Friday, July 6, 2007

Piracy Crackdown

Yesterday in New York City, Kalidou Diallo was arrested under the city's new anti-piracy laws when he was caught recording the Transformers on his handheld camera. It's definitely a move in the right direction to protect copyright but is it enough? Lawrence Lessig has been moving towards a copyright free world with his Creative Commons effort and in the Internet world it appears that this is the only way to enforce things: by not enforcing things.

Diallo was caught recording the Transformers and his plan was most likely to sell the "bootleg" on the street for 100% profit. His business model would have him, the retailer, winning, you, the consumer, winning (because you would pay a reduced price to see the film), and the producer, Dreamworks, losing (they don't get to collect a fee for entrance). In essence this equation is shifting power toward the retailer. But if we think about traditional television the equation is also changing. Previously it was: the user pays (with his time), to watch commercials that the sponsors create, in order to get to the content. Thus the brands get your attention, and for that attention they pay producers to create content that you want to watch but will put up with commercials to get to. Now the equation is changing with TiVo and DVRs. Now the user doesn't pay, but brands are still paying. Content is still being made so there's an imbalance. Who's losing? It's the same case as Diallo - the guy footing the bill. In TV its the sponsors.

I think that pay per entrance still works. After all, you get the luxury (at least in some theaters) of comfortable seats, big screen, shared movie going experience, and last but not least, new cutting edge content. It's worth $9 ($12 in Manhattan). But TV? In the comfort of your own home you can do anything...including stealing content. There are legitimate tools out there that make this easy for you to do. In the old days you could just tune your brain out but now you don't even have to do that. And with tools like Apple's ITV how can we continue to justify television broadcast and more importantly, costly national media buys?

True, there are some events out there like the Super Bowl, and other sports, awards shows like the Oscars, and other "events" out there (last episode of Sopranos for example) that are worthy of getting a large audience together at the same time. But for the most part we want to watch what we want when we want. I've been an advocate of product placement for some time and I'll put this one thought in your head of cross generation product placement with a strange product known as the female sponge. In yesterday's AdAge the mention of the contraceptive sponge as used by Elaine in Seinfeld, demonstrated the power of perfect product integration. The product had recall among every generation and with the power of Seinfeld's syndication network, even stronger. Now are you Tivo-ing through that?

One last thought: the folks that paid for the production, namely GM, although I haven't seen the movie yet, would probably want this movie to get around as much as possible, although now that I think about it, if you are bootlegging a $10 movie, you probably can't afford a $30,000 Camaro.

No comments:

Post a Comment