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Social media is awash in a sea of spoilers, but now a couple of new live streaming apps are creating concerns about piracy at the world’s more prestigious film festival. Organizers at Cannes are worried that tools like Periscope, Meerkat, and YouNow (which I’ve never even heard of), that allow users to share live footage from their cellphones, may be used to illegally share the films that debut on the Croisette.
While this hasn’t become a problem yet, it’s worrisome enough to have people on edge. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the festival does have security in place to prevent piracy, but it sounds like just your standard measures that you’ll find at almost any advanced movie screening. There are infrared cameras, guards, and undercover security dispersed among the crowd. Of course, they ask everyone to turn off their phones before the movie begins, but stop short of confiscating potential recording devices like phones or tablets.
From reports, ushers at Cannes are notoriously lax about enforcing the no phones rule, and it’s commonplace for attendees and members of the press to be texting, tweeting, and talking on their phones. Maybe it’s just me, but if I went to France to watch a bunch of world premieres, that’s way more important than anything I’ve ever needed to text about. But maybe everyone else has a way richer life than I do.
This issue reared its ugly head a few weeks ago during the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather fight. On pay-per-view the bout cost close to $100, and a number of attendees used Periscope to stream the event online, where people could watch it for free. HBO has already filed a number of complaints against those live streaming episodes of their highly pirated fantasy series Game of Thrones, which is already one of the most hijacked properties around. I can’t imagine wanting to sit through an entire episode of GoT or a fight, much less a feature length movies, with the janky quality of one of these videos, but there a lot of people who don’t mind.
When asked, a spokesperson for Twitter, which owns Periscope, expressed that such uses of their app are illegal and covered in their user agreements, and that the company will respond to "valid takedown requests." The concern is that, because of the nature of a live stream, by the time any action is taken, the event will likely be over and the damage done. In the case of a movie, someone would have to notice the infraction, alert the proper people, who would then need to confirm the offense, and then notify the user to cease and desist. All of that in roughly 90 minutes. Maybe I’m skeptical, but hoping the wheels turn that quickly sounds a wee bit optimistic.
As earlier stated, this hasn’t become a prevalent issue at film festivals like Cannes yet, but with the increase in similar technology, it’s bound to start popping up more and more frequently and people are already on the lookout.