A day after we examined the problems Japan's media firms seem to have with sites like YouTube creating new fans for them for free, another internet giant is elegantly putting the movie industry under the spotlight.

Torrent-tracking site The Pirate Bay has long been known for its sense of humour, as well for as its perilous skating around the greyest areas of international law by helping facilitate millions of illegal downloads of films, music and software.

Now, with the Academy Awards less than two weeks away, The Pirate Bay has chosen to cast a little light on the reasons for piracy by launching an offshoot called Oscartorrents . The new site uses the motivation of gathering together torrents for all the nominated films to make a rather important point.

While no one reputable defends professional film piracy like that rampant in Asia, casual piracy is generally driven by the desire of fans to enjoy a movie at their own convenience, rather than having to wait six months for an imported film's release and then only in an unpleasant modern multiplex.

Age of the internet

As with the TV executives who think they can stick rigidly to outmoded distribution channels and methods, the major film studios clearly still believe that in the age of the internet Guillermo del Toro fans in Japan, for example, will be happy to wait half a year to see a film the rest of the world has been discussing on bulletin boards and the IMDB for an eternity.

A choice for fans between downloading the movie to watch today in the comfort of their own homes or twiddling their thumbs for a few months is no choice at all. That's why more and more people are becoming pirates - criminals in other words.

However, there's another option the big studios seem not to care about in their marketing-driven lives - sell those fans the film online, in decent quality and legally for half to two thirds the price of a cinema ticket wherever they are and they'll double their money in no time.

Let's not forget the traditional point of delivery of course. Once cinemas realise they have some pretty stiff competition for people's cash and attention, they'll need to start innovating to survive.

Themed fan nights, classic movies, better projection, more comfortable surroundings, an end to rip-off refreshments and plenty more that needs to improve in mainstream theatres will surely change then. After, all isn't that what happened in the 1980s when VCRs altered the rules of movie-watching almost overnight? It's time for the next wave of change please.