Dear Hollywood: Hire Better Shills

ScreenHunter_755-Oct.-12-23.29-265x320 by Mike Masnick

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a puff piece showing just how much work it is for NBC Universal to keep fighting all those darn pirates. It’s basically a propaganda piece starring Rick “Save the Corn Farmers!” Cotton, NBC’s general counsel who fights piracy the way that Captain Ahab chases Moby Dick. There are all sorts of problems with the piece, including the fact that it appears to believe that just because NBC is sending a lot more takedowns, it means that the “problem” is growing. Of course, as we were just discussing last week, when you look at the actual data, it makes a pretty clear case for anti-piracy efforts doing nothing to stop piracy, but investment in lots of innovative startups providing consumers what they want being the path to success. But, that’s not Cotton’s style.

Anyway, Janko Roettgers, over at PaidContent, wrote a nice post debunking much of the story, which quickly got three comments that all sounded vaguely similar in their poor use of the English language — all of which tried to spin the story into “proof” that greater enforcement, such as the six strikes effort, was needed. Two of them make the laughable claim that each infringement represents “lost revenue.” That’s not how it works. Here’s one of the three comments:

I’m glad the author is pointing out what is pretty clear to people who browse the internet everyday, piracy is still widespread and is evolving every year. Not even taking into account the huge piracy issues overseas, each of these takedown requests represents lost revenue for both views and time spend tracking and reporting this illegal behavior. NBC will and should continue to do this because legal viewing of their content is vital for their business. But the better long term solution is to create a system where NBC isn’t playing a carnival game just to receive the proper copyright benefits for the content they invest so much in.

Of course, the real way to get to that “long term solution” is for NBC to stop playing the carnival game of takedowns — which do nothing to reduce infringement — and focus on making sure its content is more widely available from more legitimate sources.

Either way, Janko quickly pointed out that, in a surprise to no one, it was pretty clear that the comments were from DC-based hired shills for the entertainment industry:

Kelseliz, AlexB and SteveFeather, I’m glad you all enjoyed my story. However, I’m not too surprised you all share the same point of view. After all, the three of you commented from the same Washington D.C.-based IP address, and one of the email addresses you left points to a D.C. lobbying firm that gets paid by major labels, rights holder groups and movie studios… but I’m sure that’s all just one big coincidence.

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