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A Studio Insider Gives His Take on Piracy and Hollywood's Refusal to Change

Thompson on Hollywood By Chris Dorr | Thompson on Hollywood May 27, 2014 at 11:33AM

In my recent article on the movie studios wearing blinders to piracy and the digital future, one very smart comment came in an email from a highly placed executive within the movie and television business. He has allowed me to quote him as long as I do not reveal his identity.
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Hollywood sign
Eugene Wei

In my recent article on the movie studios wearing blinders to piracy and the digital future, one very smart comment came in an email from a highly placed executive within the movie and television business. He has allowed me to quote him as long as I do not reveal his identity.

He writes,

“Unlike the vast majority of my colleagues, I believe that the anti-piracy crusade (irrespective of where you stand on the issue morally) is practically futile and akin to “the war on drugs” or stopping people from speeding.  Earlier in my career, like most lawyers brought up in pre-21st century media, I was all gung-ho about enforcement and the sanctity of private property.  Although I still believe that respect for intellectual property laws is foundational for our industry, I am also a pragmatist, and I have come to believe that our biggest problem is ourselves, not the pirates.”

“It is the lack of creative marketing, pricing and windowing schemes that service and entice the customer that give the mainstream entertainment industry its biggest problem.  This is a social phenomenon, not a legal one, and, therefore, needs social solutions.”

This is a point that needs to be repeated and restated over and over.

Hollywood is radically out of sync with its customers, who now live in a hyper connected world.  These are the people who love movies and TV programs. They want to watch them on every screen they own.

It is Hollywood’s refusal to change its business model and learn how to entice its customers that is the problem. Not piracy.

Read the rest of this article at Digital Dorr.

This article is related to: Features, Digital Future


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.