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

Written by Tim Smalley

November 15, 2007 // 9:27 a.m.

Tags: #advertising #budget #content #copyright #dvd #earth #eric #film #from #internet #man #mpaa #no #piracy #pirates #producer #riaa #screener #the #torrent #wilkinson

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!

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