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US VP talks tough on piracy, but says industry needs to better educate

By | Published on Monday 18 April 2011


The American Vice President Joe Biden has very much come out in favour of the entertainment and media industries in a conversation about piracy with Variety magazine, possibly indicating that the Obama regime is planning on toughening up American anti-piracy rules. Then again, he did later say that the creative industries should be doing a better job of communicating the good sides of copyright, so perhaps not.

Biden told the entertainment trade mag last week: “Look, piracy is outright theft. People are out there blatantly stealing from Americans – stealing their ideas and robbing us of America’s creative energies. There’s no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property”.

On accusations that rampant piracy was in part motivated by the content industries failing to offer legitimate digital services, he continued: “The fact is, media companies have already taken significant steps to adapt their business models to keep up with changes in how we watch movies and listen to music. Content is being offered to consumers in a variety of different ways that make it easy and cost-effective for people to access legal material. Anyone who does not understand this should simply talk with one of my grandkids”.

But he concluded: “I think the entertainment industry would agree that they have done a poor job in making their case and need to do better. I mean, they have some of the brightest and most creative people working for them… They should be able to come up with an intelligent, original and effective public education campaign targeting this issue. To be honest, I am not certain they have dedicated the appropriate resources to this, and I hope they will”.

Of course, Universal Music UK did dedicate quite a bit of resource to the Music Matters pro-copyright campaign over here, and that was still woeful, but it is possible that the content industries should be doing more in this domain on a more regular basis.