FOX FILMS: We Should Disconnect File-Sharers Like France

CEO Jim Gianopulos says punishing repeat offenders is necessary to create “a level playing field” for independent filmmakers, those, it claims, hurt hardest by piracy.

Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Jim Gianopulos believes the US should follow France’s lead and impose a “three-strikes” system disconnecting repeat file-sharers from the Internet.

He said that internet piracy is the single biggest threat to the worldwide film industry, and that independent films are the hardest hit.

Speaking to a news conference in Athens, Greece, the country that’s ironically the birthplace of democracy and free speech, he told the audience about the state of piracy that “the bad news is that the internet is big, and it’s anonymous.”

That’s why ISPs must be forced to track down the IP addresses of suspected file-sharers and sanction them.

“If we can do that, it would be a big victory against piracy,” he said, and would help create a “level playing field” for independent filmmakers who he claims are the hardest hit by piracy.

It’s the same argument made by Sony Pictures Pres Michael Lynton late last month when he said that P2P harms indie films’ chances of “building an international audience.” This in turn deprives them of “entire markets where stolen versions of their work have proliferated online.”

It’s an interesting strategy for movie studios trying to argue piracy is killing jobs and therefore need increased legislation on the one hand, while on the other it praises itself for another in a series of years with record breaking ticket sales.

The only way to reconcile the two is to say that indie filmmakers are the ones really hurting and that it’s important we save them.

But, it should be noted that in some cases indie filmmakers enjoy a net positive when it comes to pirates making their films available online.

Jamin and Kiowa of Double Edge Films saw their movie Ink recently uploaded to several BitTorrent tracker sites and were subsequently amazed with the outpouring of public exposure.

P2P allows filmmakers to show their work to a global audience with no strings attached or costs to speak of. It may be more difficult to earn a profit than it was before, but its incumbent upon them to figure out how to do so rather than trying to bend the Internet for everyone else – movie fans and non-movie fans – to meet its financial needs.

Stay tuned.

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