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An incredible story is emerging about the take down of arguably the Internet’s biggest torrent listing site, Kickass  Torrents. On July 19th the site went offline as alleged KAT mastermind Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland under orders from the United States.

Full coverage of this is happening over at TorrentFreak, but I wanted to chime in on this as piracy is something that I’ve written about over the years.

I am not 100% against piracy, as I have said many times. In my opinion one of the driving factors behind movie piracy is the inflexibility of the movie industry to serve it’s customers. I live in Japan. Sometimes our release window is months (in the case of Oscar-nominated Joaquin Phoenix film ‘Her’ it was more than a year) after domestic North American release dates. This often comes down to local distributors and the fact that movie distribution runs much as it did in the days of sending prints by steamship.

When I raised the question at an industry forum about why we can’t abolish these windows I was told ‘it’s not logistically possible’. To which I replied that the pirates seem to be able to do it for free, so telling me that billion dollar corporations can’t do it seems a bit silly. Some filmmakers agree.

But I’m also a filmmaker (I recently received my MA in Film – yeah me!) and I appreciate that piracy is damaging to the financial outlook of a film, especially an indie film that is already running the risk of losing wide swaths of money. But I still argue that piracy stems from desire to consume. If we offer a better, easier, more instant way of consumers getting product then a large chunk of piracy will disappear.

Yes, there are people who pirate for pirate’s sake. And piracy has become incredibly easy….which is another point to the failings of the entertainment industry. NetFlix understands this: the goal is to make it easier to buy than pirate. People want easy. But people also want fast.

Finally, the fact that companies like Apple and Facebook cooperated in the bringing down of Artem Vaulin is concerning. Apple refused to assist in a case of domestic terrorism, but when it comes to jeopardizing their bottom line of movie and music sales via itunes, they’re all over it! As a shareholder in both Apple and Facebook, I see this as a worrying trend that will erode the public confidence in both of these brands. Vaulin’s ‘crimes’ are most definitely economic in nature, as opposed to violent. He also was a Ukrainian citizen living in Poland. That he was arrested under a US extradition order is also worrying. America seems to have no problem with banks foreclosing the homes of veterans, or indeed Wall Street types walking away with billions of government money. But don’t threaten the profit statement of corporations.

It is another case of imposing a rule without a solution. I don’t support piracy, but, I also think that equal, economic, assess to entertainment should be the goal of these companies, not simply clamping down and doing nothing.

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The BRexit and the UK film industry

by Phil Smy on June 25, 2016

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Well, whatever your position, it’s done now – the UK have voted to leave the EU. Over at The Verge is an interesting article on potential fallout for the Film (and TV) industries of the UK.

The big questions, of course, are tax credits and EU funding. While the latter is surely gone, the former is what might really cause a dent. Without tax credits, and being able to partner with continential producers and financers, things might get pretty hairy. And I mean Hagrid hairy.

Read on.

 

Brexit is ‘likely to be devastating’ for UK film and TV industry

The chairman of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), the trade association representing the companies behind independent film and TV the world over, has described the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union as an event that is “likely to be devastating” for the creative sector.

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Inspiring, especially in the fine print – the Approaching the Unknown story

June 13, 2016

This story is making the rounds this week. And it is awesome. Mark Rosenberg sold his first film even before it was completed. That is so cool! But, and I hate to play the cynic because really I applaud Rosenberg and I really really want to see this film, be aware that: The budget was […]

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Why this AI-written film is amazing

June 11, 2016

Over on Ars Technica they have an article about this very interesting short film that was written by an AI. Of course, that in and of itself is pretty amazing, but, for me, the impact of the film is different. 1. It’s all about the performance The film shows that good actors can make anything […]

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The Perk Problem: How not to run your Crowdfunding Campaign

May 23, 2016
Thumbnail image for The Perk Problem: How not to run your Crowdfunding Campaign

If you want an example of how NOT to do your perks, you can look at the potentially enthralling documentary about the legendary Bob Moog – basically the inventor of the synthesizer. See the campaign here: link You’d think a documentary like this would be backed in a few days (as per the Frank Zappa archives […]

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Pulpix – great looking way to enhance content

February 16, 2016

Rarely does something just seem to hit my sweet spot (apart from chocolate and a great red wine). Pulpix is such a thing. I’ve seen other enhanced video content services, but I am loving the way Pulpix looks and it’s ease of use (and price! It seems to be free!). I’ve installed it over on […]

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Asian filmmakers perspective

October 11, 2015

It’s not a great article, but at least it’s an article looking at the world of film sales and development. Right now the Busan (South Korea) International Film Festival is going on. BIFF is one of the biggest festival’s in Asia, with a bustling film market that often focuses on selling to the Chinese market […]

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The art of the edit

October 6, 2015

Great video over on a little site I found called YouTube that goes into some (granted, basic) concepts behind creating tension and action in the edit. Of course, the edit can’t happen without the writing and the directing, so the whole train of storytellers should be up on how this works! x https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IvhlF2wobo Follow Me

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The actresses new clothes – digital nudity

October 5, 2015

Over on The Verge is an interesting article about the peculiar case of the non-nude naked actress. With an ever increasing number of tools available – even at lower budgets – creating ‘digital skin’ is now commonplace. The Verge talks about the reasons – one, of course being that a lot of actors don’t want […]

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A peek inside Amazon Studios and they’re non-data driven development

October 4, 2015

A good, if broad, article over on The Guardian about Amazon Studios – the content development arm of the already ubiquitous online retailer – and it’s chief Roy Price. Of particular note is Price’s view on NOT over-using user data or metrics to drive it’s key decisions. Amazon Studios chief: data isn’t everything as retailer looks […]

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