Independent Filmmaker Shares His Take on the Impact of Content Theft
Author:  Jordan Aluise
Date:  07/20/2011

We listened to a great podcast today with Jason Stall, an independent filmmaker who talked with Music Technology Policy’s Chris Castle about his recent documentary, Blood Into Wine, and how content theft has affected his work and the commercial success of his films.

After talking briefly about what went into creating Blood Into Wine, a documentary about Maynard James Keenan, a singer turned successful winemaker, Castle got right down to business, bluntly asking Stall, “When you released the picture, was it pirated?”

Stall laughed before he replied with the inevitable yes: “I wish I was more shocked but even during the time we were screening it in the theaters, a copy that had been signed for and everything else had made it out before we were even done with our theatrical screening… We thought we had done everything [to prevent content theft] but we turned our heads for a second and it was out there… the explosion was crazy.”

“Once we had a DVD release, within the first week a site popped up that had 23,000 downloads within a very short period of time,” he said.

To help listeners fully understand the way in which content theft affects independent filmmakers, Stall explained the process step by step:
“When you can no longer present on the front end a business model that has a potential as a return for anybody, it becomes pretty hard to find the investors, so that’s the money side of it. Then let’s take the creative side. If you can’t raise the money you did before, quality is going to go down, quantity is going to go down and you’ve crushed the creative process.”

Independent filmmakers like Jason Stall depend on the revenue they earn from viewers who pay to watch their movies and documentaries.

When their films are stolen at such an overwhelming rate, it becomes much more difficult for producers like Jason to persuade investors to back future projects – meaning fewer great new films for all of us.

If you would like to find out more about Blood Into Wine, visit the film’s website here!