Respect Copyright and IP

When Lovemovies.ie asked me to write about my take on the current lack of respect for copyright and intellectual property, their slogan ran around in my head like a reel of 35mm film in a dusty projector. Moments worth paying for.

One of my favourite memories as a kid was going to see Raiders of The Lost Ark at the Classic in Harold’s Cross. I knew nothing going in. I suspect my Dad really wanted to see it and dragged me and my sister along, but the excitement I felt that just being there was huge. I loved the big marquee outside, the letters massive to my little eyes. As we queued for tickets I clutched my brown paper bag of sweets from Hanlon’s a few doors down. A quarter of apple drops, the kind that make your eyes water and some of those gorgeous satin cushions in pinks and yellows that look like they belonged in a sultan’s palace and thus made me feel quite regal to eat.

There was a buzz and an energy to being there, the auditorium sold out, the rustle of sweet wrappers and the whispered excitement. Then the lights would do down and the red curtains draw slowly back and I felt like the luckiest kid in the world. The film blew me away. It’s still my favourite and it got me thinking about ownership of these films. Once a film is released to the public, or even just on completion does it cease to be owned by the studio, writers, producers, director. Are they gifting it to us?

 

Once something is created, it is gifted to the world for free?

 

You might consider the film companies and in particular the Hollywood studios of sitting on their mountains of cash. Sure what do they care about someone stealing it? But consider the implications of it. The smaller films now have smaller budgets and fewer are greenlit. The bigger budget tent-pole releases and the reliance of that blockbuster income have made the studios appreciate the safe bet. So they concentrate on the sure things and less on the films that push boundaries, introduce new ideas, showcase new visions, dare to be controversial. They also spend less money on advertising those tent-poles. Gone are the days of complete media saturation and endless TV campaigns. Budgets are continuously being pared back and studios are pushing viral activity through social media campaigns to boost a diminished spend. The studios are cautious with their mountains of cash.

Then you have the artists. The creative force behind that film. The vision makers, the blood, sweat and tears producers, the writers who conceived the ideas, who eat, sleep and drink the project for years before it lands on our screens and the thousands of people who work beneath that core team to actually make the finished product. When the studios scale back productions and cut budgets, jobs are at risk as a direct result of copyright infringement.

It’s so easy now, too easy and let’s face it, we are lazy. “Yo! I really want to see that new action film but let’s just download it. I can’t be bothered going out and my TV is just bitchin’ as is the super pumped sound system”. Okay so I went a bit Jesse Pinkman there, but you get the idea. Sorry Jesse. Chances are it’s a crappy copy taken from a cinema in the US so in effect you’re watching people, watching the film. But even if it’s not, get the hell off your sofa and get the proper experience yourself!

 

If film-makers stop making films with the cinema screen in mind, the spectacle of their imaginations will diminish also.

 

Peter Jackson made a great point when he said: ‘I really hate the idea that I’m a director making a film for an iPad, it’s kind of depressing and I think I would go and lie on a beach in Fiji and retire if I thought I was really doing that.’

When you download a pirated film (pirate seems such an outdated, romanticised word) you’re crippling that creativity that you enjoy so much. There will always in any business be those at a certain level that earn the top bucks but it’s the hard-working industry professionals who work so hard to bring the dream factory to you and they deserve a bit of loyal respect.

There’s been talk recently of an Indiana Jones reboot with Chris Pratt as the fearless relic hunter. You can bet I’ll be in line at our local cinema with my children clutching our bag of apple drops. Now that’s a moment worth paying for.

Clare Daly
Reviewer

You can check out Clare’s movie reviews on www.themoviebit.com and also her own blog www.thedarkbluelight.com. Find her on Twitter @cdalyireland