Hollywood’s “Anti-Piracy” Hypocrisy

It’s one thing for a Hollywood film producer to do what it can to prevent its own commercial works from being “pirated” on the internet.  It’s entirely another to prevent an independent filmmaker from producing a film and intentionally sharing his work on the internet for free, yet that is exactly what Hollywood film companies Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate are doing right now.

All of these companies asked Google to remove ALL LINKS to the documentary film “TPB-AFK (The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard)” under a DMCA request.  These companies are claiming that THEY, not Filmmaker Simon Klose, own the copyright to TPB-AFK.

They are both hypocrites and thieves when they make that assertion.  They are stealing the rights to a work they neither created nor own, and they are attempting to stop a legitimate filmmaker from distributing his film any way he sees fit, simply because they disagree with the film's subject.

Do the words “Freedom of Speech” mean anything to these film companies?

Here is an excerpt from the “Director’s Statement” of Director Simon Klose, taken from the film’s website http://watch.tpbafk.tv/

The-Pirate-Bay-Away-From-Keyboard-and-Hollywood-HypocrisyOne reason for making this film was that I couldn't relate to the media industry’s claim that sharing files was a threat to creativity. To me, the unrestricted access to culture was the very spark in the online revolution, where every imaginable artistic expression exploded with creativity.

On one hand, many of my artist friends were suffering from less sales, but on the other, the possibilities to produce, market and distribute their art had fundamentally changed for the better. I kept thinking that there must be ways to build a thriving digital economy that incorporates these new tools rather than criminalizing them.

Producing this film has been a thrilling learning process. TPB AFK was shot and cut using affordable digital cameras and editing software, it’s been partly financed with crowd-funding and promoted through social media.

By adding a Creative Commons license to my copyright I want to encourage my audience to share and remix the film. I think I will find more revenue streams by making it available everywhere.

Simon Klose released his film under a Creative Commons License, which simply means anyone is free to share his film without paying him a penny.  He is the legal owner of the copyright; he chose to give away his creative work  and make it free for anyone to share it in any manner they choose.

It’s his personal commitment to Freedom of Speech.

The Pirate Bay, the subject of Klose’s documentary, is the world’s largest internet file sharing website using  “torrents”.  The site does not host the files itself, but uses peer-to-peer networking to make files accessible across the internet.

The owners and founders of The Pirate Bay are both brilliant computer geeks and under constant attack by governments around the world, most notably America.  Specifically, Hollywood.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, is Hollywood’s attempt to curb file sharing on the internet.  From the Wikipedia entry:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works.

Notice it specifically applies to “copyrighted works”.

Great, but what is a “copyrighted work”?

Well, the creator of any creative work owns its copyright immediately upon creation of that work.  I own the copyright to this article, for example, simply because I created it.

I, as the owner of the copyright of this article, may choose to distribute this article any way I choose. I may give it away freely, I may give it away with restrictions, I may submit it to the Public Domain or I may charge for it.  I alone have the rights to do what I want with my creative work.

Copyright enforcement tools such as the DMCA does NOT apply to works that a person or company does not own.

Viacom, Paramount, Fox and Lionsgate do not own the rights to Simon Klose’s documentary.

They have no right to ask anyone to take down any link to it, anywhere on the Internet.

Period.

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I highly encourage you to watch Simon Klose’s documentary, TPB-AFK.  You can order a digital copy of the film online for just $10 directly from the film’s website, http://watch.tpbafk.tv/, you can order a physical DVD for just $23, or you can download the film for free using free torrent software, such as uTorrent.

You can also watch it on YouTube.  Here's the link to the English version.

I found the documentary engaging and intensely interesting from many perspectives.  As a computer programmer, watching these brilliant computer geeks do what they do fascinated me.  As a filmmaker I found his method of telling the story compelling.  That computer tech crossed with Free Speech hooked me for obvious reasons and the heavy hand of government censorship appalled me.

Yeah, kind of like Hollywood film studios claiming copyright to a film they neither created nor own.

The story of what these young men went through because they dared stand up for their principles is both awe-inspiring and shocking, whether you agree with their position or not.

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The Official Trailer for TPB AFK

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