Indiepix and PixelTools Corporation recently announced that the 2,000 films available on Indiepix.net’s Download-To- Own system will be watermarked using a new technology called MPEG Escort. The invisible, digital watermark allows online purchasers to make copies, but prevents pirates from doing so, (the watermark makes it simple to trace who originally purchased and downloaded the film.)
Indiepix also plans to place a slate at the beginning of each film that says “Thank you [your name here] for supporting independent film” to remind viewers that “you have a contract with the filmmakers, and if you want extra copies, please buy them,” explains Bob Alexander, president of Indiepix.
“There’s a social contract between the audience and the filmmaker,” says Alexander, who hopes that improvements to the technology for downloading films will help both independent filmmakers as well as his consumers. “The audience likes to know that most of their money is going to the filmmaker. They understand these are small or limited projects, and they want to know the guy who did it is going to benefit.” He adds, “There’s this whole area of fair use and the independent filmmaker is very much interested in having his work distributed and visible, and he doesn’t want a lot of restrictions on how that works.”
One of Alexander’s favorite new downloads is a “really small film called Infinite Vision. The filmmaker is from India, and the film is about a prominent doctor, sort of a cultural hero, who developed a new approach to cataract eye surgery, and it’s saved millions of people from going blind and dying prematurely. That title has done well over 1,000 units in the last year. I look at it and say no one would have known about it if we hadn’t gotten behind it.”