PopUp Pirates: Who Profits from Piracy?

Who Profits from PiracyEllen Seidler is an independent filmmaker who, after spending $250,000 of her own money, made the lesbian romantic comedy “And Then Came Lola“.

However, even before the movie was officially released, it was leaked on a variety of pirate sites, often times hosted at various “file locker” services that would offer the video for download.

Seidler then began to defend her work on the Web, filing DMCA takedown notices by the dozen against file locker sites and advertising networks.

But Seidler noticed something she considered disturbing. Nearly all the pirate sites had advertisements on them, but they weren’t for companies with poor reputations, but rather, were for mainstream companies, many of which were in the U.S. These companies included Netflix, Microsoft, Network Solutions and many others.

In early July, Seidler was features on All Things Considered on NPR, where she talked about these issues and a representative from Netflix said that they try to avoid pirate sites but some simply fall through the cracks.

Shortly after that podcast, Seidler launched her own site and blog about her ordeals, PopUp Pirates, where she highlights the companies who advertise with pirates, in particular Google and vents her frustration at the time and energy spent enforcing the film and how all parties involved, the pirate site, Google and the advertiser, make money from the film but she does not.