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article imageHow Piracy Is Changing The Film Industry

By Lance Lasheras     Apr 4, 2009 in Entertainment
Downloading copy-written material has moved from the hackers basement into the common household. With more media than ever being shared online, Hollywood is faced with an ever increasing threat.
It's a little bit like a modern day Robin Hood tale. The huddled poor masses are stealing from the rich at an unprecedented rate. Of course the poor are actually middle to upper class families who can afford a computer and high speed internet. The rich are the massive entertainment industry, more specifically Hollywood.
Almost a month before its commercial release, an unfinished version of the film X-Men:Origins Wolverine was leaked on the internet. Although it was quickly removed, the file itself is being spread like a virus as this is being written. The nature of piracy has changed along with the technology that enables it. So has the attitude towards digital theft, as it's now almost common place amongst households. There are some who can't even recall the last time they actually paid for a album.
The film industry today is drastically different than it was ten years ago. In the early 90's the act of viewing a Hollywood blockbuster at home, that had been released in theaters only a few months prior was unheard of. The major studios controlled the industry, and the concept of the Indie Film was left to students and cinematic snobs alike. At the turn of the century, several factors changed everything.
The internet was a strong constituent for change on two separate fronts. Primarily, it allowed for the sharing of illegal files. Although video bootlegs were not a new concept, it had never before been this prolific. In 2004 there were an estimated 70 million people participating in online file sharing. Major studios began to see a dramatic drop in the amount of dvd sales and rentals across the board. Secondly, the internet allowed for audiences to promote their own films through simple mediums. Web pages such as YouTube went from being an interesting concept to a worldwide phenomenon. The industry was quick to catch up, and within a few years time the ability to buy digital media online was fervently established. Yet even with the ability to legally download files, people still steal their media at a ratio of 10:1.
The ability to share media easily and quickly didn't hurt all filmmakers however. Indy filmmakers are now capable of reaching audiences to an even greater degree than major film studios had been able to for years. One may pose the argument that the audiences themselves matured, however this is quickly dismissed when pictures such as Spiderman 3 break opening weekend box office records. Simply stated, the Indie film is now capable of reaching its fans, while they are equally aware that they no longer have to swallow the minutia of the mainstream.
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