Follow the dollar
The major argument against filesharing is that the creators of the works don’t get paid. On this page we’ve tried to grasp how much money goes back to actual creators within the Swedish copyright system. Since this is a discussion, not a research project, we’ve arbitrarily talked to internet entrepreneurs, feature film producers and academic researchers.

The Internet Entrepreneur
Over the past ten years, serial entrepreneur Jonas Birgersson‘s companies have (among other things) developed the software behind the majority of the video-on-demand services that the Scandinavian national film companies have brought to the market. With the statistics of every single digital movie sale over a decade at hand, Birgersson got tired of the companies not trying to develop any new business models. He finally told them he didn’t think they were serious about selling films on the internet and terminated the cooperation.

In these five finstamated lessons Birgersson explains what he has learned about the global copyright conflict from a Swedish perspective.

Ogg versions over here.

The Film Producers
Let’s look at the Swedish DVD market through a simplified lens. Normally the distributor takes the costs of the DVD against a large share of the revenue. When you spend 20 Euros (€) on a DVD approximately half of that money goes to VAT and to the retailer. Of the remaining 10€ around 7€ go to the distributor who has paid for the printing of DVDs, the marketing of the movie etc. The remaining 3€ is then split by the financers, royalties to the actors (in fiction films) and the production company who actually made the movie. If the production company had put up 30 % of the financing they get 1€ – or 5 % of the original DVD price – to split among the people that made the movie.

Academic Research
There are few economical evaluations of how the concept of copyright works as incentive for individual creators. An independent survey (in Swedish) from Uppsala University takes a look at how much money copyright generates and how much of it comes back to individual creators in the Swedish system.

It concludes that:

As an underestimated minimum 56% of the total income of culture and media is independent of copyright. Direct copyright income for individual artists represent 2% of the total culture and media spending in Sweden. On average individual creators get a very small share of their income from copyright. Typically creators earn their wages from other income sources. The income sources of creators are unevenly distributed and the income from copyright is distributed extremely unevenly. The results are consistent with previous studies. With strong non-monetary incentives and extensive substitutes for copyright, the incentives to create as a result of copyright are deemed as very low.

Concluding thoughts
Even if the producers’ estimates or the researcher’s figures were way off, they still reveal a deeply imbalanced system. Sure, creators need to work in a context of other professionals who can market, administer, A&R, exhibit, print or publish their work. And that framework costs money to build and maintain. But with the new cheap and free technology around, can the present revenue sharing be justified? What if creators could sell downloads directly to their audiences at prices that reflect the realities of the internet?

We’re offering you the chance to be part of that idea, right here.

45 Responses to Discussion

  1. L0g0s says:


  2. Kill3 says:

    this is awesome, but where are the shirts?

  3. Peter says:

    Is it right that if I give 5$, I’d have to buy the film later?

    • JohnDoe says:

      lol peter just download it from the pirate bay if you dont want to pay for it you fool

      • LqqkOut says:

        They’re releasing the film under a Creative Commons license, so you’ll be able to legally obtain it for free once it’s released.

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  6. TheFinnGeek says:

    Hey guys i just want to say that you are doing amazing work and that i am going to support you guys as much as i possibly can…
    If nothing i can try to make more people aware of this project of yours…

    Live long and prosper


  7. Roarexe says:

    Good going TPBAFK!

  8. petardinjo says:


  9. Tem says:

    Russia supports too!

  10. Vegard says:

    The Norwegian pOOp society supports you!

  11. Rod says:

    Weird argument: does that mean that it’s okay to download from tpb rather than pay the artists directly for their work, too? And surely the overall insinuation is that the artists won’t want the the so-called 2%.
    I don’t see a solution, other than sending the tpb’s revenues from advertising to the artists whose work it is making available, or getting the broadband operators to contribute with the billions they make on us paying them for internet access, when we used to buy the products directly in stores.
    I guess the software to develop is one that takes all this into account.

  12. voix says:

    what the hell is this !!!
    the film will be released in SWEDEN ONLY.
    is this a joke ?
    what is the international language that all the wold can understand? Sweden maybe? NOOO ITS ENGLISH
    people are donating so make a LOCAL ONLY documentary.
    i dont give a shit of subtitles, either you translate at least with other english voices or its gonna be just crap lol.
    why not make in CHINEESE so nobody understand is this better?
    and put subtitles as usual.

    • enchantedsleeper says:

      Actually if the film were made in Mandarin Chinese it would be understood by between, roughly, 900 million – 1 billion people, if not more than a billion, since Mandarin has the greatest number of speakers out of all the world languages. Yes, even more than English. I think it’s perfectly fair for the filmmakers to create the film in their own language, and the only ones who complain are the ones who are too lazy to read a few words at the bottom of the screen.

      As for a translation, the film is available under a Creative Commons license, so why not make one yourself?

    • Concerned says:

      Oh, my god. Imperialism. That’s the only word I can think of. All around the world people are either learning english or learning to read subtitles in order to see crappy films coming out of Hollywood. How come you can’t bother? It’s lazy, stupid and fucking ignorant.

    • Phlipp says:

      Hehehehe you say “nobody” about China? there the biggest country in the world you fool. Well Russia is the biggest to land , but “nobody” like 1.5billioin people in china is not “nobody” Swedish will do fine, its a rich speak, hear?

    • tym says:

      why not have multiple audio tracks?

  13. Stainers says:

    Thought this might be interesting for you to read this, just in case there are more ‘teasers’ coming, you don’t have to follow the trend.


    And voix – you’re tripping, not everything can or should be in English, everything’s too homogeneous as it is

  14. voix says:

    if he target all the world then english is international otherwise he target only some ppl.

  15. voix says:

    and some subtitles would never have same effect as speaking ppl, it’s not laziness problem but impact problem.
    it’s like i am reading it in a forum not more, nobody can read and see picture at same time

    • Neinenchblunt says:

      Wow, you have got to be kidding me.
      In addition to being narrow minded,
      you also state that you have tunnel vision.

      Movies and documentaries are always much better
      in their original languages with subtitles because
      you can really get the message through the emotions of the speaker. Voiceovers are terrible. Learn to read and watch at the same time like we all do.

  16. voix says:

    to be honest i am not native english speaker, neither fluent speaker. but i prefer english then any other language just because almost everybody speak it.

    BUT he is free to do what he want with his work.
    i never thought that a such important production will be in local language.

    • Matt_D says:

      “i never thought that a such important production will be in local language.”
      –Less work spent on language training = more time spent on actual production.

      “it’s like i am reading it in a forum not more, nobody can read and see picture at same time”
      –Because subtitles never worked out in a major production. . . *cough* Inglourious Basterds (among other films) *cough*

    • roman says:

      “because almost everybody speak it”

      uhm… where do you get that idea?

      go to guangzou, china, and try to find someone speaking english… or go to the countryside of yokohama, japan, and try the same…

      or how about a more “international” city? moscow, russia, you’ll be searching quite some time until you encounter someone speaking english…

      so much for “almost everyone”…

      you apparently never left your home base… go out, see the world, and you’ll notice that in “almost everyplace”, you will NOT find english speaking people… ;)

      luck and wisdom to you

    • roman says:

      oh yeah, one more:

      if you’d want a broader supported language, even spanish would be a better choice than english, but hey! I speak only five languages, so who am I to argue… ;)

      luck and wisdom to you, again.

  17. Stainers says:

    But the people being interviewed are speaking their own tongue, it’s just not English. If you overdub you loose all genuine emotion, and I find plenty of people can manage to experience pictures and text simultaneously. Hopefully they release are version with subs that are native language.

    • Matt_D says:

      “the people being interviewed are speaking their own tongue” + “If you overdub you loose all genuine emotion”


  18. Idioten says:

    So, he should force the tpbcrew to speak another language for four-five years day in and out? rather u learn to read.

  19. René says:

    File sharing will happen either way weather tpb is shut down or not wich is why i find this so dumb. They are simply a part of the puzzle. The point they make tho about the creator need to addapt theyr way of distribution. Allowing for legal downloading at a reduced price will increase theyr own profit is something i highly agree with. Making 1 million CDs and shipping them arround the world costs a FORTUNE. However uploading a simple file allows for world wide distribution with only the cost of bandwith to think about. Hardly comparable prices i would imagine. The other thing i find crazy is saying that piratebay is stealing and bla bla bla when tpb simply allowes ppl to access information that has been upbloaded. i mean google isnt being sued for pornography when any 10 year old can go on image.google.com turn of the adult filter and look up any picture they want. As i see it tpb arent doing anything wrong its the people who rip a song and upload it who are, yet tpb are taking the blame.
    I support tpb all the way and hope they make it in court.
    I’ve made my support to the making of the film, because i think this is a story that needs to be heard. All the best!

  20. Lars Ulrich says:

    Contrary to popular belief I actually support what you’re doing here. Best of luck.


  21. shanazzykiller says:

    is there an official release date for this yet?

  22. D_L says:

    Here’s an idea learn Swedish, exercise your brain and understand the film at the same time. So many human beings in countries all over the world thrive on understanding different cultures, languages, and ideas.

    great thanks to TPB

  23. Octopus says:

    I am reading this and I really have to laugh at the debate about language.

    I Live in a country that I am not native to, I speak both languages, now, but it was difficult at first… What I realized is that there is interesting music, wonderful poeetry and even documentaries and books in other languages besides the all too important english. (ok, I didn’t just realize this, I actually was educated to be interesated in all things even if I had to work at it.).
    Anyway, keep up the good work… I can’t wait to read the subtitles and learn parts of a new language!
    I have to tell you, I am an American and really, those who MUST have a dubbed film over subs, and actually thinking that ist should be filmed in English so YOU cn absorb it easily goes to show why there is a slant AGAINST arrogant countries. Mine in particular.

    • Doug says:

      I really support what’s TPB are doing, have been doing, and will continue to do!

      The revolution of the digital age has brought about a new way of thinking – consumers have already been voting with their feet since the days of Napster – and what this film (along with other documentaries) shows is that the biggest argument against against filesharing is flawed.

      Creativity will never die through lack of funding, only through lack of imagination. TPB-AFK proves there are other ways to finance the making of a film, you just need a little imagination!

      The only people who stand to loose out in the long run are the ones currently making money from OTHERS creativity – and they will try to keep this stranglehold for as long as possible.

      I can’t wait to see this film!

      I totally agree, as a native English speaker its almost impossible to get exposure to other languages unless you totally immerse yourself in a foreign culture – this film NEEDS to be in Swedish for expression of the personal story that plays out in a specific country against a backdrop of world affairs.

      If TPB had been based in US or UK, it would have been permanently shut down years ago. This is a Swedish story rightfully told in Swedish. Go back to school, learn to read subtitles.

  24. Octopus says:

    Forgive my disinterest in proofreading (my previous post)… I guess as you have become all to comfortable with English… I have become too reliant on spell check… if its not there, I’m not interested. ;Ç)

  25. rv173 says:

    Hiya! i love what your doing i truly do think it is amazing!
    i was just wondering when this film would be released? thanks! ;)

  26. Vile says:

    Is the pirate bay down?

  27. Aleksander says:

    Estonia supports. A must-see for me, looking forward to it. Regarding the language, Swedish with English subtitles would be amazing.

  28. Kardinal says:

    When are we going to actually have the movie? Months later there is an editor… okay, great, but when do we see the movie, I thought it would be done by now, the footage was finished months ago, wasn’t it?

    Not really complaining, just wondering why it is taking so long.

    I’d really like an answer to my email address about this or an announcement for all of us with a projected date please.

    • simme says:

      We are filming until the court case is over. Right now we are waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether they will try the case or not. Depending on the court procedure we hope to release the movie 2012/13.

  29. AFX says:

    Wuuut ;) 2012/13. And i have been waiting this long. Damn. Thought it would be released this YEAR. Ok, atleast i now know i will have to wait a long time;) Thanks. Looking forward to this documentary! //a swede.
    Keep it up!

  30. Dweezil says:

    Very interesting stuff indeed. Still in the 2euros CD example I’d like to point neglect of cost such as music production, support production, shipping, promotion etc, that would considerably reduce the margin, plus I doubt most musician have the required skills and time to do everything themself. But I definitively agree that the music production model need to adapt to the technological context.

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