Actor Ashton Kutcher is currently in hot water for pirating the first 13 minutes of his new comedy movie, Killers. Apparently Kutcher broadcast the film's opening to select fan sites from its Hollywood premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The problem is that he didn't ask permission first.
Now industry insiders and film experts are lashing out at the actor, accusing Kutcher of promoting piracy based on comments he made to Ellen DeGeneres, and by actually streaming the flick. In fact, critics have gotten so heated up over the issue that they have called on the Motion Picture Association of America to reprimand the actor.
But Kutcher doesn't see what the big deal is all about. He doesn't think he's broken any laws, but was merely promoting his latest work. "The film is good enough to sell itself," he said. "I just wanted to show people that... I think if we show the first 13 minutes of the movie and if people like it, they'll go see it."
Kutcher goes on to retaliate against those who called him out on piracy. "Everybody calls people airing stuff on the web piracy just because they're not making money off of it yet," he added. "If they (executives) can figure out how to make money off of it, they won't call it piracy anymore."
Was this act really piracy? What's the difference between streaming 13 minutes of a movie to various websites and going on a network talk show carrying a hefty clip from the same movie?
"The free preview is a transparent marketing stunt by Lionsgate, the studio behind the film, which has decided to hide the movie from critics and instead put the first few minutes in front of its target audience during the run-up to its release," said Hollywood Reporter's legal aide, Matthew Belloni. "To that end, they've enlisted the movie's co-star, a genuine Internet phenomenon, to help promote that effort."