A highly unusual and somewhat controversial statement was recently made by the developers of Angry Birds, and apparently, they are learning from the mistakes the music industry has made while fighting piracy. Rovio CEO Mikael Hed said during the Medim conference this week,
Hed went on to explain that he believes it is futile to fight individual pirates in the courts except when Rovio feels the false products they are selling are harmful to the Angry Birds brand, or are ripping off its fans. He further elaborated, "We took something from the music industry, which was to stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have. If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow."“We have some issues with piracy, not only in apps, but also especially in the consumer products. There is tons and tons of merchandise out there, especially in Asia, which is not officially licensed products. We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy. Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day."
It's refreshing to see a developer take a more educated and out-of-the-box perspective on the issues of piracy. Instead of getting hostile and suing random individuals for piracy, which amounts to plugging up the damn with your finger, Rovio looks at the bigger picture and only gets involved if it threatens users of the game or harms the Angry Birds brand. It seems that they almost see minor sharing-style piracy as free advertising for their product, and instead try to develop relationships with their customer-base in order to instill loyalty. This enures that most people will be happy to pay for their product instead of keeping it for free. Perhaps the movie and music industry could stand to learn a thing or two from this perspective. Folks at the MPAA and the RIAA have to be squirming in their seats about now.
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