Mistake Shows Need for Clear Communication in Piracy Discussions

Let’s say that I download the last episode of the recent season of Lost via BitTorrent. It’s not yet available on DVD and I get broadcast TV in my home. Is this theft? Some in the entertainment world say yes. Here’s an example:

In a demonstration for BusinessWeek earlier this year, Attributor executives showed how many times scenes from "The Sopranos" had appeared on 20 leading video sites since they first aired on TV. In all, 1,500 scenes from 52 episodes had been viewed 32 million times. For Time Warner’s (TWX) HBO, those viewings might have brought in more than $1 million, said Attributor Chief Executive Officer Jim Brock. [Emphasis added.]

The quote talks about and HBO series which people do pay to see (by subscribing to HBO) but I’ve read similar statements regarding broadcast TV shows too. But here’s the catch:

It turns out that Brock was estimating revenue from advertising that did, or could have, run next to the "Sopranos" clips. I’m glad I asked, because there’s a big difference between an overlooked opportunity and outright theft.

Here is exactly where we need to separate the hype from the reality. Is the company losing money because of theft or because of their lack of understanding and missing of an opportunity?

Read the full article at Tools of Change for Publishing.

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