Janko Roettgers, a writer and co-editor for news website GigaOM, has angered MPAA bosses by pointing out his observation that, in times of economic strife, families may turn to movie and TV show piracy to get their entertainment.
In an article titled 'Sorry, Hollywod: Piracy may make a comeback', Roettgers theorized that with families struggling to foot daily bills, non essentials such as movie purchases and cable TV subscriptions might have to make way for more pressing concerns, such as the rent, mortgage and bills. And Roettgers adds that if these families still needed entertainment, they may turn to online piracy. "With memories of the housing slump still fresh, many people could simply return to BitTorrent and download movies for free instead of going to the movies or paying for VOD," Roettgers wrote in the article.
However, the MPAA took offence at Roettgers' observations. The MPAA's Alex Swartsel attacked Roettgers for his "casual promotion" of piracy as an "acceptable way to save money". GigaOm then gave Swartsel space on their website to publish a guest opinion on the matter, which proved to a be controversial move as visitors of GigaOm complained about the website allowing the MPAA to publish their "propaganda".
Swartsel's article makes the comparison between online piracy and "shoplifting", saying that had Roettgers said that families could save money by stealing clothes from a department store, that no one would agree with Roettgers assertions. The main issue though, as a TorrentFreak article on this verval war pointed out, Roettegers did not condone or support piracy in his original article, merely pointing out a prediction of a very likely event.
What is more disturbing though is that the MPAA should find it necessary to attack an observer, someone that "dared" to suggest movie pirates are ordinary, (normally) law abiding citizens, families struggling to pay the bill, and not the hardened criminals, car thieves and shoplifters the industry wants people to believe they are.