Seriously. Is it really that hard for the folks in Hollywood to understand the benefit of word of mouth marketing? After all, this is the same crew of people who know how to blame bad word of mouth when it makes a bad movie tank. You'd think they would recognize the other side of the coin as well. Instead, they do what they always do and send out the lawyers. Here are two new examples: John has submitted the story of Paramount Pictures and TheMovieBlog. Apparently the folks at the blog have been endlessly hyping up and freely promoting the new Transformers movie. Someone at Paramount contacted the blog writer, asking him to remove a certain image from the movie, which he did. Apparently, that wasn't good enough. They then went to his hosting company and had the entire site shut down for another photo he had of a candid photo of some of the actors standing off camera (not a scene in the movie). It's not even clear that there's a copyright violation here, and yet they filed a standard takedown notice without (1) bothering to contact him (2) seeing if there was a real violation or (3) recognizing that he was helping them in promoting the film. Nice work. A similar move concerns the creator of Ren & Stimpy, who has apparently been posting short clips of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons on YouTube to get more people interested in animation. Warner Brothers, who owns the rights, has gone after YouTube for allowing these clips (again, not full videos). Warner's lawyers, obviously, see this solely as defending their rights -- but they're missing out on the the bigger picture. This is helping to promote their old works which are rarely seen any more -- at no cost to Warner Brothers. Not only does it help build up a market of people who might buy future products based on these works, but it also gets more people interested in animation and other Warner products. However, rather than recognizing the value that these fans provide in helping to promote creative works, the studios send out the lawyers. For all the whining and complaining out of Hollywood about how much damage file sharing is doing to their industry, it seems pretty clear that they're doing a lot more damage themselves in their short-sighted focus on legal attack dogs instead of any sense of long term strategy.
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