What's Worse Than Letting The Lawyers Run Your Entertainment Company?

from the who's-in-charge-over-there dept

There are plenty of examples of the damage lawyers can do when they're effectively allowed to run entertainment companies, as their efforts to protect copyrighted material alienate fans and kill off the promotional value of content. But perhaps even worse than letting lawyers run an entertainment company is putting it in the hands of your anti-piracy chief. According to an article in the New York Times, Warner Brothers Entertainment's head anti-piracy exec reviews all the company's digital distribution deals -- which would go a long way towards explaining its "strategy" in this area. The exec even has the gall to portray the studios' deal with BitTorrent to set up a crappy store selling DRM'd content as something groundbreaking, when it's just the latest studio-backed download site that puts locking down content above everything else, including building something consumers would actually want to use. That's what happens, though, when you let your company be controlled by somebody whose only job is to try and stop piracy. It's simple -- if that's your top priority, your products will reflect it, and subsequently, so will your bottom line. Sure, maybe nobody is pirating movies from the legal BitTorrent store, but hardly anybody's going to be buying movies from it, either. When stopping piracy is the top goal, everything else -- including actually making money -- is going to suffer. These are the sort of people who say you can't compete with free, so they focus on the fruitless, impossible task of eliminating the free content, instead of figuring out how to change their business models and make money in spite of the free content.

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  1. identicon
    Chris Westland, 2 Apr 2007 @ 6:03pm

    Warner Bros. 'strategy'

    I sat through a Warner presentation on piracy last November. Central to their slide show are a series of fanciful arguments (and I kid you not ... they really believe this stuff) that knife-wielding Asian triads are now giving up drug trade and prostitution for ... get this ... pirating Warner Bros. videos because the mark up is so much higher than drugs or white slaves.

    This is the same Warner Bros. who used to own the biggest ISP in the US (AOL, remember them) and as a result owned the first really successful browser (Netscape, remember them) and one of the industries (like him or not) early visionaries -- Steve Case.

    So what happened ... why didn't Warner develop YouTube (and sell it for 1.6 billion); or BitTorrent; or My
    Space to promote their music; or NetFlix; or yadda yadda yadda ... They sure had more money and people than any of the firms that have successfully changed the content distribution model ...

    Well, this article explains it ... they are a bunch of dinosaurs run by Luddite lawyers and anti-piracy zealots. Instead of rethinking their business model in terms of the current realities in technology, they want to lock the world into 1970s technology so they can keep their good times rolling.

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