Pirate LogoThe Pirate's Dilemma


Archive for December, 2009

User Generated

Rob Jewitt, blogger at Remedial Thoughts and lecturer in Media & Cultural Studies at University of Sunderland, created this great slidecast summarizing the main points of The Pirate’s Dilemma. It’s closer to the material in the book than the presentations I’ve been doing of late, which have started to include a lot of new ideas too (I’ll be posting my new presentation The Pirate Solution up here shortly). There’s few things more useful to the creator of an idea than seeing someone else re-present that idea in a new way. Which brings me to the slidecast below by People’s Playground on the remix:


Is Avatar Pirate Proof?

Avatar Pirate Copy

After a strong opening weekend at the box office, Fox are hailing Dances With Thunder-Smurfs as Hollywood’s first pirate-proof movie. TorrentFreak points to a Fox press release quoting studio rep Eden Wright who says “piracy will play a much smaller role in stealing profits from [Avatar] due to the technological hurdles it imposes”.

Avatar’s weekend take at the box office seems to support this theory. According to Variety, it took $77 million domestically and $242.5 million worldwide, the fifth best film opening of all time. 3D accounted for 58% of the gross.

Having been blown away by Avatar in 3-D, it’s hard to imagine watching it in 2-D, let alone trying to get the same experience from a crappy pirate copy filmed on a camera phone. This didn’t stop 500,000 downloads of Avatar from p2p sites over the weekend as well, but as is the situation with music, it’s not clear whether downloads are helping or hindering the box office. Hollywood went bat-shit back in April when Wolverine was leaked online a month before release, only to see it top the box office and beat the tally of the next nine best performing films combined. In recent weeks the independent film Ink also saw illegal downloads help rather than hinder the film, with its creators even thanking pirates for their help. “We don’t know exactly where this will all lead” they wrote, “but the exposure is unquestionably a positive thing.”

If 3-D continues to up box office revenues despite the pirates, it’s good news for film makers everywhere, and there’s more. While the web is disrupting the movie business, it’s also allowing filmmakers to much create deeper connections with fans. As we’ve discussed here before, stretching the narrative of a film across the web using transmedia storytelling is creating all kinds of new revenue streams for franchises large and small, while creating experiences impossible for fans to only interact with via pirate copies.

Encouraging and incorporating user-generated content into a story is another pirate-beating strategy – one we haven’t seen widely used by the big studios yet, but one that has serious potential. If you create a universe fans feel comfortable playing in, they’ll defend it. J.K Rowling discovered this when she sued the author of The Harry Potter Lexicon in 2007. Many (myself included) initially thought the legions of fan creating Potter content of their own would revolt against her for going after one of their own – as the lexicon had been put together by one of the most prominent members of the HP fan community. But they didn’t. The fans chose to defend Rowling. As a general rule she’d been extremely supportive of fan-sites and fan-fiction, and the community recognized that. She ended up winning the legal battle and keeping her fans.

The triple-threat of new tech, transmedia and new forms of collaboration is good news for creative endeavors of all kinds. It’s never been simpler to create a copy of a movie, song or almost anything else. But it’s also easier than it’s ever been to build an experience that makes piracy a moot point. Great stories are as important as ever. But now the way we put those stories out there has to be just as creative as the story we’re telling.

This is a sampling sport

PBS is airing a new documentary entitled Copyright Criminals on Jan 19th. Despite the title, it looks like a pretty even-handed discussion on the myriad issues around sampling and remixing. Make it a priority.

via HypeBot.

Billboard + Doom = WIN

Billboard + Doom = WIN

All your Base are belong to us. More here. Via OhGizmo! (thanks Dan!)

The Story of Mr. Splashy Pants

If, like me, you need Reddit every morning like you need caffeine, you already know this story. But it’s worth a watch anyway.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian tells a great story and makes some good points about the internet. Not the first time these things have been said, but well put and expertly shoe-horned into four minutes.

via the one conference I haven’t spoken at yet but would really like to.

Jerm IX

jerm x

via Wooster Collective

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