Pay attention, Hollywood. Filing lawsuits isn't the way to curb piracy. Innovation is the way to go.
A report released earlier this month by Lightspeed Research and Trendstream found that illegal downloading of content is being eradicated in the U.S. by the rise of streaming content. Moreover, the illegal downloaders are not - contrary to popular belief - motivated by the idea of getting something for free. They want it first. Now. Instantly. And that's what pirate sites offer - instant gratification.
The industry has been trying to sue people back into an old model. Of course, that's hardly going to be effective. Instead, the studios and labels should have been focusing on innovative technology as a means of adapting with the changing times. This Internet thing came in an threw them for a loop in a way that other technologies - from the shift from cassette to CD or VHS to DVD - did not. Those were just new ways of doing the same thing. This time, the Internet removed the physical product from the equation and introduced a new challenge in online piracy.
Now that the studios are starting to embrace the Web platform with Hulu, YouTube and others for streaming video distribution, consumers are growing more comfortable with it and, increasingly, choosing a stream over a download. If a steady stream of content is readily available online, the need to download and own that content is diminished. That, in turn, opens the door to new technologies around advertising, marketing and other revenue generators as content providers build steady online audiences.
Sure, piracy is a threat to the after-market sales of traditional media such as CDs and DVDs but it's also a threat to piracy. And once Hollywood calls off the lawyers and makes a some investments in technology, they may find that their industry was never really in as much trouble as they once feared. Maybe it's just in need of a massive overhaul. No, it won't be cheap or easy - but it's better than closing up shop, right?