Movie Director Releases ‘A Lonely Place for Dying’ to BitTorrent Legally

Justin Eugene Evans, the writer and director of ‘A Lonely Place for Dying’ released the first part of the movie to BitTorrent via the VODO services recently. He joins the ranks of many other producers who have chosen to freely distribute their content online for free via the ever present file-sharing medium.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

“We’ve received a dozen offers to release the film through traditional methods,” said Justin Eugene Evans, writer/director of A Lonely Place for Dying. “However, none of the offers made sense to us financially or artistically. Every producer’s rep, sales agent and independent distributor presented us with a draconian contract. Between BitTorrent’s technology and VODO’s ability to deliver an audience we decided this was the superior path. This gives our motion picture global reach. And, VODO’s donation model is at the tipping point; with their help we’ll earn our investors just as much as we’d have received from a Los Angeles sales agent. While these experiments still raise inevitable questions about business models, one thing is sure. The platform is ready and BitTorrent has proven their intention to help.”

And that is how he came about such a decision. Now, the movie is available on VODO for free download. Users can pass along money via the donation feature on the page.

“BitTorrent is dedicated to helping filmmakers overcome the hurdles of global content distribution. The key ingredients? The elimination of expensive infrastructure and direct access to a massive audience,” said Shahi Ghanem, chief strategist at BitTorrent. “High-quality productions like A Lonely Place for Dying are proving that BitTorrent’s 100,000,000 million user community is a viable option for building a fan base. This film is a technically masterful motion picture that puts story and character front and center. We encourage our users to download the film and support the filmmakers. A Lonely Place for Dying will keep you on the edge of your seats.”

Now, by far, this isn’t the first movie to be freely distributed online. In fact, the earliest movie I have personally seen that was freely distributed was a movie called Elephants Dream which certainly shared a good degree of success. It’s great to know more movie directors are heading down a similar path. One can easily see the success of “A Lonely Place for Dying” on the VODO page with nearly 50,000 downloads as of this writing – a number that only stands to grow.

One thing that many content producers wonder is if such a method of distribution really pays off. There’s some who hold to the myth that if something is freely available on the internet, then no one would pay for it. There have been known successes even with pay-what-you-want deals like the Wolfire’s ever famous Humble Indie Bundle which earned $1.8 million, then subsequently surpassed that and raked in over half a million on the third round. Then who could forget the RadioHead’s “In Rainbows” pay-what-you-want success? There’s plenty of success stories which involved freely distributing content on virtually every major kind of entertainment. I don’t think any kind of hoping that freely distributing content online for free won’t work would change the fact that it’s a tried and tested method that has already garnered a sizable share of success stories. At this stage, it’s only a matter of time before more and more people are willing to experiment with such an idea. For all we know, this type of content distribution will one day be the rule and not the exception and we can look back to today and think, “Wow, what were some of these people thinking going around and suing people all the time for downloading?”

In the mean time we are certainly seeing some of the brave souls giving this method a chance and as time goes on, that list of people who choose to freely distribute content for free is only going to keep growing whether big producers or small producers. I, for one, salute those who at least try free distribution.

Further reading: IMDB entry for “A Lonely Place for Dying”

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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