All Aboard the Pirate Ship?

The movie industry is huge with the global box office making $38bn in 2016 (Statista, 2016). But there is this ‘underworld’ we are probably all part of, illegal online downloads. Pirate Bay, the biggest online site, was seeing 12m+ visitors a day in 2012 (Enigmax, 2012), and the practice has got bigger as cinema cost has risen. Below is a video explaining free movies online, created by me:


Open access to movies is becoming more popular and encouraged through the Creative Commons movement, presented in the video. In this, you present your work to the public and allow them to access it for free,giving it a wider audience (Elkin-Koren, 2006). The Creative Commons Copyright law is the positive aspect of the open access, with the illegal streaming the negative aspect of the practice, below I present some advantages and disadvantages of open access to movies:


Open access can be advantageous to the movie industry and hopeful film makers. If they take advantage they could develop into prominent creative producers. Take the Arctic Monkeys from the music industry, they have gone from a band on the internet providing their music for free to having No.1 singles (Hastead, 2005), all because they took advantage of open access. The same could be applied to the film industry, an up and coming movie creator could put their movie online for free, get noticed and propel to Hollywood off the back of it. You could even look at it in the same way with illegal streams, in trilogies streaming one of the movies could create a love of the franchise and therefore the next movie will make more money.

However there are disadvantages. The main one comes from illegal streams. If medium budget movies are streamed for free they lose a lot of potential revenue and could therefore faultier the movie franchise causing collapse. KSI, a youtuber, brings this to light in one of his video where he is visibly upset about people pirating his movie, explaining it could mean there isn’t a follow up. So despite it creating a potential audience for the second movie, there may not be a movie to watch.

I feel that open access can be a good platform, using the Creative Common concept. However, watching through pirate bay is more of a tricky area, as they have copyright and could cause movie franchises to collapse and lose out, potentially killing the industry slowly.

(400 words)


  • Statista, 2016, Statistics and Facts about the Movie Industry, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
  • Enigmax, 2012, Pirate Bay Enjoys 12 Million Traffic Boost, Shares Unblocking Tips, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December)
  • Video created by me, in order of appearance:
    • Orr. C, 2014, Is Cinema Dying?, CriticsAnalysis, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December)
    • PHD Comics, 2012, Open Accessed Explained!, YouTube video, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    •, 2016, When we Share, Everyone Wins, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    • Romano, 2013, Copyright Free Movies!, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    • Longzijun (blog), 2016, Creative Commons Licenses: Advantages and Drawbacks, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    • Ernesto, 2016, Top Torrent Sites see Surge after ‘Shutdowns’, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    • Music: SiriusBeatTV, Royalty Free Music [Film/Epic/Action/Trailer] #54- Nobility, Available online at (Last Accessed 6th December 2016)
  • Elkin-Koren. N, 2006, What Contracts Cannot Do: The Limits Of Private Ordering In Facilitating A Creative Commons, Law Journal Library, Fordham Law Review, v74
  • Advantages and Disadvantages table:
    • Conlin. C, 2015, What are the disadvantages of using Creative Commons photos for ads?, Available Online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    • Storm. L, 2016, Pros & Cons of Online File Sharing & Piracy,  Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    •, 2016, What are the benefits of offering and using creative commons licences?, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
    • Hunt. M, 2016, The benefits of try-before-you-buy fulfilment, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
  • Hastead. N, 2005, Year of the Arctic Monkeys, The Independent, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)
  • KSI, 2016, We Need To Talk., YouTube video, Available online at (Last Accessed 9th December 2016)


Read but not used directly:

  • Lepitak. S, 2013, 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests, TheDrum, Available online at (Last Accessed 6th December 2016)
  • Wiley. D, Green. C and Soares. L, 2012, Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER: How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning, Centre for American Progress, Available online at (Last Accessed 6th December 2016)
  • Forbes, 2013, Education Finally Ripe For Radical Innovation By Social Entrepreneurs, Available online at (Last Accessed 6th December)
  • Background Information from Scoop:
    • Hall. M, 2014, Why open access should be a key issue for university leaders, Guardian, Available online at (Last Accessed 6th December 2016)
    • Tillje Blog, 2013, Two Different Kinds of Open Access Buttons, Available online at (Last Accessed 6th December 2016)

13 thoughts on “All Aboard the Pirate Ship?

  1. Hi Joe,

    I really like the points you have made regarding movies and open access. I like the idea that this inspires cultural sharing between film makers online – a huge positive of open access online with regards to feedback and future work.

    However, to improve the blog post I would suggest including some points on the students/researchers/lecturers usage of open access and the advantages/disadvantages of this to them. Maybe you could mention the positives or negatives you have faced when looking for research to include within an important piece of work? Or a personal experience of open access with regards to movies?

    A really interesting and informative post – I look forward to you next!


    1. Hi Alice,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. What I have found with open access to movies in my own experience is that it has opened my eyes to movies I may not have seen due to the opportunity cost of the cinema with other activities of similar pricing. By watching initial movies for free I get invested into a franchise and then more likely to want to go and see the next instalment in that series. An example of this would be marvel films in the build up to the Avengers and the development of the team meant I wanted to know what was next. However like I said in the post with possible smaller franchises this may not be beneficial as it could stunt the growth that they may otherwise have seen.

      In terms of your referral to the journal article and open access in that medium, there are similarities to it but it is a completely different industry. I feel like open access to journals in university work is vitally important because it could tilt someones view on a question they are researching and really change an outcome. Whereas with movies it is more a pleasure activity so the development of open access isn’t as vital as its not going to overly effect you if you see that film or not. What do you think about the links that may be between journals and the say music or movie industries? Do you feel like open access issues are the same across all these mediums?


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Joe,

        I agree with you in regards to movie industries and no real necessity to answer a question – I think they are particularly broad forms of communication and contextually both mediums have a different purpose completley. I feel as though movie industries and journals may treat the idea of open access in different ways – I understand you entirely when you state that movie industries with regards to open access isnt considered as ‘vital’ in comparison.



  2. Hi Joe,

    I was drawn to reading your blog as I enjoyed your perspective of media piracy.

    The music industry is an industry which has had endless open access from listening to music, downloading to watching music videos online e.g. on YouTube. However, recent developments are beginning to restrict this access, for example, when Kayne West released his new album in February 2016, the only place where you could listen to this was on Tidal. Tidal is a paid subscription music service. It was a struggle for fans to listen to his album as they weren’t prepared to pay. Moreover, due to YouTube converters for downloading music, artists have begun sharing their music only on Spotify where it’s more difficult to illegally download. Do you think this is an efficient method to reduce piracy and do you think fans are accepting the changes to the way we access music?

    Word count: 149


    1. Hi Davina,

      I feel like the rise of streaming services has curved the piracy issue, especially in music. This is because you have quality music, unlimited to an extent, for a small price. This is compared to things like YouTube convert which are free but generally produces a lower quality of music. However, I think that if these sites and apps begin to increase their paywalls slowly then there could be a shift back towards piracy because there is going to be a breaking point at which consumers will feel like the price doesn’t match whats on offer then they will turn back towards piracy in my opinion.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Joe, Thought provoking blog post, I really enjoyed reading it. Having read around the subject a little, I was interested by your point that film makers may want to consider offering their material for free, essentially making it open access. Whilst this would obviously be beneficial to consumers, I feel there are two important points to consider. Firstly, film making has a large opportunity cost – not only is it financially expensive, it also consumes a great deal of time. If film makers were producing material that they knew they would have to release for free, I have doubt whether or not they would bother producing it at all, especially considering the aforementioned costs that are involved in the process. Secondly, many young film makers do release their films for free whilst they try and build a reputation. This can be seen through the young film makers awards where, although the winners are awarded prize money, they do not sell their material for profit. I would be very interested to know if my comments have swayed your opinion at all!


  4. Hi Joe,

    I love the area you chose to discuss as I have inherited a movie fanatic gene from my dad! We would go to our favourite movie screenings the day they came out, and we use to go to Blockbusters to borrow movies.

    Netflix focuses on quantity of movies rather than quality, which attracts customers, and I agree with you that it opens your eyes to films you may not have been interested in before.

    I had no idea the losses made to online steaming was so severe; it seems the public are more technologically advanced then the people running the legislation in the government. I do feel that people are incentivised to stream illegally due to the price of the cinema, an adult ticket for an Odeon film is £13.95, maybe if it wasn’t so expensive cinemas would see a larger turn out – what do you think?



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