New Reports on Piracy

The Wall Street Journal this week offers two interesting articles about online piracy of entertainment media.  In this piece by Christopher S. Stewart, we get a somewhat rare glimpse inside the counter-piracy unit at NBCUniversal, which provides some context for understanding the scope of piracy and the investment required to address it directly through takedown notices.  And a new article by Ben Fritz  reviews analysis from Carnegie Mellon University on the market effects of shutting down Megaupload, which indicates a measurable increase in consumers switching to legal alternatives.  I recommend both articles as well as the post from Carnegie Mellon itself.

On a personal note, I’d like to suggest that it’s time for a new simile.  Aside from the fact that I’m tired of reading “It’s like wack-a-mole,” I don’t think this narrative adequately or accurately reflects the environment.  For one thing, the reference casts us creators in the role of the guy with the mallet dumbly trying to swat the oh-so-clever mole, and this hardly reflects how many middle-class, let alone corporate, creators feel about combating piracy of their works. I don’t know what the new simile ought to be, but among the indie artists I’ve encountered, the conditions sound less like whack-a-mole and more like hard-working farmers politely asking locusts to leave their crops alone.

David Newhoff
David is an author, communications professional, and copyright advocate. After more than 20 years providing creative services and consulting in corporate communications, he shifted his attention to law and policy, beginning with advocacy of copyright and the value of creative professionals to America’s economy, core principles, and culture.

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