Copyright Protection,
an industry insiders view on the effects its having on people who love cinema

When Lovemovies.ie asked me to write this article on Copyright Protection, I realized it was something that has always been important to me, even before I knew exactly why…

Copyright protection and intellectual property are essential for the continued growth of the film and television industry. It can often go overlooked just how necessary for jobs, art and creativity protecting projects is. This is a must, from conception to completion.

 

Receiving the proper credit and acknowledgement for your work should be a given. This is why we need more copyright protection.

 

I’ve had a passion for film since I was a child. I made short films, animations, comics, (all terrible) and even then it was natural to sign your work, to leave some stamp on what you create.

 

When I was eleven I remember going to see The Lord of The Rings in the cinema, the act of physically getting up and going to the place, of queuing in anticipation, of the crowds, the posters, the popcorn. I was completely in awe. I went to see it seven times in the UCI. A few weeks later it started sinking in, I could not only watch films, I could make my own. I wrote to Peter Jackson in New Zealand telling him how I wanted to make movies and asked him ‘how do I become a director?’ I was eleven, I didn’t know. Then months later I got a reply and advice, it was some short thing but it made it all seem real and possible. I would never have gotten that lasting experience from a laptop.

The quality of the illegal download isn’t the issue, a screener DVD or a camera copy that was hidden up some guy’s baggy sleeve; the cinema has been an experience and a retreat to other worlds for decades and it takes an unbelievable amount of work to accomplish that.

There’s a quote from E.W Babbe that I think sums up escapism via film perfectly –

“At the cinema…for three hours he rides the plains of Arizona, tastes the nightlife of Paris or New York, makes a safe excursion into the underworld, sails the seven seas or explores the African Jungle. Famous comedians make him laugh and forget his difficulties and discouragements.”

 

The cinema screen is the platform these films are made for, that hasn’t changed. It’s in the mind of the writer, cinematographer and director from inception. Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t made to watch on an iPhone, on your commute. The landscape of how movies can be viewed and enjoyed after the cinematic release has changed. You can watch them on a laptop, or television and you should. It can remind you of the time you saw them in the cinema.

It’s similar to the current issue in the music industry. Illegal downloading of songs and albums and other copyright protection infringements have caused artists to rely on live event ticket sales for the majority of their income.

 

No one is going to pay €65.00 to see Quentin Tarantino read a film script live in arenas across the world, never seeing a frame. Or maybe they would.

 

Films can cost hundreds of millions to produce; independent films take twenty hour days, years of work and dedication, the studios are looking to recoup their investment, independent filmmakers are looking to hopefully fund another project and that only works if the money is there. It’s getting a great deal more difficult to get project’s funded and even more problematic to fund innovation or risk. The sacrifice is a significant loss in investment to the industry and ultimately a loss of quality to the art.

The future is multi-platform, interactive and immersive viewing. I know a lot of studios and VFX companies are developing virtual reality and cross-stream concepts, so film is evolving. The creative minds are there, including the technology, involving the innovations but still working hard to bring it all to a cinema near you.

 

Darren Williams
Writer/Director.