Business Models

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
affiliates, embracing, infringement


Atari Wants To Work With 'Illegitimate' Sites... After Being One Of The Earlier Supporters Of 'Pre-Settlement' Deals

from the well-that's-a-turn-around dept

Reader Alan points us to an interview with an executive from Atari, where he talks about a new program to work with file sharing sites, even as they make unauthorized copies available:
With the GO affiliate program, you're intending to work with sites that host illegitimate versions of Atari games - it's rare to see a company engaging with, rather than fighting, unlicensed distribution.

Truth be told, why in the world would I ever want to go after my fans? These are people who absolutely love our classic old arcade games. I joke about the fact that it seems like every computer science student, after their first year of programming class, goes off and writes a copy of Asteroids or Missile Command or Battlezone. The web is filthy with those.

Now, instead of arming up a cadre of lawyers the smart thing to do is say, "Look, you're fans of our games, let us give you the legitimate version of the game," and then bring those affiliates into the fold by saying, "We'll actually share revenue with you." They've been running that less than optimal, if not [coughs] a little dodgy, version of Asteroids or Missile Command, so why not just run the original one, share in the revenue and still have the same appeal to the fans they want to draw to their site? And we've got the library of all our other great games that we can bring to them as well.
Now some of those quotes struck me as interesting, because as you may recall, Atari was actually one of the earliest believers in "arming up a cadre of lawyers" and having them send out pre-settlement notices. It was one of the customers of Davenport Lyons, which was the predecessor of ACS:Law in the practice, and it only backed away, when it realized how much negative publicity it was receiving for threatening people if they didn't pay up.

So it's great to see the company looking to be a lot more embracing of ways to work with sites, and recognize that these are fans, not people to be attacked, but we shouldn't forget that it initially approached the space very differently.

Reader Comments

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  1. icon
    W4RM4N (profile), 1 Oct 2010 @ 8:45am


    "Look, you're fans of our games, let us give you the legitimate version of the game,"

    I have a problem with calling people who are downloading torrents of atari games fans. The game is available in many formats for "fans" to purchase. I would think the correct way to term these people is potential fans.

    In my opinion, terming them correctly will allow you to better serve your customer.

    I am a fan of Zakk Wylde's (Black Label Society) music, so I buy it. Someone who downloads the torrent is a potential fan, or not a fan at all.

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