My colleagues were kind enough to let me know this morning that â€œour friendsâ€ at Variety had blatantly pinched my â€œArcanaâ€ scoop from yesterday â€“ publishing it not only without credit but essentially structured, and worded, the same. The seemingly-upstanding emerald-coloured trade may as well have just cut and paste our story â€“ which, by the way, was published some 14 hours before theirs â€“ because whatever way you look at it, itâ€™s mother fuckin’ InterWeb robbery.
I considered going into a raging tirade â€“ bringing up examples of how my colleagues, like Collider, IESB and /Film, have also had their â€˜scoopsâ€™ pinched by the trades; as well as stating how most of us make little to no money for our â€˜hard workâ€™ obtaining such scoops, scoops later pilfered by the trades as their own â€“ but decided itâ€™s not worth it. Itâ€™s not going to change anything. This has been going on for years, and until some kind of fiercer, more stringent new media publishing rule is installed, itâ€™s going to keep happening. Not everyone working for the trades work this way (in fact, Anne Thompson is one of the best there is), but it seems to becoming more and more noticeable that these so-called â€˜tradeâ€™ breaks are sloppy seconds from independent websites like Moviehole. The trades aren’t the only ones who pinch like an inebriated geriatric at a singles bar… some well-known local newspapers do it too. For fucks sake, if you want the scoopsâ€¦ how about hiring us to write the stories? Email me for my rates. I’ve probably got more in’s, and more keys to the back doors of those that matter, then anyone caviar-scooping typist making $28/hr.
One publicist said over email, upon noticing the similarities in the stories, that, â€œThe sad thing is a lot of the studios are in bed with the trades. Theyâ€™re easier to control, less opinionated than indy websites like yours, and can essentially get away with whatever they want because theyâ€™ve been around forever. I too hope this attitude changes â€“ just as I do some studios belief that old media is better than new media â€“ because itâ€™s becoming more and more evident that filmgoers and movie-buffs take notice of you guys, and Dark Horizons, and CHUD, and whoever else, than they do the tradesâ€¦ or the newspapers. You have a much bigger audience, but more so, you have the audience we/they should be targeting. You all say how it isâ€¦. Which is why Iâ€™m almost expecting you to let Variety have it in the form of own of your amusing columnsâ€.
Another studio publicist tells me that, “It’s not right – but unfortunately these big corporations like to treat the independently run film websites like Ivan Drago did Apollo Creed. Considering you guys do all the work – and most of us realize that, believe me – it’s disappointing, I know. You’d know, working for so many magazines and newspapers like you do, that sometimes it’s the editor that decides to leave the credit out… because it looks better if they got the scoop. Just make sure you give the scoop on your next film to anyone but this outlet. That will teach them“.
Look, all we can do is â€˜hopeâ€™ that most of you do the right thing, and link to whose story it actually is, rather than those who are running it second-hand without kudos to the originator. And considering how many of my fellow webmasters wrote in to tell me about the pinch, it seems you are. Thanks all. Disheartening when this stuff happens because, as most in the indy website biz know, you’re here for the readers not the money – because, quite frankly, there isn’t any.
But here, see for yourself how similar these stories are:
Empire Strikes Back
St. Elmo's Fire
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
The Breakfast Club