Has Netflix figured out a way to beat piracy?
HYDERABAD: It’s a tug of war. Creative content and piracy have been running parallel to each other since time immemorial. In the latest, the media-services provider Netflix has succeeded in keeping the online piracy websites at bay with its first-of-its-kind interactive movie Bandersnatch. Released on December 28, the stand-alone film of the popular web series Black Mirror, has multiple endings based on choices given to the viewer at different stages of the film.
Netflix has developed the film on Twine, ‘an open-source tool for telling interactive and non-linear stories’. What it means is that the movie cannot be played on any platform incompatible with Twine. Those who are not subscribed to Netflix and rely heavily on torrenting websites for a pirated-viewing of the platform’s content, are flummoxed. A cinephile who tried the torrented version of the movie was not particularly pleased and had to return to Netflix for proper viewing.
“The entire length of the torrent version was five and a half hours in length while on Netflix it is just one and a half hours. It included four of the five endings. But I didn’t understand anything as it just stitched the various endings linearly without any context. That is why I went back to Netflix and saw it again,” he said.
So, would interactive movie be an effective tool for combating piracy? Yes, but only until some developer uses the same ‘open source tool’ to build a new flash player. “Since Netflix used an open-source software (Twine), it would just take someone to develop a flash player using the same software. Then one can download the movie from Torrents, run it in the flash player and view it how Netflix intended it to,” opines a tech expert.