By Michael Sucsy
The week my most recent film, Every Day, was released in movie theaters, I noticed a comment posted on social media — “Looks amazing. Where can I download this for free?”
The movie wasn’t even available yet as a paid download and still this person thought it completely reasonable that she should be able to access it for free. Then it occurred to me that, in this get-it-now culture, she might not understand the consequences of downloading content this way, so I wrote her back. Here was my response:
“I’m sure you don’t realize this because downloading movies for free is so accessible and easy, but not paying for them hurts millions of people whose job it is to make movies and TV shows. You’re probably unaware of the financial damage you inflict on working people when you pirate content, but the harm caused by piracy is real.”
“The deepest damage done by illegal downloads isn’t to wealthy movie stars who are the faces of Hollywood, but rather to the millions of workers who never set foot on a red carpet, appear on camera, or find themselves on a magazine cover. You know the long list of names you see at the end of a movie? Those are the individuals you’re hurting the most when you download a movie for free.”
“Film and television creation is our job, our livelihood, how we provide for our families. It allows us to put food on the table, pay our bills, and send our kids to school. Ticket sales and revenue generated from legal streaming fund our healthcare benefits and retirement plans. If you don’t pay to watch a movie, no portion of that can go to help us care for our loved ones.”
“There is an initiative called StandCreative™ that hopes to change the perception that art is ‘easy’ by putting a face to some of the hardworking people who earn a living by doing what they love. I am one of those faces.”
“Please protect the arts, protect workers, protect our families, and protect the quality content you love to watch. We #StandCreative, we stand together. (www.creativefuture.org)”
Michael is right – too often, the work that goes on behind-the-scenes by highly skilled professionals is undermined by the availability of illegal downloading. Entertainment isn’t actually free; it takes a lot of money, time, and dedication to create what audiences love to watch on the screen. Individuals, like Michael Sucsy, invest countless hours to bring us the characters and stories we love because it is their passion. But as creative works become easier to access, some people have become lulled into taking the work of artists for granted, not realizing the consequences. Whether it’s an electrician, carpenter, caterer, designer, cameraperson, or others, 2.1 million workers in the film and television industries depend on their projects being successful and not suffering from the scourge of illegal digital piracy.
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