A Hollywood CEO has slammed the piracy group that leaked dozens of blockbuster movies over Christmas.
Keith Kupferschmid, head of the Copyright Alliance, says the group’s claims to have helped movie studios with their leaks are “patently absurd.”
In December, Hive-CM8 made headlines by releasing “The Hateful Eight,” the latest film by Quentin Tarantino — a full week before it was out in the cinema.
The group claimed to have 40 such films in its possession, and said it planned to leak them over the subsequent weeks. But it stopped after potentially identifying information about one of its members was leaked.
The group subsequently released a surreal “apology” that directly addressed Tarantino. “We feel sorry for the trouble we caused,” it said. “we never intended to hurt anyone by doing that, we didnt know it would get that popular that quickly.”
But Hive-CM8 went on to claim that its leak — the subsequent downloading of the movie by pirates more than 1 million times — may have actually benefited the movie.
“Since everyone is now talking about [The Hateful Eight] we dont think the producers will loose any money at cinedate,” they argued. “We actually think this has created a new type of media hype that is more present in the news, radio and in the papers than starwars [sic], and the promotional costs for this were free.”
Keith Kupferschmid thinks this is nonsense. He’s the CEO of Copyright Alliance, a non-profit organisation that represents artists’ and studios’ copyright interests, and whose members include the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Universal, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Disney, and many other major players in Hollywood.
Writing on the Copyright Alliance’s site, Kupferschmid responded directly to Hive-CM8’s statement. “It’s pretty obvious that Hive’s statement is self-serving, not to mention patently false and ill-informed,” he says. “And while refuting most of their assertions is probably unnecessary, perhaps this incident can be used as a teachable moment.” (TorrentFreak previously reported on Kupferschmid’s essay.)
It’s not nearly as simple as “Put it on the internet = free publicity,” he argues. “If marketing a new film, album or book was as easy as leaking it online, movie studios, record labels and book publishers would do it themselves. However, when releasing new creative works, the success of these works depends on creating new markets and consumer awareness, which requires far more than just dumping content online.”
Take “Jurassic Park,” Kupferschmid says. It’s a well-known franchise — but still took “a massive and innovative marketing push” that involved everything from sports tie-ins to special screenings. “The Hateful Eight” required similar efforts.
The internet is overflowing with content — and he says this means studios have to work hard to make theirs stand out. “While this competition is great for the creative community and for consumers, it also means that connecting with consumers is more difficult and expensive than it has been in the past, and requires a level of creativity and ingenuity far beyond just simply leaking the creative work online. The notion that a faceless group of Internet outlaws drives audience buzz — more than a creative team’s marketing campaign, advertising, and promotions — is patently absurd.”
“The notion that a faceless group of Internet outlaws drives audience buzz — more than a creative team’s marketing campaign, advertising, and promotions — is patently absurd.”
Police investigations are ongoing into the source of the film leaks, which are believed to be “screeners” — copied versions of films sent to awards judges for their consideration ahead of events like the Oscars. The file for “The Hateful Eight” has been traced back to a copy intended for Hollywood exec Andrew Koseve. (There’s no indication Koseve was involved in the leak.)
Keith Kupferschmid’s post appears to the be first time a senior Hollywood figure has addressed Hive-CM8’s argument directly. Earlier this month Richard Gladstein — a producer who worked on “The Hateful Eight” — discussed the pirating of the Tarantino movie in an article. But he didn’t even mention the piracy group, instead focusing his ire on Google.
Gladstein argued that the search giant is “aiding and abetting criminal activity,” and is trying to “deliberately” obscure the problem of piracy by bringing up Fair Use, another copyright concern.
Google told Business Insider that the company continues “to invest heavily in copyright tools for content owners and process takedown notices faster than ever, removing the vast majority of the URLs flagged to us for removal.”