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Warner Bros. adapting and learning from piracy, not fighting it

12.17.2010

It's a rare statement to say that a major entertainment corporation is forward thinking in this day and age, as I'm used to writing about how studios like Fox are suing screenwriters and ripping two minute clips of their movies off YouTube every few seconds.

But Warner Bros. is taking a different approach toward copyright infringement, and are actually learning from it. Rather than hunting down and murdering file-sharers, Warners is now studying them, according to a report by Paid Content, in an effort to turn them into consumers later on.

The report gives a number of facts, like 65% of piracy of the company is movie -related, while 35% is TV. It also says that women are more likely to use streaming sites as opposed to torrent sites, and that big portals like Facebook are being used to link to illegal content more than ever. All this data can be used to change up release strategies to guide more pirates into consuming the products legally. For example, if FX was willing to release the latest "Always Sunny" streaming with limited ads on their site the day after it airs, instead of waiting a month to put it online, I'd be far less likely to download illegally off the internet.  

Apparently the research has evolved to the point where "internal sales reports distributed to WB executives now come complete with stats on how a particular program is faring on the internet’s black market."

This is likely to be far more productive in the long run than hunting down individual pirates and crucifying them on the world stage to make an example of them. Even casual pirates know that you're more likely to be struck by lightning than be fined millions of dollars for downloading this week's episode of "The Vampire Diaries."

What's your guys' opinion on piracy? Is it always wrong as it's content that has inherent worth? Always justified as major corporations continue to price gouge? Somewhere in between?

Extra Tidbit: My ex-girlfriend had to almost drop out of college after settling with the RIAA for $6K for downloading a John Mayer album on our dorm's internet.

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