Indian Film Industry To Punish Pirates Paying Customers With 3-Month Film Release Boycott

As we’ve noted countless times, diminishing the impact of piracy isn’t exactly rocket science. Give consumers what they want at a reasonable price, and more often than not you’ll be able to minimize piracy’s impact on your business model. But as we’ve seen just as often, that logic is a bridge too far for many entertainment industry executives, who’ve relentlessly instituted all manner of more “creative” solutions to try and retain legacy power in shifting markets. Why give consumers what they want when you can insult, cajole, sue and otherwise harass your paying customers, then blame everything but your own rigid thinking?

The latest ingenious solution comes courtesy of India’s Tamil Film Producer’s Council (TFPC), which is considering a plan to stop releasing movies entirely in the misguided belief that this is going to somehow stop people from pirating. Apparently, the logic goes, if you stop releasing films for three months, the lack of things to pirate (ignoring a century of previous content, of course) will magically stop piracy forever! Ingenious!:

“Piracy will automatically stop when there’s no content. When we stop film releases, say for three months, the movie pirates will go out of business. We are looking into this option because film producers have suffered heavily in the last 24 months,” (said) Kalaipuli S Thanu, TFPC president.”

One, there’s just a blistering amount of hubris involved in believing that you can turn an entire culture’s art creation on and off like some kind of spigot. Like they were scolding a kitten, you’ll recall the RIAA often used to state that if people didn’t stop pirating content, creators would just stop making music — as if the business side of the equation could simply wipe all art creation from the face of the earth. That some still think they can unilaterally stop art creation as a “punishment” for piracy perfectly exemplifies the distorted thinking responsible for the global entertainment industry’s ongoing struggles.

Two, the report notes that just a three-month ban on film production would impact the release of some 36 Indian films, which would then be harmed by the fact that they’d be shoveled in a more crowded release window. In addition to harming content creators, TFPC can’t apparently understand that stopping the release of all films hurts its paying customers. Local filmmaker “Cheran” has a different suggested course of action, involving crazy concepts like modifying release windows and (gasp) lowering prices:

“If original DVD of a new film is available for Rs.50, why would anyone think of buying a pirated copy?” (asked Indian Filmmaker Cheran. “We all know the quality of pirated prints. I’ve sold nearly Rs.10 lakh (or around $16,800) DVDs of my film in the first two days,” he said.”I don’t mind if one person buys and shows it to his entire family. As long as people don’t watch pirated version of any film, I’m happy to release my films on DVD. Most households today have access to digital TV, so new films can be released via direct-to-home medium as well,” he added.”

Hopefully somebody at the TFPC hears Cheran’s outlandish suggestions above the din of indignant entitlement.

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