Two weeks ago, we posted an article to our blog by producer Richard Gladstein, the Founder and President of FilmColony and a member of CreativeFuture’s Leadership Committee. In the article, which originally ran in The Hollywood Reporter, Gladstein called Google’s defense of certain Fair Use cases “a distraction” from the real issue of piracy.
The article caused quite a stir, even evoking a response from Google in the form of a comment to Business Insider about their investment in copyright tools for content owners and their partnerships and distribution deals with the creative communities.
TorrentFreak noted the highly-publicized leak of Gladstein’s The Hateful Eight, which led to more than a million illegal downloads before its theatrical debut. Gladstein is understandably angered by the ease with which audiences can use Google to find these illegal downloads – and those of countless other full movies, TV shows, and songs. His frustrations were amplified by Google’s recent announcement that they will be defending a handful of Fair Use cases.
As Richard made abundantly clear in his op-ed, Fair Use is a good and important principle, but he thinks Google should be at least equally concerned with the illegal results it provides when people search for movies, TV shows, and songs – a concern he raised at the recent Copyright Listening Sessions at UCLA.
We got a lot of activity on our Facebook page (we hope you’ve already “Liked” the article!), including some spirited debate on the issues Richard raised. Unfortunately, some of his critics didn’t seem to have read the article carefully (or at all). Some suggested that Gladstein was attempting to conflate Fair Use and the piracy issue.
So, just to clear the air, here’s a direct quote from Gladstein’s original:
Our industry is facing a content theft epidemic regarding the viewing and downloading of content in its entirety. Such activity results in financial losses to many hard-working crewmembers, actors, and other professionals as they receive less of their rightful share of residuals that fund their pension, health, and welfare benefits. Distributors and financiers also receive less than their rightful share of revenue. This causes fewer and fewer films to be made each year.
That Google is choosing to focus their considerable resources on defending only one kind of creative – those who rely on Fair Use to turn existing works into something new – is disappointing and distracting. At CreativeFuture, we respect all creatives and believe Google should, too.