using Microsoft as an example. It isn't the same as a movie.

      OSes have network affects. My life is somewhat easier if you have the same OS as me. My life is a bit easier still if you have the same apps as me. If everyone around me has Windows, maybe I buck up and pay for Windows myself. Also, Microsoft has both Apps and OS divisions. Piracy in OS may be tolerated (it was early on) if it leads to more app sales. Movies have some sense of group

    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      Piracy has ruined the movie industry like it ruined the music industry.

      It certainly has (and not the way we might think); by helping Hollywood's bottom line (as per TFA), pirates have reduced the pressure on producers to turn out quality product.*

      *Michael Bay

    • Why do you think there has been a rapid decline in content creation? less movies and music every single year, year on year. Piracy is killing the industry.

      There is an intriguing aside, though.

      Take a movie like the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy." This is the kind of movie I want to see on a big screen--lots of explosions, daring-do, grand space battles, a raccoon with machine guns, etc. Conversely, take a movie like "Jersey Boys" and I don't see a real need to schlep to the theater to see it--the viewing experience will be about the same if I watch it in the theater or on my 34" Flat-screen in the living room or if I watch it on the 19" RCA CRT in my bed

  • by invictusvoyd (3546069) on Monday July 14, 2014 @09:59AM (#47448169)
    There are a lot of movie buffs in countries where good foreign and hollywood movies are not released. Video libraries are poorly equipped for the niche films and are usually expensive. P2P provides these people with movies they'd wanna watch . I dont think that'd hurt the industry much .. maybe they'll get a few foreign fans .
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This. Region bullshit seriously needs to die.

      Countries do not define a language. I don't think there is a single country on Earth that speaks one and only one language.

      I regularly watch some Japanese comedy shows, but would never be able to pay for them because of stupid region crap.

      Equally I would also love it if producers of content would be more open to accepting donations for no reason other than donations.
      There are so many I would happily donate money since it was only those people who I came across

    • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Monday July 14, 2014 @11:11AM (#47448773)

      This is actually how a bunch of anime (and games) winds up getting translated and released stateside, but at the same time there's a bunch of companies that refuse to translate no matter what. People who want to watch/play them do fan translations, which are in a legal grey area at best (the shows/games aren't licensed in the United States, and normally there aren't too many legal challenges from Japan) and later on the companies hopefully do an official release.

      Best example I can think of in recent memory is Dangan Ronpa, a visual novel on the PSP about a bunch of high schoolers trapped in a high school and murdering each other. Dangan Ronpa and its sequel were both fan-translated on the PSP, became insanely popular as a result, and were eventually released (with a butchered translation) stateside on the Vita by NIS. As much as I dislike NIS for their love of pointless censorship that would make Ted Woolsey blush, they at least got Dangan Ronpa somewhat correct, though most people agree that the fan translation was better. At least they gave it a chance, unlike Nintendo with Mother 3 (later fan-translated and half-reprogrammed by Tomato and his team) and Capcom with Gyakuten Kenji 2 (later fan-translated as Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Prosecutor's Path).

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:00AM (#47448177) Journal

    This study's findings simply say the same thing MANY of us have been repeating for decades now about such "intellectual property" as movies, music or computer games. If you're talking about content created for entertainment purposes, the fact that people have the ability to make duplicate copies of it and share it with others (bypassing your centralized, for-pay distribution system for it) doesn't mean you'll really lose much, if any, potential profit.

    The #1 factor is convenience. When people want to be entertained, they typically have a limited time window they're able to use for it. (EG. You finally get a chance to get together with your friends on a weekend, when nobody has to go in to work, and your plan is to go watch a new movie that all of you want to see. If you aren't able to see it during THAT narrow time slot? Then chances are you're not going to see it at all.)

    The theaters are ready to take your money and show you that movie, at one of a number of convenient, published time slots. All you have to do is show up.

    That's always going to trump someone's plan to reproduce the same experience by downloading a pirated copy of the movie (probably having to screw around with it multiple times to find a copy encoded with the right language, no annoying subtitles, and in good enough quality), and THEN having to provide an enjoyable enough viewing experience for it. Even in the era of home theaters, how many of us really have such a setup at home where we'd be proud to show downloaded movies to our friends, knowing they'd enjoy it just as much as going out to the movie with us? I *used* to have a half way decent approximation at my old house, but since I moved, I don't anymore. I'd have to spend many thousands of dollars finishing part of our basement to even consider replicating it again.....

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Even in the era of home theaters, how many of us really have such a setup at home where we'd be proud to show downloaded movies to our friends

      I do.

      It's part of the reason that I've pretty much given up on conventional movie theaters entirely. Beyond the new annoyances that have manifested in the last 20 years, the experience at a "real theater" just isn't sufficiently better to justify the bother.

      Even if your local theater isn't crap, what your watching may not even be playing on any of their good scr

    • by jfengel (409917)

      I wonder how much the illegality of it figures into the convenience. The study implies that copying, as currently practiced, has only a limited impact. But that takes place in a world where copying is illegal: people are repeatedly told that it's a bad thing (ad nauseam; I really don't need to be reminded every time I play my legally purchased movie) and the news is full of horror stories of people being harassed by prosecutors when they do get caught.

      So I don't know what policy conclusions we could draw fr

      • But that takes place in a world where copying is illegal: people are repeatedly told that it's a bad thing (ad nauseam; I really don't need to be reminded every time I play my legally purchased movie) and the news is full of horror stories of people being harassed by prosecutors when they do get caught.

        Though some might not pirate out of a fear of being caught, I doubt that's many people. Most will either not pirate because 1) they think it is morally wrong to pirate (regardless of MPAA propaganda), or 2)

      • Value for money (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2014 @01:02PM (#47449603)

        I wonder how much the illegality of it figures into the convenience.

        A lot. iTunes is probably the best example of this. Prior to iTunes, people turned to services like Napster. Partly because of money of course but a lot of it was simply convenience. They could actually find what they were looking for and get it for a modest investment. Then iTunes came along and people could find much of what they wanted, quickly and legally, in exchange for an amount of money they could live with. They no longer had to buy an album with 12 tracks of crap for $10 to get the 1 or 2 songs they actually wanted. Now people buy literally billions of songs all on the up and up because it is convenient and the price isn't a slap in the face.

        Would they continue to want to go to the theater, which has a much larger screen and great sound, but which also costs a fair bit (and even more for any snacks you want, which are actually the theater's primary profit center) and which isn't as convenient in either time or space as having it at home?

        If they value the things the theater provides then yes they will go. If they don't then they won't. Right now I think the value for money you get from most theaters is pretty poor. I get to sit in an uncomfortable chair with a sticky floor, pay $8-15 for a ticket, the only food is outrageously priced food you normally only get at a high school concession stand served by poorly trained high school students in unsanitary conditions. Gee, wonder why people might not enjoy that.

        There are some theaters like Alamo Drafthouse down in Austin Texas which seem to get it and are trying to offer a better experience. I really wouldn't mind going to a movie and dropping some bucks for some actually good food, comfortable seats, amazing sound, cool extras, maybe a dvd to take home, etc.

  • by drizuid (444751) <drizuid AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:01AM (#47448187) Journal

    Every movie i've ever purchased from a hadj in afghanistan or some little old lady in the back of a restaurant in New York has done one of two things.
    1)It's either completely turned me off of the movie because it was horrible. This doesn't cost a thing because now the money never changed hands; in the case of ultraviolet, i had to go get my money back for the movie being so terrible.
    2)Has been awesome enough that i either simply want to see it on the theater screen with their lovely DTS surround or I want to watch it in 3D on a huge screen.

    I'm a huge supporter of try before you buy. I had frozen MONTHS before it released on dvd and still ended up taking my daughters to the movies multiple times to see it.

    • You see, that's exactly it.

      If you released the movie for free (even low quality) before the theatrical release, then two things happen.

      1) All that money they spend on marketing is worthless
      2) If the Movie is bad then nobody goes to watch it

      At the moment, they can spend lots of money on marketing to fool people into going to see it in the cinema. The money they give to the marketeers can be written off against the 'profits'. If you got access to the whole movie prior to release, then they couldn't hide the l

  • Already been done. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:01AM (#47448189)

    There was a study a few years ago out of one of the Scandinavian countries - I think it was Sweden, but it might well have been Finland or Denmark - which stated that piracy had no impact on overall entertainment industry profits. What they found, as I recall, was that there was no impact because people spend roughly the same amount on entertainment regardless of how much they pirate, it was simply that they were spending it in different areas. Someone who was pirating films, for instance, would still spend their entertainment budget but might do so on books or music or video games instead of films.

    I also agree with his second point about pre-releases being good for films. When Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out some years ago, there was a leak of a "beta" build that consisted of about 50-60% of the full game about a month before the game's street date. Up until that point, a lot of people believed that HR would be complete crap.. but then the leak happened and changed a lot of people's minds (myself included) about it. I don't think I would've bought it, even on deep discount, if I hadn't played that leak first.

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:08AM (#47448239)

      I wonder if noticing that trend around leaks is what gave Hideo Kojima the crazy idea of releasing a vertical slice of MGSV as a "warm-up" game mid-development.

    • by lymond01 (314120)

      What they found, as I recall, was that there was no impact because people spend roughly the same amount on entertainment regardless of how much they pirate, it was simply that they were spending it in different areas. Someone who was pirating films, for instance, would still spend their entertainment budget but might do so on books or music or video games instead of films.

      I might be misunderstanding, but unless you're talking about tax collection or those few corporations that have a hand in books,movies,

      • You'll have to forgive me on that, I remember reading about this study at least a year ago and my memory of the exact details is a little fuzzy, but I think their logic went like this, using a real-world example:

        It's early March, 2014. I have an entertainment budget of $50 for the week (which is part of a very finite entertainment budget per year), and a whole lot of choices as to how to spend that money. For sake of argument, let's narrow it down to three. I could:

        - Buy a copy of Dark Souls 2, which would

  • by sjbe (173966) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:12AM (#47448289)

    I go to the movie theater to get an experience and that experience is tangential to the actual movie itself. I go to a movie theater because either A) they have a large screen and great sound and other features (sometimes food) that I cannot reasonably replicate at home or B) I'm on a date or other social outing or C) both of the above. If I wanted to just see the movie and don't care if it is on a shitty little screen at home TV or my computer then the theater going experience has nothing to offer me. I go to see Godzilla in the theater because big monsters should be seen on a big screen with awesome sound. I go to see a RomCom in theaters because I'm on a date. Theaters need to cater to these reasons or there is no reason to go there. Places like Alamo Drafthouse seem to comprehend this.

    As for media purchases, I'm more than happy to buy a copy of a DVD (or similar media) IF and only if the price is not outrageous. The price to buy a DVD should be similar or less than the cost to see the movie in theaters. I'm giving up a large screen and awesome sound but I can watch the movie repeatedly. If the movie publisher insists that their movie costs $25 to view on my shitty little screen at home, then they should damn well expect me to look for a more economical way to view that movie - possibly including piracy if I'm sufficiently motivated. I'm simply not willing to pay that much for a mediocre experience even if I can play it as much as I want. Sell the DVDs for reasonable prices and with minimal restrictions (such as no mandatory ads EVER) and most people will be willing to fork over a few bucks without much fuss. People buy music from iTunes because for them it is a reasonable economic value (in spite of its flaws. If they charged say $3/song I doubt it would be nearly as popular.

    Basically if they provide a good product for a reasonable price, I'm happy to pay them for their work. If they insist on gouging me and place too many obstacles in my way then they should expect me to go around them and pay them nothing. If the movie turns out to be shitty I expect the price to reflect that fact quickly. I think most people feel similarly.

    • I go to see a RomCom in theaters because I'm on a date.

      I go to RomComs to meet women, but most women there are on dates -_-

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      No you see you're framing this as a rational economic problem rather than a moral issue. That's not how Real Business works.

    • I'm with you. I will almost ALWAYS to see a movie in a theater first if it interests me, otherwise I might try do download it. If it sucks (i.e. Grown Ups 2), I would have neither bought it, nor gone to the theater to see it, no money lost no money gained for either party involved. However when I do go to the theater, I specifically go to the dinner theater, usually with my girlfriend, and order $50 dollars+ worth of food and drinks. I go there for the experience, of the theater; the nice big cushy comforta

      • by geekoid (135745)

        ". If it sucks (i.e. Grown Ups 2), I would have neither bought it, nor gone to the theater to see it, no money lost no money gained for either party involved."
        then why download it? He look, I have a collection of crappy movies!

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        On that note however, if a studio offered a free digital download for a movie after watching it in a theater, say for an extra $5 dollars, even if it I cant download it for a couple months, I would most likely be willing to do that. But, I refuse to pay $20+ dollars for a blueray, just to have it sit around and collect dust. I run all my media off an HTPC and I don't want a bunch of movies taking up space on a shelf somewhere.

        I'd love to be able to download movies instead of getting the plastic disc, but there are two big things stopping me:

        DRM: any download will only be playable on whatever the studio deems to be "acceptable" hardware and software.

        Quality: no download comes close to the quality of audio and video on a Blu-Ray, and downloads almost never have extras like commentary tracks.

        For other people, another reason not to download is that Blu-Ray generally has all the subtitles they need to enjoy the movie, but most downlo

    • by RobinH (124750)

      If the movie publisher insists that their movie costs $25 to view on my shitty little screen at home, then they should damn well expect me to look for a more economical way to view that movie - possibly including piracy if I'm sufficiently motivated.

      I don't understand this rationalization. I agree that $25 is certainly wayyy too much money for most movies released to DVD. However that doesn't mean you automatically have a right to get it for free. It just means that you should control your urges and no

      • I don't understand this rationalization. I agree that $25 is certainly wayyy too much money for most movies released to DVD. However that doesn't mean you automatically have a right to get it for free.

        Not really expecting or asking for it for free. I'm asking for it for a reasonable price and for that price to be negotiated in good faith. If they can't be reasonable then neither will I. I play by the rules because I think it is the right thing to do but my willingness to do that does have limits. This is a zero sum game. Their costs are fixed so the publisher and I are just bargaining over how to split the dollar. I have no objection to them making a profit but only to a point. I'm willing to play

        • by geekoid (135745)

          And if they were 10 bucks, you would be using the same rationalization to download it.

          Seriously, man up and take responsibility. You download it becasue you are cheap and feel entitled to dictate price based on you gut feeling.

          Technically downloading isn't against the law, distribution is.

  • The money spent trying to stop piracy is a direct result of piracy. So you can take that money spent right off the bottom line and attribute it to piracy. The fact is people do receive a service without paying for it. All you have to do is find one person who has downloaded a movie instead of going to see it in the theaters to prove this. Let's be honest here and compare the number of people who download movies so they don't have to spend money to see it to those who download them to see if they want to sp
    • here's the ultimate thing about creative content that nobody recognizes. Some of it is really good, some of it is ok, some of it sucks. When going to a new movie, we used to manage this uncertainty like how we go to a new restaurant. we read reviews, we get word of mouth. but sometimes you go to a new restaurant and it sucks, not in some egregious way where you demand your money back, but it was just kind of a dud. That's just part of the restaurant game, sometimes you get a dud, and you learn your lessons
      • by sunking2 (521698)
        Doesn't matter if they are losing money or not. It is their product and thus have the right to determine how it is consumed. Stay in business or go under has no bearing on the rights of the copyright holder who whether you agree or not legally dictates how they want it to be consumed.
  • This is hard to square with my experience. I know folks who used to pay money to see movies who no longer do because they can just watch them for free at home only days after their theatrical release (if not earlier). That said, these guys are a pretty small minority among the set of all people I know who like to watch movies.
  • by korbulon (2792438) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:35AM (#47448459)

    We need crimes like internet piracy to help foment the growth of the global police state! These are real criminals who needed to be hunted down and punished to the full extent of the law (and then some) at the behest of our media moguls who help fill the political troughs. US gets to go first, but one day China and Russia would sure love a turn.

  • The availability of low-cost subscription models for film distribution mostly removes the incentive to pirate. If there were a similar paradigm for current TV programming, Hollywood wouldn't have a thing to worry about.

    • Very true. For all the studios reactions to Netflix as if they were destroying their business, Netflix is their single best hope against piracy. If they gave Netflix the rights to all movies/TV shows from two months past the DVD release date on, piracy rates would drop. (There will always be some piracy. You could give DRM-free downloads of movies for $1 each and some people would still pirate. Those people should just be ignored by the studios as "never would be customers" not lamented as "lost sales.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:42AM (#47448519) Journal

    The reason Hollywood doesn't like piracy is because they don't want you seeing (for free) how crappy 90% of the product is.
    The bulk of their business is built on trailers and a massive marketing engine convincing you that the movie "might be" good enough to watch and spend your money on. Usually they're wrong.

    Honestly, I don't know many cinephiles that actually go to theaters anymore.

    Want to know how most of us feel about Hollywood? I'll invite you to watch The Onion's film reviewer Peter K Rosenthal telling you (NSFW language) how he really feels: http://www.theonion.com/video/... [theonion.com]

  • by mark-t (151149) <`markt' `at' `lynx.bc.ca'> on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:52AM (#47448619) Journal
    ... all this proves is that studies can prove absolutely anything that you want them to.
  • What impact does file sharing have on the sales of DVD's and BluRay? I would expect advance availability to boost theatrical revenues, as the study indicates. But downloading likely has some negative effect on media sales post-release.

    Of course, file sharing would have less of an impact if the industry's media model wasn't broken in so many ways - DRM, unskippable ads and warnings, laughably high prices, region locking, and any other ways movie makers have found to take careful aim before shooting themselve

  • But not for the reason you think.

    A question we should be asking ourselves is what impact would piracy have on movie revenue if we’d had higher speed Internet in the days of Napster and Kazaa. We currently live in a culture where even non-technical people know that piracy is a copyright violation. There’s also the looming threat of being sucked up in a dredging operation or having your ISP (or the NSA) volunteer information to the MPAA on your metadata. People don’t avoid filesharing bec

    • by geekoid (135745)

      1) are you stupid? It take 5 minute to do this, and then you can work your 'consulting' whilethe download happens. YOu spend MORE time working then you do if you went to redbox.

      2) And if redbox doesn't have it? If you can consult in the time it takes, then your consulting is actually a scam.
      3) Fine
      4) iTunes may not have it available.

    • by nabsltd (1313397)

      I could spend about half an hour figuring out which of the numerous available torrents is in a playable format and not a fake and then maybe a couple hours downloading it. If I’m really lucky, I can burn it to a DVD that my player will understand so I don’t have to take the time to connect my laptop to the TV.

      Slashdot posters used to be technically savvy people.

      Seriously, I've never had a problem with a fake torrent (find an uploader you like, and follow the RSS of their uploads) or a file not being in a playable format (everything today is H.264 in an MKV container, and there are dozens of players that support that format). And, if the only hardware media player you own is a DVD player, then you likely have a really hard time playing back movies from Amazon Prime on your TV, too. Pretty much any other hardwar

  • Wallet piracy that is. The last movie I went to see was the Road after paying close to $50 fo my son and me to some popcorn and pop. Yah yah I know those are not needed but what do you do when you bring in a 13 year old.

  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Monday July 14, 2014 @01:33PM (#47449811)

    The monetary costs of "fighting piracy" is probably far greater than any actual losses. With international treaties, lobbying, investigation, prosecution, lawsuits, direct enforcement (police raids) as well as countless millions handed over to worthless organizations like the MPAA in this effort, the industry and society in general spends more to fight this phantom menace than is prudent.

    Of course, common sense would tell us to stop being dumbasses, but there is an entire industry built around "copyright enforcement" and that scam involves too much money to give up anytime soon.

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