RIPPING off films still reaps riches: the business model holds even in the internet age. Someone makes a digital file of a film, either with a camera in a theatre or by copying a DVD, then sells the file to operators of dodgy websites, many of whom make millions a year from online advertising and customer subscriptions—illegal versions of Netflix.
This year pirates introduced an entrepreneurial plot twist. They have begun asking Hollywood studios for ransoms. In several cases the rogues have told leading makers of films or television programmes that if they do not pay up, digital copies will appear online before the official release date. It is Hollywood’s version of WannaCry, the ransom malware.
No one has been seen to pay up so far, but the threats are not all idle. Netflix, one victim, saw certain episodes of its new season of the show “Orange is the New Black” released by a pirate who goes by the alias “thedarkoverlord” (who had demanded payment in…Continue reading