The Copyright Lobby has asked the British courts to block public access to a Sweden-based website, Newzbin2, which provides links to unauthorized copies of Hollywood films. The film industry claims it can’t survive without massive government censorship:
Spyro Markesinis, the vice president of legal affairs for Momentum Pictures, the distributor of The King’s Speech, said there were 75 different versions of the Colin Firth movie on Newzbin2.
“The survival of our business depends on the revenues we receive for our content,” he said. “Our recent film, The King’s Speech, is available on the Newzbin2 website without our consent. Neither we, nor the filmmakers, receive anything for this.
“Lost revenues not only threaten our business and our employees’ jobs but also mean we have less money to invest in new films, so the whole industry – and particularly the independent film business – is at risk. That’s why we fully support this action against Newzbin.”
“The King’s Speech” generated over $414 million in global box office receipts (off a reported production budget of just $15 million). And this was despite the existence of Newzbin and other “infringing” websites. It’s laughable to suggest these websites are threatening the survival of the film industry. (Incidentally, did Mr. Markesisnis pay any royalties to Queen Elizabeth II, as “The King’s Speech” makes use of her father’s name, image, and personal history?)