More profitable to sue file sharers than normal movie distribution

Zentropa tjener stort på at skræmme tyske filmpirater - Politiken.dk: "Zentropa har ad den vej tjent flere penge end på biografvisninger, dvd og video."

This movie produces has gotten about 600 Germans to pay DKK 9000 (more than EUR 1000) for downloading the movie Antichrist. (The article says downloading, but I suspect it may be "file sharing" -- but I don't know.) If they didn't pay voluntarily, they'd be sued for five times the amount.

Even if that's just more money than the movie has made by showing at cinemas and DVD sales in Germany (the article isn't clear on that -- could be globally...) it shows that the movie can't have been popular at all as it's a rather small amount.

First: This could become an interesting business model; Make a cheap, bad, movie but trust file sharers to want to share as many movies as they possibly can (I don't know exactly how it works but I suppose it's both a matter of status and a matter of having material to upload in order to be able to download. Correct me if I'm wrong.). And then go after the soft targets instead of spending lots of money on normal marketing.

Second: Can this really be a reasonable amount? Fines, for doing something illegal, which goes to the state, I don't have an opinion on in this case. But if you're going to sue someone for damages, it should be for something comparable to what you've lost. Well, OK, you can suffer because something's distributed in a way you don't like; I've had people use my photos on their own web sites claiming it's their own photos (a fun example was when an Indian railway/tourist company used one of my Dm3 (it's not a passenger locomotive and it only exists in Sweden and Norway) photos to advertise tourist trips in India) and the standard in Sweden is that if they do something like that they pay 200% of what they would have if they asked first.

But in this case the manager says "we've got some of the money back we've lost by the illegal downloading". He could very well be right but considering how it apparently earned in cinemas is it reasonable to think it would have made more than that in DVD sales?

Third: Or is he maybe referring to what the movie company got, rather than the total income from cinemas and DVD sales, so the point is that cinema distribution and DVD sales is really lowprofitable for movie makers? That also has interesting implications for the future of movie making.

Sorry the link is in Danish, but it comes out perfectly readable if you machine translate it with Google.

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