- A Few Words about art, theft, the interwebs, and my favorite subscription ski magazine -
Note: Since I posted this article last night, the plot, as they say, has thickened. After an afternoon spent trying to comment on Powder's article and being turned down by their moderation, Powder has taken down the article. Unfortunately at this point the conversation has not really had an opportunity to progress. I do not think Powder has come back with a solid answer. I would be interested in seeing anyone else's opinion in the comments. This is a conversation that needs to happen, deleting the article without engaging in any worthwhile debate does not help anyone. Powder, I want to hear your side of this, not just a bunch of excuses. You made some good points, I want to take this opportunity to help myself and others learn about the industry connected to the sport we love.
From music to programs, we all know that only the naive or very principled buy everything they use or consume. The internet is full of answers on how to get that program or this album. The pervasive attitude seems to be “who cares? everyone does it, why should I pay that ridiculous price for something I can get for free?”
I am not here to try and argue the morality or immorality of downloading media and tools. I know that this debate is too big to have in this article or medium. I simply want to explore one recent case that I think is relevant to every skier.
Candide Thovex’s film Few Words is available, in all of its HD glory on youtube, for free. That in itself is not surprising. It is not rare for films to be uploaded to youtube without the producer's permission. What is surprising is the ski communities’ reaction to that fact. Powder Magazine posted about it today on their website. Along with calling it the “Mona Lisa” of skiing, the writer, John Clary Davies, managing editor of Powder, recommends that we all watch it, for free, now. Here is a link to his article: http://www.powder.com/videos/candides-words-free-now/
Unofficial Networks posted a link as well, without comment or their own ads placed before. http://unofficialnetworks.com/full-movie-candide-thovexs-words-131575/
Why is this a problem? Process Film, Quicksilver Europe, Matt Pain, and Candide Thovex all spent time and money making this masterpiece. They built this work of art. Often we justify digital piracy by discounting the object stolen because it is not tangible. This film is valuable object, built by its creators, just as tangibly as Faction pressing a pair of skis or Quicksilver sewing a jacket. Would Powder or Unofficial recommend taking either of those things for free, without permission?
This artist's representation is purely speculative and not based on real events
Few Words is just an isolated example of this problem. Music, movies, programs, they are all out there, tantalizing us, a candy store with no cashier, a bank with no door on the vault. It is easy to justify these petty downloads after all “it’s not technically illegal” and even “indie-artist-tight-jean types” don’t frown on it.
I am a skier. Since when has legality or “indie-artist-tight-jean types” defined what is or isn’t right for skiers to do?
The makers of Few Words are artists, saying Candide is a legend is an understatement, the value of this film is indisputable, even Mr. Davies agrees with me on that, calling the film “my personal favorite ski movie of all time.” So why should we not buy it? Why shouldn't we pay for the product we want? Because it is easier? Because it is cheaper? Because it is technically not illegal? Since when has skiing been about doing the easier thing, the cheaper thing, even, ironically enough, the legal thing?
Now in their defense Powder is giving Candide publicity and they are exposing all their readers to an awesome film. The only problem I see with this is that Powder is profiting off of the (rather obnoxious) ad they put before the video on the website. To me it looks like Few Words is now actually paying Powder through ad revenue. I am pretty young and wet behind the ears but I feel like there might be a problem with that.
That is supposed to be an arm holding a movie coming out of the computer screen to the robber, sorry, weak art.
This is not just a post about Powder or about Few Words. This is about all of us, as skiers, and all of the media, art and tools available on the interwebs. We need to be bigger than this. We need to be a community worth being proud of.
I am not an authority on copyright law or intellectual property. I am not even an expert on ski movies, or even an expert skier. I am just a skier who loves skiing and other skiers. Candide’s Few Words is one of my favorite movies and I think the ski community is better than this.
Note: I am just a 21 year old kid who has only been skiing for about 4 years. I realize that Mr. Davies knows a lot more about skiing than me. I realize that he is probably much more qualified to talk about this than me. I also think I am right. Where does that leave me? I don't know, ever since I started skiing I have looked up to Powder, I love and respect the magazine. I also think they are wrong here.
Here is the trailer for Few Words, is it worth buying?