So I watched X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE a few days ago and posted my reactions to the rough cut of this upcoming film. Not only was I deluged with pompous, self-righteous comments from angelic beings of pure light, but our site was also targeted by FOX with demands to remove the sneak peek. As I look over the decimation wrought this week by the internet leak of the WOLVERINE workprint, I find myself slightly nauseous at the posturing I've seen by many movie websites and the droning anonymous hordes that troll their message boards. According to our dear reader "chuck", who runs a little movie blog (officially the 200th million such site, by the way), I was immoral for watching the workprint. Nevermind that I never ripped the film, uploaded the film, downloaded the film, copied the film, or distributed the film. All I did was merely click a button and watch the film, just as easily as one might watch talking heads videos on YouTube. If what I did was immoral, then it was only in the loosest sense (the best kind of immorality, if you ask me ... wink wink). And that's really the rub about the internet and stealing. The fact that you can push one little button and take anything you want dilutes the meaning of the idea of theft. The internet has created massive new ways to obtain stuff for free, and people are liberally taking advantage of that new business model. But while the internet may be desensitizing the way people look at stealing, it has yet to correctly change the way businessmen look at the nature of business. The internet has completely changed the game, and it shocks me that so many of these businesses have yet to change their rules to cope with the difference. The music industry never recovered from the death stroke inflicted by the internet in the form of easily-downloaded music. Why did they not survive it? Because they failed to anticipate the rise of the technology, and then failed to capitalize on it or change their business model. You see, those record company executives liked making millions of dollars a year back in the eighties, when they could charge $20 for an album that cost them a dollar to make. They enjoyed having a stranglehold on the sound and image properties that made their companies obscenely rich with exorbitant pricing. Mixtapes, which have been around for decades, never worried the studio executives because it was a drop in the bucket. Hell, bands like Metallica made their name distributing their music for free early in their career. But once the internet began to take their money away, Metallica and the record studios greedily tried to retain the cash flows they used to enjoy, but by then it was too late. In the process, Metallica and others have actually seen a backlash ... all because they failed to properly assess the power of the internet. The movie business has been, for the most part, shielded from this type of problem because the internet was far too slow to easily distribute movies. Ten years ago, the bigger problem was DVD copying rather than internet distribution. However, for reasons not entirely clear, the movie studios did not address the situation promptly or properly. How could they not see that the same circumstances that befell the music business would eventually happen to them??? It was only a matter of time before technology would allow the distribution of movies just as easily as it had allowed music distribution in the nineties ... how foolish for them to miss that fact. It's also a bit silly for a movie studio to bitch and complain about their movie being stolen when they've been freely distributing the workprint among employees for months. As DevinFaraci's excellent article mentions, this policy almost DARES people to steal the film. My analogy to this situation goes like this: Imagine you left you house unlocked and unwatched. Someone eventually comes along, notices the door open and the house abandoned, so he steals your stuff. Of course the thief is wrong, but how much fault do you carry for the theft of your merchandise. You left it open for such an act, didn't you? Taking it one step further: Imagine that the thief, rather than take your stuff to his house, decides to leave your stuff on a random parking lot beside a dumpster. Eventually people will come along, see the merchandise, and take it home. Did they do anything necessarily wrong? They did not actually steal from you, nor did they really steal from anyone; they merely took stuff that was sitting there, seemingly free. Such is the case with everyone who watched WOLVERINE online - they were merely taking stuff that was sitting there for free. The real culprit in this crime is the fucking moron who left their door wide open in the first place, i.e. the dipshits currently running Twentieth Century Fox. Their stance on this issue this week has been nothing short of ludicrous and laughable. Which leads me to this posturing over internet piracy. There have been several websites sighing and groaning over this "terrible and grievous act" (insert eye roll), each one attempting to console and coddle up to the bosses at FOX for the theft. They want to make it clear to their readers that they in no way condone the theft of movies over the internet. Fascinating. Of course, each one of these websites makes their bread and butter attempting to scoop one another with pictures taken from closed studio sets, internal studio emails, and, on occasion, the leaked movie itself. The most hypocritical movie site on this issue is Ain't It Cool News, which has been blasting the pirates who posted the WOLVERINE print. What a fucking joke! Few can forget site owner Harry Knowles posting a breathless early review of ATTACK OF THE CLONES after watching a pirated version back in 2002. And before that, the psychotic lardass built the entire site around posting secret reports and spy photographs. Harry Knowles decrying internet piracy is like a fart complaining about the smell in the room. The internet is never going away, folks. And the ability to obtain information and entertainment is only going to get easier, not more difficult. So the time has already come for these studios to remake themselves in light of this coming technological wave. The fact that they passed around multiple pristine copies of their big summer tentpole movie is proof enough that they have not learned their lesson yet. But if they want to survive, they need to do it fast. And as for all the movie websites crying over internet piracy, go straight to hell and stay there. Movie websites complaining about internet piracy is like a mob lawyer complaining about mob activities; you've made your living doing the same type of shit that the pirates are now doing. Shut the fuck up and enjoy it, hypocrites.