Pirate Bay Filled with Oscar Gold
Arrr you killing the film industry
Ross Keith & Max Willens
Over the past decade, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the body that presides over the Oscars – has been fighting against online piracy. However in the past eleven years 62% of films sent to Academy members for consideration have appeared on sites like The Pirate Bay weeks and even months before their official release dates.
The Motion Picture Association of America has stated that the film industry employs over two million people and provides $104 billion dollars in wages in the United States. Estimates by the organization put online piracy costs the film industry at more than $20 billion per year. While that number has been questioned by some experts the MPAA spent at least $2.2 million on lobbying efforts in 2013 alone.
The economic structure of the film industry is centered around the overwhelming success of the blockbusters, overwhelming profitable films which account for a majority of industry revenue. However since most of these films end up nominated for Oscars they are usually pirated before official release dates.
We propose creating a visualization that displays how quickly Oscar nominated films have been pirated over the past eleven years. We have not determined how this will best be visualized but our early discussion has leaned towards a interactive bubble chart, filterable along data points.
During our initial examination of the data it appears that the average number of days until the screener leaked has gone through two distinct slides. The averages in 2008 and 2014 were about three weeks until leak compared too two months in 2005 and 2011.
We have also obtained data on how frequently the most pirated films have been available on legal streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video. The vast majority of frequently pirated films are not available legally leading to the conclusion that piracy may stem from availability rather then cost or malice. While we are not certain if we will include this dataset in our final visualization it does seem like an appropriate conclusion to our data narrative.
Our deadline is set for after the Oscar award ceremony and consequently the end of awards season. This will allow us to gather a complete dataset on film leaks for 2014 as well allow us to piggy back on Oscar related buzz.
The above links to a spreadsheet showing how quickly Academy Award-nominated films appeared on torrent sites dating back to 2002. It’s maintained by Andy Baio, a web developer and programmer who’s worked on a variety of platforms and projects over the years.
The second links to data on frequently pirated movies availability on legal streaming services. The site is maintained by Jerry Brito, Eli Dourado, and Matt Sherman and the data is collected from sites TorrentFreak and Can I Stream It.
Nobody’s gotten back to us yet, but we plan on contacting the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Motion Picture Association of America, as well as the editors of TorrentFreak, a website with news and insights into the news related to torrenting across the globe.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Media Contact, MPAA Washington D.C