Boy gets caught by pirates (booo!!)

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The Stuff is reporting that one of NZ’s favorite films, Boy, has been pirated and is available to download online, potentially causing revenue loss to investors.

The movie which is set to gross over $9 million is currently available on several pirating websites (which are not being named). The Stuff reports that there are three high definition pre-sale versions available with at least 200 people already downloading a copy and over 100 more downloads in progress on last check.

But upon checking ourselves those numbers have jumped to well over 10,000, which is worrying… The last time a Kiwi film was illegally copied, it cost investors about $1 million.

TangataWhenua.com is also aware of several low-end quality pirated copies of the film which may have been recorded in cinemas.

Feedback we’re getting from whanau suggestes that many in Maori communities are making a concerted effort to not watch illegal copies, knowing in the end that it hurts Maori film. We spoke with the film’s producer Ainsley Gardiner who echoed that same thoughts:

I have been trying to push the positive aspects, that the Maori Facebook community has been awesome and very vocal and encouraging about NOT downloading, and we really appreciate that.

And also trying to get Maori to realise that until the DVD is a success, we see very little of the financial success of BOY and it means we cant offer financial support to the kids and Taikas marae, which means Maori communities are actually getting ripped off, and thats not just us spinning a line.

TangataWhenua.com totally agrees, whanau, please let others know that this actually hurts Maori film as it takes money away from the people who invest in the projects, without these funders, it would be so much harder to get these films produced.

New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft Tony Eaton confirmed they were investigating after being alerted by the New Zealand Film Commission last week.

They were looking in to where the downloaded versions of the movie had come from.

That’s a concern, that’s something wed like to know considering the fact that it hadn’t been released on DVD. We’re looking the copy to see where it did actually come from that’s certainly the first area of concern for us as well as the Film Commission.”

He did not believe it had spread significantly over the internet, though there had originally only been one file available for download on the website.

A spokesperson for the New Zealand Film Commission confirmed they were aware of the issue and said NZFACT was looking in to it on their behalf.

Background (the Stuff)

This is not the first time internet piracy has affected Kiwi films. In 2007, pirated copies of Kiwi film Sione’s Wedding were distributed before the movie even hit cinemas, costing its investors an estimated $1 million, Mr Eaton said. An employee at that film’s post-production company was eventually convicted of distributing a pirated copy.

Mr Eaton said that as Boy had already had major box office success, the financial losses were not likely to be as severe, though they would be considerable.

Boy is set to be released in Australia in August after winning the Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film at the Sydney Film Festival and it is yet to be released on DVD.

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