|Home » Rants
The Ipred War
The Adventures of Tomas.
Lidingö is one of the nicest areas of Stockholm. In fact it's one of the nicest areas in Sweden. In Scandinavia. In the world.
Not everyone can live on Lidingö. It takes a lot of money. Tomas Alfredson is lucky: he grew up there - he was born into wealth.
Tomas is the son of Hasse Alfredson, one of Sweden's most beloved entertainers. Hasse paired with Tage Danielsson and created some of the best review shows and motion pictures the country's ever seen.
High on the list of box office successes are 'Äppelkriget' and 'The Adventures of Picasso' which fortuitously came with only voiceover and no comprehensible dialogue to speak of and so could easily be distributed worldwide and justifiably make a lot of 'kronor'.
Tomas was in both movies. He was only six years old when he appeared in the former and a mere fourteen when appearing in the latter. Bit parts to be sure but still and all.
Tomas went on to form his own film company specialising in television adverts and directed a number of well known movies in Sweden including 'Bert' which was spun off into a television series.
Tomas has done well.
Tomas grew up in the suburb of Lidingö known as Käppala. It's almost all the way out east on this beautiful island that's in close proximity to the capital and yet so distinctly distant. Käppala as the entire island is served by a cute and delightful little train line known as 'Lidingöbanan' which forks right after leaving the capital with one route trekking out all the way to Tomas' childhood home.
Now Tomas has a new movie of his own out and he's struck it big. Called 'Låt det rätta komma in' ('Let the Right One Come In' or in the US 'Let Me In') it's based on a sort of children's vampire story. A twelve year old boy who's been having trouble with bullies in school gets a new neighbour - in a twelve year old vampire girl. She helps him sort out the bullies.
The film's been a resounding commercial and critical success. It won an award at Robert DeNiro's Tribeca Film Festival this year; it won the Méliès d'Or; it's already been distributed to no less than fifty four (54) countries.
Tomas hit it big.
Back home in the country of Absolut things are in a tiff as usual. The Pirate Bay are still in court - or that's what prosecutor Håkan 'Dunderklumpen' Roswall would like if he could just find them; the conservative government are still reeling after their 'Lex Orwell' scandal; and now they've a new piece of ace lawmaking planned called 'Ipred'.
Ipred will basically make 80% of the Swedish citizenry criminals. It's a good law. And to be sure the pinheads at the MPAA and the RIAA are joyful.
Naturally the citizenry have again called for a revolution.
Enter Tomas Alfredson. Who together with his rich buds sends a really chummy letter to the sitting junta.
November 25th 2008
Dear Fredrik, Maud, Jan and Göran,
They're on first name basis. How cozy.
Four years ago we began work on a movie based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel 'Låt det rätta komma in'.
Tomas and his friends make a lot of television adverts that pull in a lot of money so they've been doing other things too.
After two years work looking for financing we managed to raise the $3.5 million necessary to realise the project.
$3.5 million? For a Hollywood blockbuster? What did The Usual Suspects cost? About twice that much? And with distribution to fifty four countries already? Hey - this one's a gold mine!
Almost 400 people from the Swedish film industry have participated in the project.
Ah. So Swedish national welfare and prosperity are dependent on you guys. Got it.
It takes maybe thirty seconds to transfer all this effort and the money invested onto a USB memory stick that will fit in your back pocket.
That's a pretty big USB stick and it's going to be an even bigger back pocket. Of course don't expect the politician buddies to grasp this - they're still running Windows XP and Outlook Express.
We are proud that our work has put Sweden back on the international film map.
Yeah and you're fucking wealthy for it too. The term 'filthy rich' comes to mind.
The movie has already won sixteen international awards and has received glowing reviews in every country in which it was premiered.
Oh! So it's even better than anyone thought! Are congratulations in order?
In the United States alone the movie is going to be shown in more than forty cities.
Wow! Guess you're going to be paying another visit to your banker in Basel!
The movie has been sold to over fifty countries, making it one of the biggest Swedish film exports of all time.
Fifty four is the current count. And please note the operative word here: 'SOLD'. Tomas is as they say already 'swimming in it'.
On October 24th the movie had its Swedish premiere. Ten days later the thing that shouldn't be allowed to happen did happen: a stolen copy of our movie was made accessible for piracy on The Pirate Bay and other similar sites.
Oh those bad people! So who stole it? Was it a real HQ copy? Or just someone with a cellphone in the cinema?
Now the movie is available for anybody to watch free of charge. It should be clear to anybody that this is a catastrophe for us.
Yes but #1) 'anybody' is not 'everybody' or even close to a significant percentage thereof; and #2) it's not a catastrophe and you know it - you've already sold the doggone thing!
Regardless of how much international success it garners it's not going to be enough for the movie to cover its costs.
Oh BULLSHIT. You covered those costs long ago. You've made so much money off this puppy it's almost nauseating. And you knew about TPB when you started. You got a leak in your own organisation? Someone who thought the movie should be available on the net?
Only a small fraction of this money makes its way to us.
The people call 'BULLSHIT' again.
It is on the home market that it has to make the money back.
Oh stop it. Just stop it.
We are often asked by our colleagues abroad why Sweden has become such a paradise for Internet pirates.
Pour it on, asshole. Your 'colleagues abroad'? You have 'colleagues abroad'? Where? At the MPAA/RIAA?
Swedish laws are considered something of a joke and our politicians are viewed as arrogant for not taking this seriously.
Oh goodness. And the harassment of grandmothers and single mothers by the MPAA and RIAA is considered to be better?
Sweden has the worst laws in this area and consequently the worst problems with piracy.
The Internet knows no national borders, shit-for-brains. TPB aren't even located in Sweden anymore.
It is embarrassing that Sweden has waited so long to put in place a directive that was implemented long ago by our European neighbours. If this state of affairs continues to prevail, we will no longer be able to support ourselves with our work.
We are left to wonder why we do not enjoy the same legal protections as other industries and why you as party leaders and ministers do not openly express your support for copyright protection?
OK it's our turn now, Alfredson son of Hasse.
First off: your 'colleagues abroad' fit into this equation even if you try to fool everyone into innocently forgetting them. They're the maggots in this drama - they're the ones looking at profits from their US movie theatres and getting all worked up and greedy already.
And the big homecoming is video rentals and sales anyway, isn't it dirtbag? That's how you greedos pay people today without really paying them, isn't it? You promise them a cut on the video revenues instead?
That's what everybody's worried about, isn't it?
OK so let's play truth or consequences here. You've got the biggest Swedish export success of all time. Countless Swedish movies are available on DVD but also through file sharing sites. How have your profits been? Good enough to pay your heating bills for your palatial estate?
And if in fact a HQ copy of your precious movie was 'stolen' then have you investigated and caught the culprit? And doesn't this point to a weakness in your own organisation?
For Swedish citizens and citizens of the world: there's an easy way to resolve this conflict.
Boycott the movie. Don't go see it. Don't download it off a file sharing site either. It's not the end of the world and right now Amazon has the book on sale - a mere £5.00 for hardcover and £4.79 for paperback.
Get the hardcover. Splurge the extra £0.21 (~US$0.40). Then you can have a good copy that lasts. That you can read over and over again. And share with your friends. Without paying any more ever again. And without giving any money to Tomas Alfredson who already has a hundred times what you'll ever have.
Hasse Alfredson is one of the most beloved entertainers of all time in Sweden. Hasse still has people rolling in the aisles generations afterwards with his DVDs - which yes sell very well FYI. Hasse is LOVED.
Goodness what a difference a generation makes. Once upon a time the forefathers of Tomas Alfredson and his 'colleagues abroad' at the MPAA/RIAA figured out a way to make money. Their scheme worked because they could control the medium. Now it doesn't work so good anymore because they didn't stay on top of things.
No one owes them a living. If they can't figure out a way to supply people with something that can't be obtained elsewhere then perhaps it's best to go back to making television adverts.
Xerox were once kings of paper. But they took great pains to address the contingencies of the future. The Tomas Alfredson greedos didn't bother. They didn't even try. They've been too busy counting daddy's gold.
Amazon UK: Let the Right One in (Hardcover) £5.00
Amazon UK: Let the Right One in (Paperback) £4.79