Today at the West Coast IA offices, staff from Paramount Studio gave a detailed presentation of theft of intellectual property over the internet, specifically theatrical motion pictures. Among the bullet-points: ...
* In the past five years, "peer to peer" exchange of online movies has been supplanted and surpassed by on-line streaming from websites largely owned and operated by organized crime (some of the larges being in Mother Russia.)
* This site, according to Paramount, is owned and operated by the Russian mob. (Certainly professional looking, isn't it?)
* Theatrical features are camcorded the day of their release, and go up on-line almost immediately. Organized crime is now paying for good, (quick) camcorded movies.
* Pirate websites earn $20 to $200 million in profits per year. (Each. And there are thousands of them.) It's one of organized crime's preferred methods of earning money.
* Pirate sites often look slicker and more professional than legitimate sites (i.e. Netflix or Red Box). Most pirate sites infest computers with mal-ware and spy-ware.
* There are billions of visits to pirate movie sites annually, resulting in the loss of thousands of movie jobs. (The independent film industry has withered away to nothing. Sixty fewer theatrical motion pictures were made last year, largely because of internet piracy.) ...
Paramount execs detailed how media companies are working to shut down pirate sites and federal law enforcement agencies are now getting involved.
It was pointed out that suing individual site operators takes years, and really isn't a cost-efficient solution. Online streaming is steadily eroding DVD sales, and even lowering the price point of the little silver disks because
"Low price still can't beat free."
It's gonna be interesting to see how all this shakes out, since nobody thinks the problem is going away.