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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 10:44 GMT
Piracy 'threat' to Hollywood

By Darren Waters
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Daredevil
Daredevil can be downloaded illegally

Digital piracy is the biggest single threat faced by the film industry, one of the most senior movie executives in Hollywood has told BBC News Online.

Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said the increase in broadband use, which allows faster downloading of information from the internet, was making the problem ever greater.

The MPAA represents seven of the biggest film studios, including Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Universal.

Mr Valenti said the film industry would be taking a different path from the anti-piracy measures favoured by the music industry.

"We've entered the digital world and it's very different from the analogue world.

"Digital piracy has become a real menace."

'Debilitating'

Mr Valenti said recent research pointed to 400,000 to 600,000 films being downloaded from the internet illegally every day.

Jack Valenti
Valenti fears increased piracy through broadband
Although Hollywood is currently enjoying record takings at the box office, Mr Valenti said the increase in broadband use could see piracy becoming "debilitating" for the industry in the future.

More than 46 million Americans use broadband either at home or at work.

"Most of this pilfering is in university where young people have access to fast networks and are doing to file swapping sites like Kazaa, Gnutella, Morpheus and Limewire."

Although the threat of piracy is being faced by all sectors of the entertainment industry, the film and movie industries have decided to pursue different paths to protect their interests.

While the music industry has agreed to concentrate on educating people about piracy, the movie industry favours technological barriers to prevent copying.

"We are in good faith negotiations with computer people, with chip people, with consumer electronics people.

"We favour technological solutions in whatever shape they come."

Mr Valenti said the MPAA would be setting up a research programme to devise new anti-piracy technologies.

'Best interests'

"I am confident that in the future we will find technological self-help measures that will allow us to put protective clothing on our films," he said.

Piracy really hits you hard in home video and after market sales
Jack Valenti
Mr Valenti also said the MPAA would be looking to make more films available for download legitimately on the internet.

"It is in the long term best interests of all of us that we make sure that we serve the consumer and make available thousands of movies for the consumer to bring down at a fair and reasonable price.

"Piracy really hits you hard in home video and after market sales.

"Only about two in 10 films get their money back from theatrical release. They have to go to cable, satellite, TV networks, pay per view, and of course DVD and VCR.

"If they are ambushed early in their life it decreases the value and worth of that movie."



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SEE ALSO:
Record film year at US box office
31 Dec 02 |  Entertainment
Daredevil tops US box office
17 Feb 03 |  Entertainment
Digital headache for Hollywood
03 Nov 02 |  Technology


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