Building legitimate alternatives to online piracy is asimportant as legal action, according the executive leading Warner Brothers'global anti-piracy operations.
Darcy Antonellis told delegates at the ScreenInternational European Film Piracy conference in London thatforward-thinking business initiatives were vital to any strategy againstcounterfeiting.
"We need to look at new business models with content thatcan be protected. That's as important as enforcement, or technology, oreducation." She saiddevelopments like video-on-demand were very attractive, if they could beadequately secure.
Exploring legitimate business alternatives was now a vitalpart of a four point plan, delegates heard.
Antonellis, who is Warner Brothers' Technical Operationsexecutive vice president of distribution and technology operations and seniorvice president worldwide anti-piracy operations, outlined three otherpriorities:
- Technology and operations - including research into areaslike camera jamming and smarter forensic work
- Enforcement - working with local enforcement agencies andpursuing rogue internet services.
- Public policy and awareness - attacking the public's "softmoral understanding" of the nature of piracy.
"Piracy is still seen as a victimless crime and there is ageneration of kids who see it as acceptable behaviour," she said. If those attitudes were notactively challenged, jobs would be lost, and film production threatened.
There were signs that the policy was beginning to make animpact, delegates were told. The gap between the pirate copy and the legitimate releasein recent titles is closing or disappearing altogether.
But, she warned eternal vigilance was necessary. "We havehad to embed the consideration of piracy into everything we do. It goes to thefundamental core of our product."
Marek Antoniak, managingdirector, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment
"Every studio is reducing thewindow between theatrical and DVD releases. An accelerated releasing strategyis being adopted by all the studios and we'll see more of that especially inlight of the camcording going on in the US."
"Piracy is going to continue to grow and will grow until wehave a tough enough deterrent to deal with it."
Alex Sparks, managing director and senior vice president,Blockbuster
"The situation out there is horrendous at the moment. With700 stores out there, we are at the frontline of experiencing the impact ofpiracy. The quality of pirate DVDs is not brilliant, but it is perfectlywatchable. This is without a shadow of a doubt impacting on our business. Anddespite all that is going on [in terms of anti-piracy initiatives], thesituation is getting worse."
Dara MacGreevy, regional director, Motion PictureAssociation
"There are lots of countries with good anti-piracylegislation in Europe, but the will to enforce that law is not present."
"DVDs are not highly priced. They are competitively priced.The legitimate industry cannot compete with pirate prices. The profit marginsthat pirates enjoy are huge: we believe that pirates enjoy an 800% profitmargin."
John Woodward, CEO, UK Film Council
"From the Film Council's perspective, we believe that piracyis the biggest danger facing our industry."
"The music industry was only able to solve its problems oncethe iTunes model was sorted."