Bootleg Movie Trailers: To Leak Or Not To Leak? That Is The Question

There's a dark uprising on the Internet currently happening. Yesterday a bootleg trailer for The Dark Knight Rises showed up online. Many websites that garner almost a million unique hits per day posted it, some with misleading headlines, and Warner Bros. was quick to put out a cease and desist to take it down.

There are many sites who will never post bootlegs (Gordon and the Whale is in this category) but they are in the minority. Most sites will post anything to drive traffic, and a bootleg with a headline like "Teaser Trailer For The Dark Knight Rises" will do just that.

But this raises questions of fairness. When websites are actively posting bootlegs (Batman-related or otherwise), the ones waiting for official releases suffer major hits.

Then, of course, there's the other side of the argument.

I spoke with a colleague who, having been in the online writing business for 10 years, raised the question, "Why do we have to follow studio rules?"

I believe, essentially, he's offering a deeper question: When do journalists draw a line between posting what the studio wants when the studio wants versus what and when the writer wants?

I suppose it's a fair question, but it leads to a conclusion I don't agree with. I'm all about following the rules, which again, puts a large dent in our traffic. Quality over quantity.

This will always be an ongoing debate because while it's evident that there is definite attention being paid toward online infringement of copyright law, there's no clear answer on what's right or wrong in terms of drawing that ubiquitous, aforementioned line.

So which side are you on? Do you think posting bootleg trailers encourages piracy? Leave a comment. Let's talk.

Chase Whale is the co-founder of GordonandtheWhale.com. Follow @GandtheW and @ChaseWhale.

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