You Have The Right To Remain Silent….
By Jude Felton
Some of you may have seen Adam Green’s latest horror short about illegal downloading (if you haven’t just cast your eyes up and press play) and he makes a very good point. It is a subject that has been on my mind for some time now, for varying reasons. Quite often I will read about such-and-such movie being crap which is then followed by a statement along the lines of “am glad I downloaded it and didn’t pay for it”. Well bully for you. How can we expect films to be made if there is no money going back into the industry?
I will be the first to admit that it is annoying as all hell when you spend good, hard-earned cash on a movie, only to find out that it is terrible. There’s no excuse for that though. Do a little research before you buy. Downloading a movie illegally helps no one except to flatter your own ego.
Yes, you could argue that “Jude, you get sent plenty of free movies so why do you care?” I can answer that two-fold. First off, I get sent movies so that I can review them in the hopes that just one person might read it and decide to buy, or not buy, the movie in question. As a reviewer you get to watch as much bad as you do good, it is not always a bed of roses believe me. The PR companies send out these movies because they know we are doing them a favor in getting the word out about their client’s product. Cynical but true. It’s not always great knowing you HAVE to watch a movie that you don’t necessarily want to watch. I won’t complain though as it is great getting sent free stuff.
Secondly, I have spent thousands of dollars, and pounds before that, on building up my movie collection. Yes, I still buy movies but I am more selective in what I buy. The last movie I bought was yesterday in fact.
Oh, I have a third point too. Over the past few years I have donated to several film projects with the aim of helping that movie get made. Not for any sense of self-importance or to see my name in print, I really couldn’t care about that, but because I believe in the project and want to do what I can to help that film get made. I know it isn’t easy to get these films made, so if I can throw a few bucks in their direction to help I will.
It’s a little sad, but as is the case in any business, it all boils down to the bottom line which is money. All illegal downloading does is take away potential funds from the filmmakers, and their distributors, and limits what gets made. This is part of the reason we see so many remakes and sequels; the film companies know that these are a safer bet when it comes to box office sales and DVD/Blu-ray sales. Why risk a new project?
I can honestly say that I have never illegally downloaded a movie. Have I watched a downloaded movie? Yes I have, and I always make it a point to buy that movie when it becomes available. Movies are my passion and I believe in paying for it. Some might say that movies are expensive and they can’t afford to buy them. Well, I can’t afford another car but I am not going to go out and steal one.
When you download a movie illegally you forefeit the right to comment on that movie, regardless of whether it is good or bad. You are contributing nothing to the world of film, instead you are only hurting it, and as such you should remain silent. Don’t agree with my opinion? That is fine, it is only my opinion, but I am sure there are more that would agree with me than disagree. The real fans invest in their hobby, they treat it with respect and want to see it grow. I am sorry there are so many shit movies out there, but getting them illegally for free is not the answer, not if you want to see any change. All you need to do is see how hard it is for the sequel to Behind the Mask to get made. This was a much loved movie and yet the filmmakers are still seeking out funding for the sequel.
Illegal downloading might have a short-term payoff for you, but the long-term repercussions are far greater.