Paramount (s VIA) COO Frederick Huntsberry told the audience of the Cinema Expo in Amsterdam this week that P2P file sharing isn’t the biggest threat for Hollywood anymore. Instead of downloading movies via The Pirate Bay and other P2P sites, users simply go to one-click hoster sites (or cyberlockers, as Huntsberry likes to call them) like Megaupload to get their latest blockbuster fix. The Hollywood Reporter quoted Huntsberry with the following assessment: “Cyberlockers now represent the preferred method by which consumers are enjoying pirated content.”
Of course, such a shift of consumer behavior also has implications on the fight against piracy. The music industry used to focus a long time on suing individual file sharers, and Hollywood has been hunting down uploaders and movie release groups as well as fighting against P2P site administrators. Entertainment industry executives have in the past also pressed for so-called three strikes graduate response programs, which would force ISPs to disconnect file sharers from the Internet after three offenses, but Huntsberry seems to believe now that this won’t really stop movie piracy.
German movie industry magazine Blickpunkt Film reports (subscription required) that Huntsberry called such measures ineffective, pointing out that there’s simply no way to identify individual infringers who download movies from sites like Megaupload. He suggested ISPs should simply block these sites completely, and lawmakers should amend copyright laws to make such measures mandatory. There was simply no alternative to blocking websites to fight copyright infringement in light of the growing popularity of one-click-hosters, Huntsberry said.
The Paramount COO also blamed advertising agencies and major brands for supporting these types of sites, which sometimes show ads for companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken (s YUM) and Netflix (s NFLX). He estimated that Megaupload alone could make anywhere from €25 million to €215 million ($30 million to $260 million) through ads and subscription fees.
Related content on GigaOm Pro: The Quest to Monetize File Sharing (subscription required)