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Thursday, June 7, 2012

MPAA’s CEO Admitted Piracy Wasn’t Theft

Surprisingly enough, the MPAA’s CEO, Chris Dodd, admitted that the days when piracy was associated with theft had gone.

The Motion Picture Association of America was never tired to repeat that piracy was theft, but the recent statements from its CEO show that this tune might change soon. Recently he said that the industry is now in a transformative period with an explosion of technology which will need content, and the industry would be wrong to describe this as thievery.

Of course, copying a copyrighted material isn’t theft, and it never was, though copyright lobbyists have been trying to convince the public otherwise.

Copyrighted experts tried to explain that copyright infringement can’t be considered theft in the same way that stealing a CD from the store shelf is theft. If you take the physical property, you have it and the former owner no longer does. But if you copy the song, you have it, and so does its creator.

However, not many people are interested in this old debate on file-sharing and copyright legislation. 9 years ago Pew Research discovered that 2/3 of US citizens who download music online didn’t care about whether it was copyrighted. However, ignorance isn’t always blissed, and ever since the entertainment industry has sued thousands of users for copyright violation, often obtaining settlements of 5 to 6 figures.

Nevertheless, piracy continued to thrive, and it still does, because we live in a digital age where everything is right at the tips of the fingers and for free. Although people know what copyrighted works are and what the penalties for downloading them are, not many of them consider it wrong to download tracks, films, games, or TV shows for free. In other words, despite the fact that copying is illegal, it isn’t wrong.

Now even the MPAA’s CEO says that the web offers technology which will need content. Maybe it’s the time for the industry to finally understand and accept that it can’t change history. But you shouldn’t get too excited, as the studios are developing a “more subtle” and “consumer-oriented” approach, and such terms can be very circumstantial, particularly with such delicate subject.

The industry observers don’t expect any major changes soon, but still hope they will come one day and will be for the best.

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