Liken the major studio to an ostrich - their films are being stolen, and their best course of action is to simply put their heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening.
Everyone knows that movie piracy has run rampant. What is surprising is that the distributors pretend it doesn’t exist because they are overwhelmed and seemingly powerless to stop it.
In my experience as an independent filmmaker, the conversation with the studio revolves around their tactic of Google Search Scrubbing. They are convinced that if you remove illegal stream links from a Google search, it’s gone - WRONG. Besides, by the time a stream link is even detected by Google bots, it has been up on torrent sites for weeks. I may have gone too tech for you, but if you do understand the geek-speak, you know this means you’re fucked. It’s like putting a bandaid on a stab wound. It may not be visible, but you’re still bleeding to death.
Taking cues from the administration at UVA, the studios have a policy of looking the other way while we, the filmmaker, are raped. It’s akin to the music business in the early 2000s when Napster decimated record sales and the labels turned a blind eye. By the time they realized it was an actual problem, and reacted, it was too late and their companies were already collapsing around them. As they dug themselves out of the proverbial rubble of broken compact discs and the old physical distribution model, the business was DOA.
I discussed the subject with a studio exec who claimed they were solving the problem by hiring a “PIRACY CZAR.” He was 70 years old, made $350k a year, and didn’t believe in email. It was in his best interest to make sure that piracy remained a problem for the studio - job security. His brilliant plan was to hire a team of lawyers (another $500k) to file lawsuits via snailmail against each individual downloader. Sounds efficient right? I’m sure the 12 year old in Bangladesh who got one of these letters, used it to make a paper airplane. The process of a lawsuit takes months of back and forth - well beyond the average release cycle of a film, and the links stay up the whole time. The lawyers will just keep playing whack a mole and billing hourly as more links keep popping up.
Picture a dark, poorly ventilated room filled with hundreds of hackers with hot pocket induced acne issues and deadly Vitamin D deficiencies from being inside playing World of Warcraft in 16hr sessions. It resembles the Mos Eisly Cantina, only fartier. This, my friends, is the solution. These guys are experts at the dark arts of internet tomfoolery, and can actually effectively fight back against the “Pirate Bays” of the world - our own personal Blackwater - killers of these links.
If studios only knew that they could spend a tenth of the amount on a team like this… but then they would have to find another way to pad the expenses on our gross receipts accounting statements… but that’s another story.