Use of Web-based software, cloud storage stirs fears

Screenwriters who use Web-based software and cloud storage face a new fear in their trade: security.

Write Brothers veep Chris Huntley, for one, is skeptical that studios will adopt widespread online exchanges of information until military-grade protections are put in place.

“The WikiLeaks material was not something its originators wished to share with the world, so just imagine a studio freaking out about having its budgets, scripts and deal memos floating around,” Huntley said.

While Huntley understands the utility of the virtual collaborative aspects that most of the Web-based apps offer, he thinks putting scripts and story ideas online is problematic. “The younger writers aren’t concerned about the privacy issue until it bites them in the behind,” he said. “Once they have their stuff stolen, they’ll understand why people are private about their work.”

Both Scripped.com and Screenwriting Pro say they have effective security in place. Scripped.com CEO Sunil Rajaraman said his site’s cloud server is backed up “religiously.”

“We’ve never had a security issue in the two years we’ve been running,” he said.

Screenwriting Pro founder Jesse Douma said that his app uses financial services-level security to protect its clients’ files. “Nothing is completely secure,” he adds. “If someone emails a script to a writing partner, that actually puts the file at greater risk than using an online system.”

Celtx CEO Mark Kennedy believes that cloud storage is far better at providing secure backup and exchange than traditional methods. “You don’t have to worry about your hard drive crashing or your laptop getting stolen,” he said.

Yet Kennedy understands and respects his customers’ reluctance to relinquish control over their media. “Our original concept was to have a pure Web-based approach, but people feel a sense of security working on a desktop and doing their own backup,” he said. — Robyn Weisman

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