Content curators hate piracy. That much has been obvious for the past few years as the major film and music studios have pushed for stricter enforcement of anti-piracy laws. It all came to a head last year with the introduction and subsequent rejection of SOPA. Now at least one movie studio seems to think that piracy may not be all bad.
TorrentFreak reports that David Kaplan, Chief of Anti-Piracy Operations at Warner Bros., has come out in defense of piracy… sort of. He’s not outright endorsing piracy, but he admits that piracy is a “proxy of consumer demand.” He uses this information “to adjust or develop business models to take advantage of that demand by offering fans what they are looking for when they are looking for it.”
This is actually kind of shocking. Most content curators embrace a zero tolerance policy when it comes to piracy. Most don’t care if their enforcement efforts destroy largely legitimate businesses or censor the Internet. To admit that piracy can at times be a good thing only shows that movie studios may finally be coming around to the idea that it should be competing with piracy instead of fighting a losing battle against it.
Fortunately, Kaplan seems to be joining a growing chorus of studio execs that are coming around to the idea that piracy is not all bad. He joins HBO Programming Head Michael Lombardo who said Game of Thrones piracy “is a compliment of sorts.” He went on to say that piracy shows that “the demand is there” and that it “didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales.”
Speaking of Game of Thrones, the HBO series was just named most pirated series of the year. The high piracy numbers indicate that people would gladly pay for a standalone HBO streaming service, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Well, we’re still taking baby steps for now. We can’t expect the industry to start adopting new business models that compete with piracy overnight. What we can do, however, is continue voting with our wallets in telling movie studios that Kaplan’s ideas should be expanded upon, not retreaded.