Hollywood is still 100% focused on trying to blame the internet for any of its woes, mostly with bogus attacks on internet companies it doesn’t like. And yet… it seems to keep on setting box office records. The latest is that Universal Pictures has broken a new record in bringing in $2 billion in box office revenue faster than any other studio in history, pushed over the top by the successful opening weekend of “Straight Outta Compton” (a movie that seems to have some big fans in Silicon Valley).
The best way for Hollywood to defeat piracy is by making content available, legally. To further this effort dozens of video on demand services have been launched throughout the world. However, not all of these services are happy with how the major studios treat them, and today we hear why.
The account below comes from an employee of a mid-sized video on demand (VOD) service in Europe.
To avoid repercussions from the major studios the author prefers to remain anonymous
After a Spanish court ordered local ISPs to implement a nationwide ban against The Pirate Bay last Friday, several local media outlets published articles listing alternatives to the infamous site. As a result they’re now under fire from entertainment industry companies including Paramount Pictures, with some even suggesting an advertising boycott.
After being blocked by ISPs in more than a dozen European territories, The Pirate Bay has now been rendered inaccessible in Spain following orders from a local court.
On Friday, Madrid’s Central Administrative Litigation Court No. 5 gave local service providers just 72 hours to stop providing access to the infamous site, with several responding much more quickly.
It soon became evident that the ‘ban’ was easily circumvented by Internet users savvy enough to change their DNS settings, but access to ‘pirate’ content isn’t only available through The Pirate Bay.
As a result ‘Pirate Bay Alternatives’ articles began appearing in local media, much as they have done in other countries subjected to ISP blocks. But while these popular lists are usually met with industry silence, in Spain they appear to have touched a nerve.
Founded in 1903, daily newspaper ABC published an online article titled “Other Options After Closing The Pirate Bay”. It drew an immediate response from Jaume Ripoll Vaquer, co-founder of legal video streaming site Filmin.com
“I see @ abc_es also continues the fashion of publicizing [sites that send traffic] to unauthorized content. Congratulations guys,” he wrote on Twitter.
While that criticism seems to have done the trick (ABC withdrew the article, Google cache here), others weren’t so easily deterred.
Published by El Confidencial, “Alternatives to The Pirate Bay: Where You Can Download Torrents in Spanish” provoked direct criticism from Paramount Pictures.
In comments to ElDiario, Paramount Pictures’ promotions manager Laura Ruiz Andrino said that financially supporting publications that direct their readers to places where illegal content can be obtained is not something that should be entertained.
And in a message to media managers at Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures, Andrino suggested that if sites like El Confidencial and ABC choose to support “illegal downloading”, perhaps companies opposed to that stance should consider an advertising boycott. Another Filmin co-founder agreed.
“When buying advertising one should also look at ethics, not only the audience,” he wrote.
Fighting back, Alfredo Pascual, chief editor of the technology section of El Confidencial told HojaDeRouter that the withdrawal of advertising could be viewed as an attack on the media’s right to inform.
“They end up attacking freedom of expression,” Pascual said. “My intention with this article is simply to show that the closure of sites is not a way to solve the problem. For every website that is closed there will be other ten, and this will be the never ending story until there is [a legal] offer that can meet the demand.”
Noting that threats had been made to withdraw press passes from his publication’s culture section, Pascual remains defiant.
“With each closing [of a website] I intend to publish another list [of alternative sites],” the editor concludes.