Does Warner Consider Piracy Marketing Research?
June 30, 2013

They’ve said for years that manga was popular in the US because of anime, and anime got popular because people swapped tapes, sharing their favorites as copies. Now, there’s some indication that movie studios are coming around to seeing the value of sharing as marketing research.

This TorrentFreak article summarizes some comments by David Kaplan, Chief of Anti-Piracy Operations for Warner Bros., at a recent Anti-Piracy and Content Protection Summit.

“We view piracy as a proxy of consumer demand,” he says, and the company is “looking at ways 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 in line with the growing idea that people share content because it provides a better user experience (without being locked down, for example, or stuffed with ads) or it’s available in more places (without artificial region lockdowns or in languages with fans but no official support) or it’s available for the device they want to use or because it allows for a fairer price (that is, people are willing to pay for a digital book, but not the same or more as they would for a printed copy). If a content provider is willing to consider providing a better user experience, they can compete with instead of fear piracy.

Also, Warner supports fan creations, to a degree. “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 notes. (Which might explain why JL8 has been running so long.)

Of course, this is not an indication that pirates can operate with impunity. There will still be “a strong focus on enforcement and legal initiatives that are needed to secure better copyright protection.”

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