The first-ever Entertainment Content Protection Summit in Los Angeles saw keynote speaker Taylor Hackford describe piracy as one of the most threatening issues that has hit the movie industry in its entire history, and call Google an “enabler” of illegal downloading.
Hackford, president of the Directors Guild of America, stressed the need to stop piracy, which begins with stopping use of the word. “It (the word ‘pirate’) is too romantic,” Hackford said. “Johnny Depp has made it too wonderful. They’re thieves; Internet thieves.”
He warned delegates that losses suffered by the music industry were set to hit its film counterpart, but suggested movie executives didn’t take the threat seriously enough. “Our industry doesn’t get it,” he claimed. “If we don’t do something about digital theft, we won’t be in business.”
Hackford suggested that the US lost $25 billion annually to piracy, causing a “devastating effect” on the economy, with the entertainment business being the second largest exporter in the US. “If we give that away, what are we going to sell,” he asked.
He said that illegal downloading was growing at alarming rates, implicating Google, which was making money through search engine with these sites. “They’re enablers. We’ve got to be able to say: ‘You are facilitating illegal activity.'”
According to Hackford, nothing could be done without lobbying Washington and litigation. “We have raised a generation that feels everything should be free,” Hackford said. “No business model we create can compete with free. If you’re on the street selling dope, there are laws against that and penalties. There are no laws against illegally selling content.”