Illegal downloads: where does it leave film workers?

Posted on 10/05/2012 by Emma Dadswell


Downloading films and TV programs via the likes of iTunes is a popular, affordable, and more importantly legal way to watch them on devices such as an Ipad or a laptop. However, it appears that the downloading of media through illegal sites is increasing at an alarming rate – 30% in the last 5 years.

The reason behind this increase is simple – advancements in technology and faster broadband connections mean you can download media in no time at all. What’s more, with box office hits, and popular TV series being aired in the US weeks, sometimes months before the UK, users are becoming impatient. They don’t want to have to wait for them to be released this side of the pond.  Downloading them illegally is becoming a cheaper and faster alternative.

So what are the consequences for staff in the film industry?  A recent article from the BBC cites a Ealing Studios employee “If the royalties made on a film are lower than they should be, it has a knock on effect on what the company can do next time they produce a feature...Instead of having a team of three in accounts, they have a team of two. That’s one person with a job”.

The issue of illegal downloads is clearly a big issue for the industry. So what’s the solution? There has been a lot of discussions recently suggesting that the only way to beat this criminal activity is to compete with it. The film companies will need to offer users what they want; they need to be more competitive by offering films and TV programs for a fee  so that the industry benefits, and not the criminals.