For a while we've been saying that whatever media companies think about piracy, from a moral or legal point of view, it doesn't change the fact that they must learn to compete against it. Unless you cling to the pollyannaish notion that it can be eradicated with DRM, draconian laws, or aggressive lawsuits, there's really no other choice but to compete with it. But it does seem like more executives are getting the message. The fact that more companies are signing deals with YouTube as opposed to suing them is a good step. At a recent conference, a Disney executive articulated the same point of view on piracy, saying, "It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do - through quality, price and availability. We don't like the model but we realise it's competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward." It's taken too long for the entertainment industry to reach this point, perhaps out of a fear that should it deign to compete with piracy it would somehow validate the practice. Now the hard part is in figuring out a way to do it and somehow maintain its profits (not easy, we admit). But a strategy of making all of a company's content available on more devices at any time, as Disney hopes to do, is a good start.
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