It’s getting a bit silly to have to keep pointing this out, but contrary to the popular narrative, there are tons of artists who not only recognize that the narrative that “piracy is the problem” is false, but many who recognize that piracy actually has its advantages. And, now, apparently, we can add esteemed film director Werner Herzog to that list. In an interview, he made it clear that when other options aren’t readily available, he has no problem with people pirating his works:
¨Piracy has been the most successful form of distribution worldwide,” said Herzog after being told by Ukranian producer Illia Gladshtein he was only able to find his films on illegal download sites.
Herzog continued: ”If someone like you steals my films through the internet or whatever, fine, you have my blessing”
He obviously (and perfectly reasonably) would still prefer people pay to see his films, and later in the interview talks up ways the internet has made it easier for people to buy his work, but also notes:
… if someone can’t find his work on “Netflix or state-sponsored television, then you go and access it as a pirate.”
This is a perfectly reasonable and respectful approach. Rather than simply flipping out that there’s an alternative, unauthorized distribution system, he recognizes that it exists, admits that it’s a very simple, “most successful form of distribution,” and supports the fact that, for some fans, it’s a perfectly acceptable option, while still politely encouraging others to purchase his stuff in authorized ways when possible.
It still amazes me that more artists don’t take this particular approach. Actually treating your fans respectfully, rather than assuming they’re all criminals, usually means they’re a lot happier to support you when the option is there.