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The producer of The Walking Dead warns that rampant piracy is pushing the TV and film industry “to the precipice”, and called on Google to do more to tackle illegal websites.
Gale Ann Hurd said that if consumers want to continue to see shows such as Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones – which have broken viewing records while also topping the global chart of most-pirated TV shows – then more needs to be done to crack down on piracy.
“The truth is you wouldn’t imagine stealing someone’s car [or] a piece of art they have created,” she told The Guardian. “We are poised on the precipice in filmed entertainment – TV and movies – because of the prevalence of piracy the content creators will not get a revenue stream to the point that they won’t be able to create. That is the danger of piracy.”
She criticised Jeff Bewkes, the chief executive of HBO’s parent, Time Warner, has said that Game of Thrones piracy has been “better than an Emmy” as a publicity machine to help drive TV subscriptions.
Hurd – who co-wrote and produced Terminator and produced classics including Aliens – said that assertion is “really dangerous thinking”, and called on companies that facilitate piracy to take action. “First of all if you go on search engines you should be able to filter out pirated websites.”
She cited an example of a search for Netflix and House of Cards, where the website of the US streaming company didn’t appear in the top 50 search results on Google.
“When consumers do go onto pirate websites they look legitimate. They have advertising from well-known brands, and they take credit cards. How would the consumer know the difference between legitimate sites and illegitimate sites? There is a lot the advertising industry, credit card industry and search industry can do to help protect legit content.”