I try and keep things civil and positive around here, particularly when discussing matters which get people really riled up. And nothing gets people more riled up than piracy and copyright abuse. Those who create content -?particularly writers, I find, who work on their own – get seriously upset by piracy. Copyfighters, on the other hand, get seriously upset at content creators who get seriously upset, because they, like, just don’t get it, man (I am summarising their argument).
A few months ago I got involved in a bit of a Twitter shriek-match with a former colleague, the renowned Roo Reynolds, over his somewhat, shall we say,?breezy attitude to using Chrome extensions which block advertising inside online video. From memory, he was using this on 4oD material, and because I worked at Channel 4 for a while and have friends there and generally think Channel 4 is a good thing, I climbed up on my high horse and indulged in a little supercilious brick-throwing, which he took in relatively good heart. My point, if it could be said to be anything at all, was that those of us who have some knowledge of the content creation process have some responsibility to try to model good behaviour. And Roo, I felt, was modelling bad behaviour.
This is obviously pious and priggish bullshit, but I still hold a saintly line on this stuff. I don’t download stuff outside the legitimate paid-for or subscription channels. I don’t watch movies in their entirety on websites whose servers are clinging to some non-jurisdictional rock in the Indian Ocean. I don’t pirate books, or audiobooks, or TV plays. I don’t?even pirate?Game of Thrones,?even though HBO and Warner Bros. seem to be playing some kind of weird mindfuckery with me by making it as?hard as possible?to watch it through legitimate channels that don’t involve a bloody great boxset or a subscription to Sky Atlantic.
Which brings us to Upstream Color. For those who don’t know, Upstream Color is the latest work from the genius brain of Shane Carruthers, the man who brought us?Primer and screwed our cerebellum for a generation. I still haven’t seen?Upstream Color, and here’s why.
It’s not available in the UK. “Distribution agreements” are blamed. A film made by a man who was born into the digital age, whose very concept of storytelling seems to be embedded in non-linear, networked concepts, has made a film that I?cannot see even though it’s been available in other places for months.
I mean, really. It’s enough to make a man stick a stuffed parrot on his shoulder and join a single-issue political party. Come on, guys. Let me see this film. Screw release windows and distribution arrangements. Stop trying to maximise every ounce of revenue by squeezing drops of cash from micro-sliced windows. Just put the thing out there and let me?bloody well buy it.
Note: the film may be available. I may have got this wrong. But I’ve searched and searched and haven’t found it. If you know where I can get it, please let me know.?
Note 2: I am not interested in any mechanism for viewing this film that doesn’t compensate the creators. Priggish, I know. But there it is.