High Quality Plunder for the Pirates from Alex de la Iglesia’s Vault

High Quality Plunder for the Pirates from Alex de la Iglesia’s Vault
El País: Un botín de alta calidad para los ‘piratas’: Alex de la Iglesia
Ramón Muñoz, reporting from Madrid, February 25, 2011

Balada triste de trompeta
A screen capture of the exclusive marked copy of Balada triste de trompeta downloaded from the website Seriesyonkis

The debate over La Ley Sinde and la piratería has a new chapter which will will surely intensify the controversy. Alex de la Iglesia’s movie Balada triste de trompeta has been posted on download sites. That’s nothing special; it happens to all movies after they’ve run a few days. The unusual thing is that not just any copy is online; rather, it’s the exclusive marked copy the members of the Film Academy received for viewing before voting for the Goya awards.

De la Iglesia, president of the Academy, has spearheaded a confrontation with the Ministry of Culture and a large part of the film industry for requesting understanding of the downloading phenomenon. The director radically changed his position towards downloading after meeting with lawyers for web sites and Internet professionals who are against the legislation the government prepared to combat websites which post copyrighted content. De la Iglesia declined this paper’s request for comment on the pirated copy of his film.

During various parts of the version circulating the web, you can read in capital letters, “Academy members’ copy.” The image and sound are truly excellent, something absolutely rare for such a “premiere.”

Normally, the movies on websites were filmed without permission by video camera inside the theater, and the image and sound are both very deficient. These are known as “screener” versions.

Without a doubt, the version of Alex de la Iglesia’s latest movie which can be downloaded on pages as popular as Seriesyonkis has excellent resolution and impeccable sound. Its quality is classified as DVRip, similar to that of DVDs put on sale. Its size, for one thing, is 1.16GB, compared to the 600MB average for a screener.

It seems, judging from websites, that this version was posted for the first time on February 19 – the Goya awards were Sunday the 13th – as a link on The Pirate Bay connected to a P2P torrent archive. Afterward, the film was also posted on hosting sites like Fileserve and Megaupload, which permit direct downloading, which is much faster. From Seriesyonkis, with a 30Mbps connection, one can download the film in 10 minutes.

There is much speculation over who has posted the pirated version. The producer, Tornasol, sent hundreds of promotional copies to academics, journalists, and people related to the industry. Any of them could have posted the movie or given it to someone else to put online.

Online commenters speculate that an academy member or industry professional wanted to take “vengeance” on De la Iglesia for changing his position on piracy.

It is the Copernican turn of De la Iglesia over downloads – legal in Spain until now – that has raised hackles in the community. At first a fanatical defender of the anti-piracy law who spoke for the Minister of Culture, he went on to admit large parts of his Internet antagonists’ arguments, then went on to say the problem is not piracy but cinema’s business model, which is at odds with the digital world and seeks to sell its products the same way it has for decades, expensively and stingily.

The director’s change of position provoked a torrent of criticism from the film sector and an equal amount of support from social networks. Iciar Bollain, vice president of the Academy, stated that De la Iglesia had opened “an unnecessary and very damaging crisis” for Spanish cinema by “representing himself and not the collective who voted for him.”

Gerardo Herraro, producer of this film, went so far as to say “Alex has lost his mind because of Twitter. He has contracted Stockholm Syndrome for the Internauts. It would be like if the Ministry of Public Health negotiated with cocaine traffickers.” Under this hostility, De la Iglesia announced his resignation.

A Much-Discussed Premiere
Balada triste de trompeta debuted last December 17. First of all, it was the latest film from one of the most respected Spanish directors, who was besides that the president of the Film Academy. Four days later, the lower house of parliament defeated the [anti-piracy] Sinde Law. The director, Alex de la Iglesia, defended the law on Twitter against online detractors ranging from lawyers to bloggers.

After that, De la Iglesia accepted an invitation to sit down and debate. He did so on December 30, and from that day began to communicate his “conversion” on Twitter. The director appealed to the Ministry of Culture and his cinematic coreligionists to open a dialogue. Criticism rained down on him. De la Iglesia presented his resignation. The law, amended by the Popular Party, was passed in the upper house. It is a sad ballad for thousands of Internauts.

Explore posts in the same categories: Law, Movies and TV, Spain, Translations

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