Piracy Good: Message To Content Producers

    March 2, 2012
    Lee Hester
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Content producers at a conference in Ottawa recently received a surprising message. Piracy is good. Canadian Indie producers were told at a media conference on Thursday that illegal downloading of content actually secures more business and reveals new emerging markets for them.

Gavin McGarry, Jumpwire Media President told an afternoon panel, “We’re really coming to a place right now where piracy and file sharing is actually doing what it’s supposed to do: It’s showing new markets, it’s taking the content business to new places and it’s helping build big businesses for new and emerging companies and also for some of our big leading content providers.”

In a presentation entitled, “The Ins and Outs of Illegal Downloading,” Robert Tercek, Digital Media Consultant, told attendees that if content producers priced their product reasonably for consumers they could avoid piracy. Tercek pointed out, “If they make their content available, this part of the issue will go away.” A former editor of Billboard and author of “Free Ride,” Robert Levine, agreed that the key to getting paid was providing access to products rather than throwing up barriers.

“We are awash in content,” explains Tercek. “Each year 300 million online videos compete for attention against 250 studio film releases and TV is turning into an app.” In the broadcast world, digital giants like Google and Facebook are turning TV into more software competing against emerging social media sites and services. “Google is not stopping. They bought Motorola. They’re building expertise in the real-time insertion of advertising. They’re moving into display,” told Tercek.

  • http://twitter.com/sasmus Sarah

    I’m glad to read that this shift in thinking about “piracy” is starting to get noisy. I’ve thought along similar lines ever since Napster, et al. made big news alongside 12-year-old children for illegally sharing/downloading mp3s. The response to so-called piracy was silly then, and it’s even sillier now.

    Why not make content more accessable, more affordable for more people? Radiohead figured out this problem in 2007 and, after ditching their label, released In Rainbows as a digital download–for whatever price people were willing and able to pay. While some paid nothing, plenty paid more. Availability and access, even at a few cents a download, can add up. (Last I heard, the band is still doing fine, critcally and financially.) And with sites like ReverbNation, unsigned bands don’t have to wait for a contract to start distributing and selling their work to whoever’s interested. I wrote a blog post about how the music industry still has a lot to learn but that the TV and film industry seems to be taking a smarter tack than the RIAA has. We’ll see…


  • steeleword

    US Home video sales (DVD, BluRay, PayTV, VOD, Streaming) are down 25% to $18.5B in 2011 from $25B in 2006. The first BitTorrent search engines debuted in 2004. Recorded music is down worldwide from $27B in 1999 (Napster) to $15B in 2011. Those are real jobs lost that are not coming back until the public realizes that these are your friends and neighbors whose careers are being destroyed by lack of copyright enforcement. Who is destroying these industries, ISPs, search engines and internet ad networks that profit from pointing to and distributing music, movies, software, games and books without paying any royalties. Google $44B a year, Verizon $120B a year, Viacom (CBS, MTV & Paramount Pictures) $14B a year, Warner Music Group $2.4B a year.