Over the weekend, TorrentFreak posted an extended interview with independent film director Sam Bozzo, whose most recent film (Hackers Wanted) has been pirated in a couple of different versions.
This isn’t Bozzo’s first pirate experience. Blue Gold: World Water Wars was pirated shortly after its initial release. Although Bozzo was initially worried about the impact, he appealed to the BitTorrent community, explained the independent nature of the film and solicited donations, which he received.
In Bozzo’s view, piracy gave Blue Gold “free advertising” that built the following for his film in a way that may otherwise have eluded him. In his words:
“In a nutshell, I believe the only films that are hurt by torrent sharing are mediocre and bad films. In contrast, the good films of any genre only benefit from file-sharing.”
Bozzo’s experience is but one data point, more anecdote than data. His story is interesting in part because his films are the kind you might think are more likely to be hurt (not helped) by piracy.
The story is also interesting because it points to the technology as an opportunity to break down the walls that can separate content creators from their natural audiences. As Bozzo notes, some college students who saw Blue Water changed their majors in response.
I’m not starry-eyed about piracy as salvation, but piracy undoubtedly exists. It’s encouraging to see someone riding a wave that chases strangers, perhaps until there are no strangers anymore.