Avatar proves pirates and studios have got it all wrong.

Disappointed by the news reported on the BBC today, that James Cameron’s Avatar was the most pirated movie of 2010 according to TorrentFreak. Ok, Cameron’s gigantic ego, his huge budget productions, and the colossal profit they rake in all indicate that having the biggest pirate downloads is only proportionally fair. But what is saddening, is that it is these, the most visually striking movies, that really need to be seen at the cinema, or at least on blu-ray/ dvd in their highest possible quality.

The Studios Vs. The Pirates

Kick Ass, another high octane action blockbuster that really deserved to be seen in all it’s glory at the cinema, is the second most pirated film this year. Closely followed by Inception, Shutter Island, Iron Man 2 and Clash of the Titans. In fact, of all ten films, I don’t think there’s a single one that is fully enjoyable in low quality, slightly pixelated, downloaded format. I’m slightly baffled that people would be content watching that, and it annoys me that some people evidently are.

I’m not going to suggest that any films are more or less deserving than others of being pirated, but it certainly makes sense that people download a drama, or a comedy. Unfairly perhaps, as that means low budget movies would be most vulnerable to suffering from piracy, their lack of special effects easily watchable with a little less quality. However, the fact that the top ten downloaded movies are all dependent on visual style leaves me a little exasperated.

As a film fan, I find piracy to be a tricky topic to discuss, and certainly a balancing act in practice – is it ok to download a movie if I first watch it legally? Is it wrong to download a movie in order to share it with your friends, when in a manner of speaking that could be advertising and promotion? I’ve downloaded movies in the past, watched them, and then bought them. Equally, I’ve seen a film and thought, wow, I wish that was out on DVD, I want to watch it again right now – to Isohunt I go.

The fact of the matter is, piracy is here to stay for the foreseeable future and both punters and studios need to adjust accordingly. Film goers should act responsibly; never watch a cam for instance, try to buy or gift films you love, get to the cinema and support the industry you rely on for so much enjoyment. Equally, studios should meet the demand for immediate content, provide alternative, legal downloads of new films, offer subscription services (such as NetFlix in the USA) etc. at prices people are a) willing and b) capable of paying.

Number one rule: give the people what they want. (Or they’ll take it anyway).

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