This time last year, I was preparing to give a presentation in Washington, D.C., on the damaging effects of online piracy and the challenges it presents to independent filmmakers in the digital age. As is the case with others in the creative industry, our independent film distribution company, Wolfe Video, was experiencing the negative financial effects of our films being widely pirated. It appeared that we were powerless to stop it.
The more I spoke out against online piracy, the more correspondence I began to receive from our film fans around the world. Some expressed the opinion that everything on the Internet should be free, and for them there wasn't much to say except go ahead and try to finance your own independent movie. However, there were others who explained that they simply wanted the opportunity to watch our films. They didn't "support" piracy, but said they had no other options. One woman from South Africa posed this challenge: "If you could find a way to get us access, I would be happy to pay a reasonable fee and not resort to piracy."
Our goal all along has been to provide LGBT audiences with access to films that reflect their lives, but in reality, that's not as simple as it sounds. There are certain territorial and language barriers that can complicate matters. As online distribution options have evolved, we've made it a priority to find ways Wolfe could provide our audiences unprecedented, timely access to our films, while at the same time discouraging the illegal "sharing" of our films.
To that end we are excited to announce WolfeOnDemand.com. It's a worldwide pay-per-view service that will allow audiences around the globe to access and enjoy our films. Aside from giving our audience the films they want to see when they want to see them, we've gone a step further to create the opportunity for fans of our films to become our distribution partners.
One characteristic of today's piracy that has helped fuel its growth is the cash rewards cyber-locker sites offer users supplying illegal content. Now, Wolfe on Demand will allow bloggers and forum operators to become "affiliates" and earn legitimate commissions on movies they "share" via our site rather than traffic in infringing/illegal files via cyber-lockers.
Our hope is that this approach can be a win for all sides. Our films will reach their intended audiences throughout the world. LGBT film fans will be rewarded for their online enthusiasm, and our filmmakers will be able to create more films for us to enjoy.
We are excited about these possibilities and hope that now that we've taken their challenge and made our films accessible to a worldwide audience, fans will do their part and support the films they love.
WolfeOnDemand.com is the worldwide LGBT movie-watching platform where LGBT films can be seen from anywhere in the world. All films are available to rent or to own, and fans can earn affiliate commissions when they share their favorite films. WolfeOnDemand.com is brought to you by Wolfe -- serving customers since 1985, Wolfe is the largest exclusive distributor of LGBT films. Please visit WolfeOnDemand.com now to discover the world of LGBT cinema. This piece was first published at The Huffington Post.