opinion

An Intense Week

Allison Vivas
This week has flown by, and it’s a good thing we have a great team here at Pink Visual, because I barely was able to focus on any of our current projects or operational details. With the Content Protection Retreat 2 (“CPR2”) and XBIZ LA coming up, I’ve mostly been surrounding myself with industry research and evaluation of the current industry climate, and assessing it all from my personal perspective.

Having been given the honor of doing the keynote address at XBIZ L.A., I spent this week tweaking my presentation, which is basically a retrospective of the past 10 years of the industry’s history, my take on the pivotal point that we’ve reached as an industry, and where we ought to focus our energies in the months and years ahead. It was a beneficial experience to go back through our online industry history like a yearbook, to reabsorb the lessons that we might have forgotten, and draw on the past as a point of reference for moving forward.

On the other hand, I’ve been also heavily involved with coordinating CPR2 next week and dealing with the current climate around piracy in our industry. In the middle of this, a news outlet posed the question “Will Pink Visual’s strategy work?” I already had the answer in my head, but having the question published like that led me to write down my thoughts, which include the belief that this industry has started to set aside its complacency toward piracy, and has actually begun to mobilize. I believe we are starting to turn the tide on piracy, and we’re reaching a point where the pressure is shifting to those who engage in piracy. We’ve seen legal agreements to use copyright finger print filtering, voluntary movements to use that same technology on the part of some sites, two massive torrent search sites have closed, and millions of end users have become informed about the real consequences of engaging in piracy. All of these things have happened in a short nine month period, after years of relative inactivity, outside of a few select studios (Titan Media comes to mind…)

I don’t attribute this to us at Pink Visual, but to the increase in companies awakening to the fact that piracy is, and has been, something that we should always put pressure on, even during times when revenue is flowing freely. I find it interesting that pro-piracy outlets will often point to mainstream media companies profiting even more now, and use that as an argument that those same companies shouldn’t be battling piracy as much as they do. Maybe it is in part because of strict enforcement of their copyrights, and because they put pressure on piracy, along with other good business practices, that these mainstream media companies are enjoying stellar sales? In any case the justification to rob a person because they are rich still doesn’t fly with me. See TorrentFreak.com

In hindsight, knowing that during our peak times at Pink Visual we didn’t have an anti-piracy strategy and seeing how that lack of strategy hurt us, it makes complete sense to me that a strong anti-piracy strategy should always be in place, regardless of what your sales trends look like at the moment. That’s where CPR2 comes in — providing top-of-the line information that studios can draw on to create and customize their own anti-piracy strategy. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and not all companies will (or should) approach the problem of piracy in the same way -- but they do all need to have an approach to the problem, that much should be clear to all of us by now.

While I’m proud of my part in it, it’s also true that the CPR process has been frustrating at times, too. Although I considered the CPR1 a success and anticipate a successful second edition next week, it’s frustrating to see the number of studios who just don’t see anti-piracy strategies as being important at all. What’s been even more exasperating is that there are people who haven’t attended a CPR event who have serious misconceptions about what goes on at the event, and they are eager to share those misconceptions with others in the industry, but don’t evidently don’t care to bring up their perceptions with us, directly, which would give us the opportunity to set them straight about the CPR.

Luckily, I tend to move on from dwelling on my frustrations quickly, and so I’ve switched my focus from being irked by critics to appreciating and supporting those studios who have undertaken anti-piracy efforts. I look forward to seeing many of those faces in L.A., next week.

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