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Indie content producer says "piracy ain't so bad"

Indie content producer says "piracy ain't so bad"

Little-known independent film, Jerome Bixby's The Man From Earth, has been promoted into the limelight by Internet pirates.

It’s hard to believe that a film producer would ever come out and say that piracy has helped promote their film into the limelight, but that’s exactly what little-known independent film producer Eric Wilkinson has said.

According to Wilkinson, his film - Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth - skyrocketed from 11,235th on IMDB’s most popular movie list right up into the top six in the space of just two weeks. The reason for this was that someone ripped the DVD screeners and uploaded a torrent, which in turn allowed file sharers to download the movie free of charge ahead of its release later this week.

Wilkinson said that the film had no advertising budget and very little going for it until pirates started downloading the film. Once people started watching the screener, they began writing reviews on IMDB. Wilkinson says that feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive” from those that have downloaded the movie illegally and that he is not upset that his film was pirated.

While this is all well and good, it doesn’t automatically mean that piracy is a good thing. This is especially the case for movies from the big studios, which typically have large advertising budgets attached to them to ensure that the cinema gates and DVD sales are high – they don’t need to rely on Internet piracy to ensure word about the film gets out.

If anything, it proves that the big studios should be looking into DRM-less digital distribution of their films because after all, there’s little benefit to being a paying customer when the pirated version doesn’t require you to jump through hoops just to get the content to play. I wonder what the MPAA would have to say about this...

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

Oh, and thanks to John Tasker for sending this news over to us!

15 Comments

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mmorgue 15th November 2007, 10:19 Quote
Oooh, a double edged sword, this one.

Piracy is bad and naughty and causes cancer, AIDS, gayness, etc.. But on the other hand does help certain films and film companies get free advertising, like in this case. Hopefully the home cinema release of the film generates a good revenue for them.

I'm happy to download the latest films off the newsgroups as I cannot stand public cinemas anymore. Of course, the quality is almost always crap, even the best telesynch'd rips are usually rubbish, but if the film itself is a good production, I'll always buy it on HD/DVD or BluRay, etc, afterwards.
Sim0n 15th November 2007, 11:17 Quote
Surely he has shot himself in the foot by saying this ?

Yes, he has promoted his film slightly more by stating that piracy is a good thing, Kudos for that, he'll probably get it download twice as much now.
But when it comes to selling it on DVD, everyone will already have seen it, so it wont sell ?

Once its out on the public domain, and in the rental stores, and is on the shelves to buy, he'll probably come back and complain that piracy cost him his job, and now he's living out of a cardboard box.

* Piracy is good when it gets a small indy producer some kudos.
* Piracy is bad when said producer of small indy film cant buy food.
Phil Rhodes 15th November 2007, 11:21 Quote
> This is especially the case for movies from the big studios, which typically
> have large advertising budgets attached to them to ensure that the cinema gates and DVD sales are high

It would be easier to be sympathetic if this wasn't so often the only reason the cinema and DVD figures are good...

Phil
[USRF]Obiwan 15th November 2007, 11:53 Quote
The Cinema is nothing to go for anymore, lets face the facts here:

Cinema:
+ There is a very big screen
but.. - if you are on the front rows...

- Have to buy a ticket for 8 euro (blockbuster)
- you can only wacht it once
- Sit 2 hours with you legs in your neck
- You cant pause if you want to loose some juice
- Most times there are some irritating people disturbing your pleasure
-You have to watch 15 minutes of local commercials before the movie starts.
- have to go there and pay parking ticket of 4 euro
- have to buy drink/food for 10 euro
- be there on a particulair time or else you miss the movie
- You wont go if you are alone, do you?

Home:
+ Watch movies on the 42+ inch flatscreen (or projector or bigger tv whatever)
+ With digital suround as loud to your liking.
+ Relax on the couch or if you have enoug go to the other couch/chair whatever
+ We can watch the movie as much as we like without paying more
+ And watch when we have the time.
+ no anoying people (unless you have a jackrussel dog who wants to play every 5 seconds while your watching)
+ not have to leave your house (so no parkingticket)
+ can walk to the fridge and empty the whole thing in your belly for the same money you spend on a coke and a bag of m&m at the cimema
+ You van pause the thing to do some other sh*t...
+ If you are alone you can call some friends to come over
+ or... you dont want to and watch it alone, like a scary horrormovie or some other type movie... eh.. right.


So tell me one good reason why i should go to the cinema besides a big screen.
impar 15th November 2007, 11:56 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim0n
Yes, he has promoted his film slightly more by stating that piracy is a good thing, Kudos for that, he'll probably get it download twice as much now.
But when it comes to selling it on DVD, everyone will already have seen it, so it wont sell ?
Agree.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Smalley
While this is all well and good, it doesn’t automatically mean that piracy is a good thing. This is especially the case for movies from the big studios, which typically have large advertising budgets attached to them to ensure that the cinema gates and DVD sales are high – they don’t need to rely on Internet piracy to ensure word about the film gets out.
Agree.
airchie 15th November 2007, 12:10 Quote
I suspect, if the film is good enough and the DVD isn't too expensive and has some decent extras, the DVD will still sell.
I've bought plenty of DVDs of films I thought were really good, even if I've seen them before or have them downloaded.
Gunsmith 15th November 2007, 13:15 Quote
the internet is a curious thing when it comes to morales, many people i know have pirated films/games before only to go out and buy them.

sure there are those who wont but theres a suprising amount of those that will
Hells_Bliss 15th November 2007, 13:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan


So tell me one good reason why i should go to the cinema besides a big screen.

Snuggles with the exibitionist girlfriend? thats about it.
don't have a flat screen HD TV, there's another. 8 euro is a bit cheaper than 1500
Redbeaver 15th November 2007, 15:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
Obiwan]The Cinema is nothing to go for anymore, lets face the facts here:

Cinema:
+ There is a very big screen ...

So tell me one good reason why i should go to the cinema besides a big screen.

well, u did mention one at the beginning of ur post.. but here's the 2nd one... socializing. i found it easier to hook up with friends (and even meet up new friends) in the movie theaters, rather than asking them to come to ur place. u dont have to cleanup ur crib... u can fit alotta people (depends on the size of ur place, really), u can easily move the event to a bar, restaurant, club, u name it, rather than ooh... getting dressed (its Winter here in Canada), deciding where to go, start the car etc....

i believe thats one of the main reason why movie theaters are still alive.

thus, i draw the conclusion that for movies that u wanna see with ur buddies and/or movies that u dont care, but u just wanna hangout n do something cool = theaters. quality movies that u, personally, anticipates, wanna see and enjoy to its full glory.... well that depends on how good is ur home theater system ;) for myself, DvD and "other content" enjoyable at home are viewed thro my 20" Widescreen monitor with 5.1 THX speakers. good. but not good enough for, say, Transformer? or any other action-explosion-summer-blockbusters..... IMHO anyway. it just doesnt give the "oomph!" from the movie :D
Vash-HT 15th November 2007, 16:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim0n
Surely he has shot himself in the foot by saying this ?

Yes, he has promoted his film slightly more by stating that piracy is a good thing, Kudos for that, he'll probably get it download twice as much now.
But when it comes to selling it on DVD, everyone will already have seen it, so it wont sell ?

Once its out on the public domain, and in the rental stores, and is on the shelves to buy, he'll probably come back and complain that piracy cost him his job, and now he's living out of a cardboard box.

* Piracy is good when it gets a small indy producer some kudos.
* Piracy is bad when said producer of small indy film cant buy food.

I don't know, every DVD I buy is usually of something I've seen before, so I don't think people would not buy just because they've already seen it. People would buy it because they like the movie. Really if your argument held any wait no one would buy DVD's of movies they saw in theaters, nor would DVD box sets of TV series sell so well. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there will be some people who don't buy it because they don't want to see it again, but if its as popular as it seems people will buy it jsut to have it and watch it again.
Techno-Dann 15th November 2007, 18:10 Quote
I wonder if you could play this effect... A few weeks before the theatrical release, release a lower quality version via the Internet. People see the ripped version, like the movie, and want to see it in HD with full surround sound on the big screen.
wolff000 15th November 2007, 19:55 Quote
if the movie is good people will buy it. one thing to remember is this is a small indie film so he probably has no distribution budget. the odds of seeing this on a shelf in a regular store is not high. unless he gets lucky and a major studio decides to release it for him
z3rb 15th November 2007, 21:25 Quote
I actually downloaded the movie after reading the post at rlslog a few days ago, brilliant film and I'll buy it when/if it's released here on DVD.
airchie 16th November 2007, 14:26 Quote
Downloading it now too, just to see what all the fuss is about... :)
impar 17th November 2007, 00:34 Quote
Greetings!

IF YOU DOWNLADED THIS MOVIE - PLEASE READ!!!

We, the filmmakers behind "Jerome Bixby's The Man From Earth" understand that this is a film many sci-fi fans just couldn't wait until 11/13/07 to see. And we especially understand that if you live outside the United States, you've had absolutely no way of knowing when this film might be coming to your local cinema, video store, or TV... if ever! Indeed, all international rights to the movie are still available.

And as a result you may have downloaded the film from one of the many torrent (or other) sites available. Chances are, you paid nothing to do so. But please understand that we are just some independent filmmakers who put everything we had into our little movie, and you really hurt us directly when you downloaded the movie illegally.

Judging from the postings at IMDB.com, we see that the vast majority of you quite like the film; many of you even love the film and have watched it repeatedly.

We made this movie with a great deal of love, sacrifice and effort on a low budget. But as low as the budget was, it was still a LOT of money to us, as well as to the people who trusted us with their investment to go ahead and make such an unusual, even controversial film.

So we are making an unusual request... asking you to return the love, if you will:

Please visit www.manfromearth.com, and make some sort of donation in exchange for the enjoyment our movie brought you. It could be fifty cents, it could be fifty dollars. Perhaps you feel the average weekly video store rental is a fair amount. Whatever it is, it might be small to you, but if every single person who downloaded the movie -- heck, if only the people who LIKED the movie -- donated a few dollars, would certainly help get us to breakeven. Just go to www.manfromearth.com and click on "donate" (you don't even need to have an account). The address to use is ewilkinson100@comcast.net.

The money you donate will go DIRECTLY towards everone who worked on and invested in our dream. And who knows... if we ever do break even on "Jerome Bixby's The Man From Earth", maybe we can go make another intelligent, thought-provoking film.

Thank you very, very much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Eric D. Wilkinson - Producer & Richard Schenkman - Producer / Director
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