Stealing from Dinesh D’Souza
Yesterday I saw a wave of “conservative” activity online that both angered and dismayed me: A stream of conservative bloggers and commenters flagrantly posted and reposted a link to Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary 2016: Obama’s America, headlining: “Now online in its entirety on Youtube”.
The blogosphere raced to watch and download (and upload?) 2016 for free. Meaning, of course, that Dinesh D’Souza and everyone else involved with this film, a film so incredibly important to history, to this election, a film that was 3 years in the making, received no royalties for the viewings.
When I followed the link to the video yesterday it had roughly 13,700 hits. At a $10/movie ticket price, the filmmakers lost $137,000 via that youtube link alone, assuming only 1 viewer at a time watched it. Of course there’s no way of calculating how often the film was downloaded and the exponential number of viewers and lost income resulting from that.
The upload date was August 14, meaning it the video was uploaded around the time or before 2016 hit the wider theater market.
It was uploaded by a conservative blogger affiliated with a very well known conservative blog. It was deceptively titled “Vimeo” and uploaded as an “unlisted video”. None of this was secret: Every person who went to the link could clearly see that the video was not on Dinesh’s youtube channel nor any channel that appeared to be affiliated with the film. Everyone could see that there was no video description and was not “findable” via a youtube search.
Did anyone care? Did any bloggers think to openly refuse to post the link? How many bloggers/commenters informed Dinesh D’Souza and/or Lionsgate that the video had been posted for all to see and download??? Dinesh’s own contact info is easily searchable: Did anyone bother to contact him?
Instead, what I witnessed was a virtual feeding frenzy as conservative bloggers and commenters rushed to spread the word and consume the “freebie”. In some cases, bloggers even justified their actions by citing a purported lack of film availability:
“The thing that’s bad is that Dinesh D’Souza’s movie is not available on DVD yet…and it is not available streaming. The movie is not playing in theaters convenient to 80% of the public.”
– Kevin Dujan, Hillbuzz
After the movie was pulled later in the day due to copyright infringement (something I, as a filmmaker, consider truly “bad”!), some bloggers & commenters encouraged others to wait for the inevitable illegal upload!
(Above is just one example of many…)
A few bloggers did remove their link and comments, usually after the video was removed by Youtube. I viewed several “2016 on youtube” threads, but the sole person I saw clearly speak out against it was TheTamminator, who posted to her credit:
“I won’t watch stolen movies on the internet. That’s stealing.”
As for the rest of the so-called conservatives? The very tenet of capitalism, which relies on people paying for the goods they receive, flew out the window as soon as they were able to get the goods for free!
Is watching 2016 without paying for it, without legal permission, some kind of conservative entitlement?
Where was the honor, the honesty, the morals so often touted?? What happened to PAYING SOMEONE FOR THEIR WORK rather than stealing it because the opportunity presented itself?
Everyone who followed that youtube link could see that something was not right. The video was falsely titled, there was no accompanying public announcement from Lionsgate or Dinesh that the vid had been posted, and we all know that the DVD will be released in the near future. Newsflash, people: Filmmakers rely on people paying to see and purchase their films. Everyone could and should have waited for official confirmation before posting and spreading that link.
The person who uploaded it is undoubtedly – at the very latest since yesterday – known to Lionsgate. That person may have breached Dinesh’s/Lionsgate’s trust or it may have been others who publicly posted the link. That said, if the poster had permission to upload 2016 at all, it could have been listed as “private” rather than “unlisted”, thus preventing anyone else from “sharing” the link.
Alas, he did not.
And rather than protect Dinesh, Lionsgate and all the others involved in the making of 2016, conservative bloggers COLLECTIVELY participated in counterproductive, dishonest and damaging copyright infringement.
Shame on all of you.
How can we expect anyone to make important films like this in the future if we all jump at the chance to distribute and steal their work without paying them?
Dinesh D’Souza is someone I greatly admire. This was his first film. He is one of the gentlest souls I’ve seen in politics a long time, and one of the most intelligent. He cares about this country, he cares about us. He is the last person we should steal from!
Do the right thing. And be sure to read his latest article.
Dinesh points out the importance of the theater release:
“We want people to go to the theater, by the way, we want people to go to the theater because it’s so important, particularly for this kind of film that’s against the grain to demonstrate that it can do well at the box office, so we’re not done with that by any means.”
– Dinesh D’Souza
Posted & tweeted about by NiceDeb – thanks!