If you download a copyrighted movie without paying for it, you’re a moron, according to the producer of Oscar-winning film “The Hurt Locker.”
Nicolas Chartier lashed out at movie pirates in an e-mail to a reader of BoingBoing. The reader had e-mailed Chartier to show disapproval of mass lawsuits against 50,000 people who shared the movie on BitTorrent networks. Chartier’s response, in part:
“I’m glad you’re a moron who believes stealing is right. I hope your family and your kids end up in jail one day for stealing so maybe they can be taught the difference. Until then, keep being stupid, you’re doing that very well. And please do not download, rent, or pay for my movies, I actually like smart and more important HONEST people to watch my films.”
The person who e-mailed Chartier argued that while the production company has the right to protect its intellectual property, suing people who don’t have the means to defend themselves is “inhumane.” This person said he would boycott films from the production company as a result. Obviously, that doesn’t bother Chartier in the least.
Voltage Pictures launched 50,000 lawsuits against movie pirates last week. The award-winning film, about an Explosives Ordinance Disposal unit in Iraq, leaked to BitTorrent sites months before its release in the United States, but I’m guessing the legal action is not limited to people who circulated the film early. Voltage is using a mass lawsuit system that was tested in Germany and is now being tried by the U.S. Copyright Group. The U.S. film industry’s major trade group, the Motion Picture Association of America, has not latched on to the idea, but is interested.
I’m sympathetic to the idea that artists should be paid for their work, but Chartier’s argument rings hollow. “If you think it’s normal they take my work for free, I’m sure you will give away all your furniture and possessions and your family will do the same,” he writes. Alas, a digital movie is not the same as a physical good that cannot be copied. Sorry, it just isn’t. Meanwhile, these lawsuits could be depriving Voltage Pictures of fans who could eventually be turned into paying customers if given the proper incentive. But it’s clear that Chartier doesn’t care about that.