Comic Charm

the art and thoughts of Cassandra James

Posts tagged morgan spurlock

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Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, VOD is ‘U.S. only’

Some people may have seen me on Twitter the last couple of days struggling to get my hands on a copy of Morgan Spurlock’s new movie, ‘Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.’  For those not familiar with the movie here’s a quick summary:

"A behind-the-scenes look at the fans who gather by the thousands each year in San Diego, California to attend Comic-Con, the world’s largest comic book convention."

More at IMDB

It premiered on Friday to a variety of small cinemas in the U.S. and being an Aussie girl I knew there was no way I was going to get to the see the movie that way and had planned to get it on iTunes. (I was so looking forward to this movie, mostly because I’m attending my first-ever SDCC that I wrote the release date in my personal planner weeks ago so I could see it on release day.) Release day, it goes onto the iTunes store and I rush to try and find it on my Apple t.v. But it’s not there! Turns out that Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is U.S. only on iTunes and on X-Box live, the other online distributor I could have gotten it from.

When people have confronted Morgan Spurlock about this via Facebook and Twitter he comes out with the stock reply of:

and links to the list of video on demand distributors.

I don’t think that Spurlock understands that people in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Sweden have all posted on Twitter and Facebook wanting to watch this movie but can’t.  We’re not posting these queries because ‘we can’t be bothering finding another VOM supplier’ it’s that, we have and there aren’t any.  To make this easier for Mr. Spurlock I’ve made taken these screencaps of what I am greeted with when I try and access this movie by the VOM services I have access to:

iTunes

Amazon

Blockbuster

I would have posted screen caps from the X-Box live store but it isn’t even listed here in the Australian store.

This is disappointing because as much as I could wait for a torrent of it, I wanted to give my money to this project. But they’ve made it impossible, there is no way for me to do that. They’ve made my only option; video piracy.

Someone has made the suggestion that I can make a U.S. iTunes account but that involves setting up a second iTunes account and then buying a U.S.-specific iTunes gift card to then use on the store.  I refuse to jump through those hoops to have access to media I should just have access to.  I’m a consumer, not a show pony.


I was talking with my husband about this after I was disappointed an he said that it’s likely that this movie is U.S.-only due to some fairly stringent restrictions on music copyright, or the fact that the distributors figure it’s easier not to have the run around dealing with copyright in other countries.

Which is fair, I get that. But I am always annoyed when online distribution is ‘U.S. only.’ The Internet is global, and is a great, fast way to get your projects coverage at anywhere in the World. The whole idea of distributing your media over the Internet was that you no longer had to worry about shipping or finding somewhere that would stock your product. It’s all there to anyone at the click of a button.   (Also this movie has been in production for near a year, you’d think in that time someone would have thought, ‘hey, perhaps we should have this available in other countries!  Let’s look into that.)  Although judging from the responses people are getting on the official Twitter for this movie it seems that Spurlock himself doesn’t realize that people outside the U.S. can’t access this movie from their VOM services.

I guess I’m just pissed because as someone who isn’t a U.S.-resident I run into a lot of this ‘U.S. only’ business on the Internet regularly. Once during an episode of Castle they featured a great indy band, and after the show there was a message ‘you can get this on iTunes!’ I ran to my P.C. and looked up the songs only to find that they were ‘U.S. only.’
It reminds me of one of the first ever Conventions I had gone to, David Hewlett (Dr. Rodney MacKay on Stargate) had a panel there that I managed to get to. He talked about media distribution and how he thinks it’s shameful how many big media companies don’t think outside of the U.S. sandbox. He said that he’d just premiered a new show in the U.S. and a couple of days after release his execs ran to him screaming ‘our show has been pirated and downloaded x number of times!!’ He just looked at them and asked, ‘well, is this show available outside the U.S. yet?’ When they shook their heads he grinned and told them that that was part of the problem and was encouraged that so many people had gone out of their way to get his show when it wasn’t made available to them. He saw those numbers are promising.


The same companies and distributors who complain about piracy are the ones that are encouraging it by limiting their own product distribution.

Mr. Spurlock, if you are unaware of how limited the current distribution of your new movie documentary Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is; let this post be a lesson.  If you ARE aware I can only keep my fingers crossed that you are taking steps to see that your movie reaches are a wider audience.  By limiting your product you are also limiting the revenue one can earn from said product. 

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