The World of Free Downloads, Free Movies and Piracy of Movies & TV Shows

by on January 3, 2011

in Entertainment

Movie Piracy on the web

For some, we tend to watch our entertainment legitimately where we actually pay for the services we use, as is legally intended.  For others they seem to feel as if it’s their god-given right to steal copyrighted content for their own purposes and have the most unique excuses for why.  It’s so sad, or bad that for Transformers 3 that’s coming out in July, there are already numerous results on the web for “free download” or “free movies” that want to lure  you into their tangled web of illicitly provided wares.  And for a movie that isn’t out yet.  I mean really?  The movie is still in post production.  But hey, this is the “wild west” era of the Internet we’re in, where everyone wants to offer and watch movies outside the normal processes that studios and distributors provide for the honest working Joe.

It’s the era, I’m sure.

Top Pirated TV Shows

As it goes, even TV shows have found themselves pirated right along with those “free movies” and such.  Of the shows available, ABC’s Lost was the most pirated show of 2010, followed by Heroes, Dexter, The Big Bang Theory and House rounding out the top-five pirated TV shows.

Other shows in the top-ten include How I Met Your Mother, 24, True Blood, Glee and Family Guy.

Top Pirated Movies

As far as movies go, success breeds success and that includes how the number of times a movie is pirated can mirror the actual success of a movie… sometimes.

In this case Avatar was the most pirated movie of 2010.  After that Kick-Ass, Inception, Shutter Island and Iron Man 2 were the top-five pirated movies.

Avatar made $2.8 billion at the box office.  Kick-Ass pulled in $96M worldwide.  Inception made $817M, Shutter Island … $294M.  If perchance pirated downloads equal potential box office interest, it seems that all of those “preview” thefts of movies could have hurt Kick-Ass at the box office.

The other movies that filled out the top-ten most pirated movies include Clash of the Titans, Green Zone, Sherlock Holmes, The Hurt Locker and Salt.

Pirating IS Theft

FBI Anti-Piracy Warning - no free movies these days

Yes, earlier I said preview.  I’ve seen the excuses and out-right self-deceptions where folks claim they’re stealing a movie to preview it to know if they want to go see it.  These silly statements make me laugh.  You steal… it’s as plain as that.  Just because you have access to a movie doesn’t mean it’s free.

When movies get hurt by theft it can impact various business entities and potential future projects associated with a franchise.  But hey, as long as the thieves get what they want, they seem to not care about the folks on the other end of the celluloid…  or these days, on the other side of their laptop monitor.

Can Piracy Be Quantified?

Despite all the claims about all the jobs and the millions of dollars that could be lost, it’s been determined that it is almost impossible to accurately quantify the economic impacts.

Though if you look at say one number, the 16.6 million illegal downloads of Avatar, that’s a mere $132 million lost to the distributors, studios and theaters if you estimate that at an average ticket price of $7.95.  Looking at Kick-Ass, it was downloaded 11.4M times.  That comes to $90.6M, which is on par with its worldwide box office of $96M.  In this case, Kick-Ass looks like it was hurt and hurt badly.

But the FBI had declared that in 2002 the industry lost up to $250B in funds, though that very report had no record of source data that can corroborate the stats.  Still, just looking at the two examples I’ve picked above, that’s a chunk of change.

Anti-Piracy Efforts In The Process

Earlier in 2010 an anti-piracy act was started that would give the Department of Justice the power to shut down websites that are deemed sites that help propagate the infringement of intellectual property on the web.  The act also enables the government to block U.S. access to overseas sites that get identified as sources of illegal content.

In late November in conjunction with Cyber Monday and the anti-piracy act, the feds shut down 82 domains that were online retailers of pirated products.

I Don’t Believe In Theft

Bart Simpson will not illegally download free movies

In case you had not noticed, I don’t approve of theft of copyrighted content.  When people steal things and leak a movie online, like even before it opens in theaters, it is things like that that motivate the authorities.

I don’t watch illegal content.  I believe in the system… or better yet, I would not like this kind of theft done to myself.  Think about this:  Say you worked for two years building something you wanted to sell to the public.  You depend on making enough money from it to live off of and reinvest the rest into your next project.  But you suddenly saw that your work started showing up on the internet and the number of copies of your product equaled about 30% of your net.  How would you feel?  If that 30% was the make-it or break-it difference for you, it would mean a lot.

Sure, the big studios make it just fine, but every now and then, these numbers can hurt the smaller folk and you don’t realized who it is gets stiffed.

But as more pirating takes place, I can only see it as a motivation for the $65 Billion industry known as Hollywood to actually apply some serious monetary pressure to the political system to motivate new laws and processes to be enacted that will make it just that more difficult for the regular guy to enjoy any kind of entertainment via the internet.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Capt. Obvious July 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

If you go outside your paid provider to download and watch something, they call it piracy.

If you download content that is presently available on DVD, it becomes a more narrow line or definition of piracy.

It was free the day it aired. After that, not so much. C.O.

nonya July 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

how is it “pirating” if it’s a free tv show like how i met your mother, etc. ?

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