Those of you who are familiar with HBO’s Entourage TV series – the day-to-day life of Vincent (Vince) Chase, a hot young actor in modern-day Hollywood, and his group of miscreant friends (the Entourage) – may remember the episode title “The Sundance Kid” where movie studio big wig Harvey Weinstein casts Vince as the lead in a surfing film he’s producing. After initially accepting the role in Weinstein’s film, Vince drops out to pursue James Cameron’s “Aquaman” throwing Weinstein in one of his legendary spitting temper tantrums.
Try, if you will, to envision Weinstein’s “condition” after discovering the new Michael Moore docu-drama, Sicko, Weinstein Co produced was bootlegged (ahead of its June 29th release date) on YouTube over the weekend. Well, hell have no fury like a pissed-off Weinstein.
And how did writer-director Michael Moore, known for his disdain for copyright laws, react to the news? According to a June 18, 2007 interview with Brandweek’s Steve Miller, Moore said that despite the Internet ripping his new film…
“[…he disapproves of copyright laws. It’s a stance] I’m sure is different than that of Harvey and Bob…I think the music industry’s response to Napster was misguided … and for me, it’s about getting people to see the movie and that’s what I want, so they will talk about it…I would never want to prosecute anybody who would download it…”
For the record, Ymer does not condone illegal file sharing however we are adamant that the existing pay-for-content model is dead. Weinstein and his fellow movie titians can either learn from the mistakes of the music industry and work with independent distribution channels, such as YouTube, to create a payment platform that leverages the viral natural of “good quality content” or not – the equivalent of the latter is losing just about everything.
Our views echo our desire to work with and support co-founder Eric Priest and his team at Beijing based Feiliu. While not revolutionary in design or concept, their business model of blanket content licensing, monthly subscription, unlimited sharing/usage and usage-based payments to content providers is, in our opinion, the most balanced and practical model we’ve seen in the market.
Some have argued that “digital music is a very difficult space to monetize” and a start-up in this space without a “massive user-base” will get crushed under the weight of industry leaders however what the public and investors are overlooking is the fact that content owners are less than excited about doing deals with established players given their less than stellar record on IP protection.
Indeed, this includes China’s leading Internet venture, Tencent, as it now faces several lawsuits from leading Taiwanese music label Rock Records. And therefore content providers will, by default, turn to independent enterprising companies, such at Feiliu, and their spotless IP track records.