Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Scene: Piracy Series Director Interview

NYU student Brian Sandro has a secret: he and his friends pirate hundreds of millions of dollars of illicit Hollywood movies in their spare time. They are revered, reviled, hunted and admired. No one knows who they are - at least, not as far as they know.
This is the pitch for The Scene, an online series about the fictional movie ripping group CPX, lead by Brian Sandro. Episodes can be viewed online and downloaded through BitTorrent and P2P clients, and are distributed under a Creative Commons license. Just watched some episodes and all you see is Sandro sitting behind his computer (great acting), while another screen displays the chat sessions with his crew members and an Asian "business partner" to which he leaks movies. A bit entertaining, and it offers some insight in the piracy trading, though I've got no idea how far this is accurate. Apparently 70% of the initial viewers of the series thought they were looking at some real action.

Slyck now has an interview with writer/director Mitchell Reichgut, who is also founder of Jun Entertainment Group, the production company behind The Scene. He has some clear ideas about the role of file-sharing in future distribution of (television) entertainment and the (legal) developments that might threaten it, such as the broadcast flag:
If the only hope of saving costly productions is with the broadcast flag, then we're done with costly productions. Not one of the various DRM schemes ever proposed has worked for more than a few months, and the hardware to evade the broadcast flag already exists. Can the content industries or the FCC point to one *single* song or video that has been protected with DRM that hasn't been pirated?

On the other hand, our vision of the future is that file sharing will become like TV - entertainment that's paid for by sponsors, not by recipients. In that world, you aren't ramming DRM or the broadcast flag down the throats of consumers who don't want it.


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