The ferver over piracy seems to have died down in the last year or two- you just don’t hear the drum beaten as constantly. Instead the studios have turned to quiet lobbying of congress for bills like SOPA (dead) and CISPA (effectively dead) and, theoretically, weeping into their satin sheets at night about things that just aren’t going to change. As I politely preached last year around the success of The Avengers, piracy has gotten no less shitty, but all the legal, cheap alternatives are in place such that those who simply wanted convenience are being serviced legitimately, while those dedicated to being asshats have settled into their lifestyles.
A smaller (but not unheard of) distributor has riled up a minor kerfuffle however, as Cinedigm has announced a partnership with the most popular Torrenting client, BitTorrent. In a deal that tacitly acknowledges the legitimacy of the service, Cinedigm has released the first seven minutes of their film Arthur Newman to the seeding/leeching masses, with hundreds of thousands of downloads following the release.
Proof this was a savvy move? I sure as hell had not heard of Arthur Newman before I wrote about this stunt, and I know those thousands of BitTorrent users didn’t have an Emily Blunt and Colin Firth mid-life crisis drama (that is getting consistently shit reviews) on their radar.
Cinedigm is pleased with their experiment, and plans to follow it up with another half-dozen similar torrent teases this year. These will all be smaller films grasping for attention, though some —Violet & Daisy for example— are actually worth your time.
This controversial move brought some nasty statements from different studio executives, calling the move “a deal with the devil,” and Cinedigm merely “pawns” in the torrenting service’s expansion, making the point that BitTorrent has never made genuine efforts to curb the rampant piracy their service empowers. This is a sort of catch 22- kind of like Lincoln refusing to acknowledge the Confederacy as a sovereign nation, except that he can’t end the war unless he did, kind of thing. According to other studios, Cinedigm just empowered BiTorrent with an acknowledgement that they are a legitimate platform, and not solely a wretched hive of scum and villainy to be derided.
For their part, Cinedigm and BitTorrent put on their metaphor hats, suggesting those who run the service are no different than manufacturers of VHS tapes, and suggesting that blaming piracy on BitTorrent is like “blaming a freeway for drunk drivers.”
From my seat this is a stunt that will get Cinedigm’s releases a little extra attention for now, but ultimately this is a minor controversy and things will settle back into the apathetic status quo by Monday.
Source | The Wrap