Content, Control and the Socially Networked Film

33 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2009

See all articles by Jon Garon

Jon Garon

Shepard Broad College of Law

Date Written: August 29, 2009


The influences of digital distribution of content have begun to redefine the music industry in a highly-visible battle between record producers and consumers which has left musicians standing at the sidelines. Given the high cost of production and relatively limited number of theatrically distributed feature films each year, motion picture producers are exposed to much greater risk from digital piracy than other media. At the same time, changing technology has created new opportunities for film producers, filmmakers and audiences to interact. These same trends may grow to subsume the traditional notion of prime-time television entertainment as well.

All the parties involved in filmmaking must reinvent the production and distribution methodology under the pressure from digital piracy, smart phones and personal video players, YouTube, and social networks. This article reviews the technological influences that have transformed the motion picture and television industry. Based on these influences, it recommends approaches to the business and contractual arrangements to allow filmmakers and producers to succeed in the modern, digital environment. In particular, the article outlines new contractual arrangements to allow filmmakers to directly interact with curatorial audience — technologically savvy viewers who collect, blog, share and influence opinion using the modern social-networking tools.

Keywords: copyright, motion pictures, social media, collective bargaining agreements, YouTube, George Lucas, privacy, piracy, Sony

JEL Classification: O34, K10, K12, L82

Suggested Citation

Garon, Jon M., Content, Control and the Socially Networked Film (August 29, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Jon M. Garon (Contact Author)

Shepard Broad College of Law ( email )

3301 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
United States

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