The man responsible for anti-piracy operations at Warner Bros. says the studio is now using piracy data to better meet consumer demands.
Ahead of the Anti-Piracy and Content Protection Summit in L.A. this week, Chief of Anti-Piracy Operations at Warner Bros. David Kaplan explained how WB is softening its stance on pirates, and instead, focusing on how to turn pirates back into paying customers.
"Generally speaking, we view piracy as a proxy of consumer demand," says Kaplan. And he further adds that it's up to WB to "take advantage of that demand by offering fans what they are looking for when they are looking for it".
This may be the clearest indication yet of the changing views of Hollywood studios, who have traditionally viewed pirates as the enemy, instead of potential customers that are under-served at the moment.
Kaplan also notes that not all piracy is bad piracy. "We give a wide berth to 'fan use' and permit fans to use and interact with our content in ways that might technically still constitute copyright infringement, but do not directly substitute for the full length feature, episode or game," Kaplan added.
While softening its stance against average Joe pirates, WB is also signalling increased efforts to go after commercial piracy. "I think our top priority would be to remove the financial incentives from those who would profit by building businesses based on the unauthorized exploitation of our intellectual property. A close second would be educating consumers about the importance of IP protection and the availability of legitimate alternatives to piracy," explains Kaplan.