Let’s get one thing clear: the following should surprise absolutely no one.
Over the weekend, news broke of yet another piracy-related study, this one having to do with the dearly departed Megaupload. In this paper, The Munich School of Management and Copenhagen Business School show that the shutdown of Megaupload negatively impacted the box office sales of many movies.
Yeah, that’s right: Hurt the sharing, hurt the sales.
My first response was a hearty HAHAHA YOU FUCKED YOURSELVES MWAHAHAHAHAHAA!! But sadly, this is not really a cause for celebration.
The study showed that the little guy was hurt the most. That’s right: While the rash actions of the US Department of Justice yeilded small improvement for blockbusters after Mega’s demise, most smaller movies – the ones without the big advertising budgets, and the ones for whom word of mouth is indispensable – saw box office sales fall.
I had a second uncharitable HAHAHAHA moment when I thought of what this meant for my own industry – for books and publishers* – : All those small-time indie authors who’ve taken up torches and pitchforks against file sharing, THEY are the ones most likely to be hurt when pirates go down.
I’m not a great person, so I want to be happy about this. I want to laugh in the faces of the bullies and the mobs as they stab themselves in the foot with the stakes they try to burn us with. But I can’t. I want to think this is the best way to get the loudmouths out of the game – to let them screw themselves, and their work. Let them kill their own sales, let them stop the sharing of their work, let their work languish in oblivion where it belongs. I want to be happy.
But I’m not happy.
I’m sad that many small time indie authors who HAVE embraced the digital world and HAVE moved with the times and HAVE defended file sharing and libraries would be hurt. What a pity that they suffer for the rash tantrums of the angry mobs!
(*Yes, movie data may not translate to books, the patterns of piracy are largely mirrored in the publishing industry.)