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Hollywood's Own Research Firm: Content Owners To Blame For Piracy, SOPA/PIPA Wrong

Posted by: , 18:41 AEDT, Fri January 13, 2012

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Research firm Envisional, previously hired by NBC Universal to conduct research on web piracy, says that content owners should blame themselves for web piracy, and has revealed that the firm tried to convince content owners that SOPA/PIPA "is not the way to go"

Research firm Envisional, a firm hired by NBC Universal a year ago to conduct a study on web piracy, now says that content owners are to blame for web piracy woes, and that Hollywood's support for two pieces of pending copyright legislation is misguided.

Speaking at the CES, in a presentation titled "The State of Digital Piracy", Envisional's head of piracy intelligence David Price explained that the best way to fight web piracy is to take the best parts of how pirated content is distributed, and couple it with increased availability of legitimate content.

Price says that the way Hollywood has been fighting piracy is wrongheaded, and has put them on a collision course with the Internet. "The content owners are really fighting the tide of the Internet," Price said. "They're trying to fight the flow of the Internet which is all about making content as widely available as possible, as easily as possible, as quickly as possible. They're trying to hold back the 1.4 billion users of the Internet from doing what the Internet wants them to do." 

Price argues for a "built it and they will come model", where providing legitimate content at reasonable prices and with superior services, will eventually convince pirates to go legit.

Price lists some example of services that have successfully competed with piracy, services like Netflix that accounted for 29% of peak bandwidth usage (from data a year go), and how in the absence of such a legitimate offering, its place is taken by BitTorrent in countries like the UK (although Netflix have just launched over there).

The poor availability of US content overseas, Price says, is a huge factor when it comes to International piracy rates.

As for the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, and the senate version, Protect IP, Price says that while it would be inevitable one or both of these proposed bills would get passed within the next 6 month, but he does not support either. "When I talk to content owners I try to tell them this is not the way to go," Price added. "You don't want to hurt people. You want to try and go with a compete approach, put the content out there and hope people will come to you."


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