Torrent sites continue to be blamed for the many ills of society. But wait, is it not just a case of the technology not being used correctly and the way in which it was intended? VODO thinks so, and is attempting to open up torrent sites for filmmakers to utilize.
What are torrent sites used for? Many of you would have answered that it’s pretty much all pirated content being shared via torrents. And while there is a lot of copyrighted material being shared illegally on them, there is also much that is legal and copyright-free.
There are very few companies and organizations who have taken advantage of the technology as a way to distribute content thus far. But VODO is one of these, allowing and encouraging filmmakers to use torrent sites to seed their features and get them out there being watched.
NRK and Blank
In January 2008 we looked at how the Norwegian broadcaster NRK was utilizing torrent sites to distribute a show called Nordkalotten 365. The experiment worked, with multi-platform distribution making the show a success outside of its native Norway.
Earlier this year we saw filmmaker Rick L. Winters and his company Annodam Productions choose to distribute Blank via torrent sites at the same time as releasing it on DVD. Donations were asked for but not mandatory.
VODO, a British organization which endeavors to help budding content creators find an audience, is taking a similar approach. It releases features on torrent sites such as Mininova, The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, Miro, and Vuze and lets the rest fall into place.
VODO requests a donation (VODO stands or VOluntary DOnations) if you download a feature from a torrent site. There’s also the option to subscribe to the site itself in order to gain access to more films and fund new projects which will end up being made available for free on torrent sites.
VODO’s founder is Jamie King, who enjoys a certain amount of notoriety for his pro-piracy Steal This Film documentaries. Us Now and In Guantanamo are the two features currently being promoted via torrent sites.
This kind of effort isn’t going to either interest or affect Hollywood but independent filmmakers are a whole other kettle of fish. And VODO, along with NRK, Annodam, and the like are proving that torrent sites aren’t the bid, bad wolves they’ve been painted as.
Tech Dirt said it best with its reason for why VODO is such a good idea, suggesting it’s because it helps “filmmakers who recognize that obscurity is a much bigger threat to their efforts than piracy.”
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