Though we've talked about internet pirates before, the IATSE is focussing on it as never before, as are the talent guilds. And it isn't just them:
Piracy is the entertainment industry's biggest headache, according to two of its most prominent players -- WME topper Ari Emanuel and Walt Disney chairman Robert Iger.
"It's really important for us to get into a discussion about piracy because if we don't get a handle on it, the industry will go away," Emanuel declared ...
"In South Korea, it obliterated the secondary market so much so that we closed our home video operations," Iger added ...
There is a tendency among the world's population to take a "who cares?" attitude toward the piracy thing. IA officers, attending conferences overseas, report that lots of foreign officials maintain a "If big American conglomerates get ripped off by piracy, that's a good development, yes?"
In point of fact, the development sucks, because the final outcome will be that the movie and television businesses end up going the way of the record industry, watching their business models get shredded, witnessing entertainment profits shrink to non-existence.
For citizens not in the movie and teevee business, this negative outcome would be an inconvenience. For those working in features and television, it would mean full-blown disaster. The wage and residual structures that have existed for half a century would slowly dissolve, the studios would restructure, and the pension and health plans that entertainment employees have relied on for five and a half decades would weaken and shrink, perhaps irreversibly.
So yeah. Internet piracy could end up being a major deal.
The problem is, none of the conglomerates really know how to effectively combat this big, ugly vulture. As internet broadband increases around the globe, more and more people dip into the deep trough of content and help themselves without paying a centavo or pfennig. It's just Rupert, Bob Iger, and Sumner Redstone after all, and they're already rich. So who cares?
Welll, anybody who works in the entertainment business, that's who. Because if there's no enforcement of copyright law, if internet pirates remain beyond the reach of law enforcement or significant penalties (Big fines? Long jail sentences?) employees in the movie/t.v. biz are going to be in deeper trouble than they already are.
And anybody who is paying attention knows they're not in the catbird seat now.