Birdman and its director Alejandro G. Iñárritu found success at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, but it comes at a cost: piracy of the movie on torrent and file-sharing sites will inevitably increase in the wake of last night’s wins.

Following a study of the 87th Academy Awards nominees by Irdeto in the Netherlands, the company found a clear correlation between movies being announced on the annual shortlist and piracy activity spiking in the following days and weeks.

While it’s no great surprise that major releases see more piracy, especially when they garner the kind of attention that The Oscars bring, a less obvious impact is that independent and “artsy” releases are disproportionately affected.

Although there’s no suggestion that directors and everyone involved in such successful releases would trade this critical acclaim and industry recognition for the extra revenue lost to piracy, it’s a sad indictment of the pirate mentality that the extra plaudits don’t trigger a desire to support the award winner, but a need to steal his or her work.

For independent titles the argument may have been made in the past that they’re difficult to find, especially if the viewer feels the need to watch immediately after the nominations/winners are announced. Nowadays, however, there are more legal ways to watch than ever before, without any kind of wait.

A quick search of this type of winner on Where to Watch this morning yields the following results:

  • Birdman: Available to buy and rent across more than five major digital on-demand providers.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: Free to stream for HBO Go subscribers. Available to buy and rent across more than five major digital on-demand providers.
  • Ida: Free to stream on several subscription services. Available to rent at a low price on Amazon Instant Video and rent/own on numerous other platforms.
  • Boyhood:  Available to buy and rent across more than seven major digital on-demand providers.
  • The Theory of Everything: Available to buy and rent across more than five major digital on-demand providers.
Browse availability of The Oscars winners on

Browse the availability of The Oscars winners and nominees on

And yet, despite this overwhelming array of online platforms to conveniently stream an award-winning movie in high definition, supporting rising directors and the teams they employed in the process, some consumers still end up watching unreliable streams on unlicensed services. Coupled with the potential for infection via piracy site malware, it’s tough to accept that the price tag of $2.99 – $4.99 is too much to part with for an .

Where directors may see light at the end of the tunnel lies in the form of music streaming solutions, which seem to provide an effective alternative to piracy in countries where that consumption model has gone mainstream.

As we see from outstanding titles like The Grand Budapest Hotel above, some are already available on subscriber services like HBO Go, making them immediately more attractive than going the piracy route. Although this is a service traditionally bundled into a cable package, the likelihood is that this year will see HBO offering its own platform at a lower rate, putting it within reach of even more viewers.

Although it seems likely that independent creators will always face some form of piracy when their work reaches the attention of the viewing masses, it has to be hoped that the vast majority will choose to support new talent and select legitimate channels to watch their work.

The alternative is discouraging that creative streak by failing to turn increasing recognition of that work into revenue that they can funnel into their next production. As we want to continue to see new talents like Iñárritu (Birdman) and Ava DuVarney (Selma) flourish at future Academy Awards, each of us can play a part in making that a reality when we choose the channels through which we enjoy their work.