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IT'S A CRIME - From The Presidents

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In the previous issue of Produced By, we were excited to read the feature story, Standing Up to Cyber Threats,which speaks to issues that have become vitally important to us personally, and to our profes- sion as a whole. As that story makes clear, when we are making motion pictures and television programs, we increasingly are practicing 20th century art forms with 21st century tools. Those tools (like any) have innate strengths and weaknesses. Digital technology has vastly increased our creative capabilities—becoming invaluable to both our process and our product— but it has left us vulnerable in ways we dont always appreciate. The digital work ow that allows us to shoot footage in Italy, cut it together in London and review the dailies the next day in Los Angeles is the same process that allows criminals to spirit that footage out of an edit bay on a thumb drive, or provides rich targets for outside data thieves and pirates.

There are a variety of opinions on piracy, including a school of thought that regards it as a mixed blessing or even as a marketing tool, citing the buzz that sometimes attends the release of leaked content. Our position—and the Producers Guilds position—is that piracy is a crime. Too many producers have seen unauthorized releases of their work sap the commercial potential of a project; the loss of such revenues hurts not only the producers bottom line, but any residual compensation due to our creative collaborators. If we wave the white flag over content piracy and determine that its a hopeless fight or a condition we simply have to live with, then we are reneging on the implicit bargains we have made with our investors, our distributors and our teams. Its our responsibility to deliver a product that can be exploited as fully as possible within the marketplace, and in the current environment that means taking extra steps to ensure the security of our data and its distribution.

If others want to declare piracy an insoluble problem, let them. We stand ready to try and solve it. Over the past several years, we have been meeting personally with a variety of top experts and consultants in the eld. The more weve learned about the topic, the firmer our convictions have grown: This is a problem that needs to be solved with proactive measures. And as weve conducted our research, another truth has be- come apparent—this is not a problem the Guild can ad- dress alone. Its going to take investment and commitment at every level of our production and distribution process. A year from now, our term as PGA Presidents will be up. Our goal is to propose a way forward on piracy and content theft before we leave office. It wont be simple or easy, but weve faced longer odds in our careers and still came in on schedule and under budget. We look forward to sharing our findings

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