Disney CEO claims creative works will suffer

NEW YORK — Using alluring images from Disney’s upcoming “Dinosaur,” Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner lashed out Tuesday at “Internet thieves and pirates” attempting to steal intellectual properties — including films and copyrighted images — through the Web.

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“This film represents the flesh and bones — or in this case, scales and bones — of that highfalutin’ legalistic term, intellectual property,” he told nearly 1,000 attendees at the Big Picture conference in his keynote address.

“And it’s all put in jeopardy by an old-fashioned everyday term — piracy. — Theft is theft, whether it is enabled by a handgun or a computer keyboard.”

Eisner used the speech to get in a jab at one other studio when he showed footage from the original 1954 “Godzilla,” but complained that the 1993 “Jurassic Park” was not made available to him by lawyers.

Free for all?

He took a hard line on Internet pirates’ assertions that material should be free and available to all.

“These Internet pirates try to hide behind some contrived New Age arguments about the Internet, but all they are really doing is trying to make a case for age-old thievery. When they hack a DVD and then distribute it on the Web, it is no different than if someone puts a quarter in a newspaper machine and then takes out all the papers, which of course, would be illegal and morally wrong.”

With a series of animated pictures, Eisner explained the painstaking four-year process Disney animators went through on “Dinosaur” and how the entire DVD could conceivably be downloaded onto a single disc by anyone over the ‘Net.

He also warned of the consequences.

Rewards needed

“If this reward is allowed to be pirated away,” he said, “then the creative risk-takers will put their energies elsewhere, and the Internet will become a wonderful delivery system with nothing to deliver.”luv u too

Eisner laid out a five-point plan to combat Internet piracy, beginning with an alliance with the federal government aimed at defending the right to keep owned intellectual property from being stolen. He argued against Congress mandating a compulsory license of product for redistribution on the ‘Net.

Second, Eisner wanted to make sure efforts to control the Internet would be international. “The issues involving it cannot be viewed with a myopic American eye,” he said.

Eisner also pointed to education, technological and economic solutions that would help combat piracy.

Fair prices

“History has shown that one of the best deterrents to pirated product is providing legitimate product at appropriate prices,” he said. “In the music industry, we have already seen that people will gladly pay fair prices for legally produced product even when it can be easily reproduced and unlawful copies can be easily acquired.”

Finally, Eisner denounced critics such as high-tech guru Esther Dyson, who are speaking out against traditional copyright pro-tection on the Web.

“I must say I find this assertion interesting, since at the bottom of Ms. Dyson’s newsletter, one can clearly read that it is copyrighted — and as her subscribers can attest, her newsletter is most certainly not free.”

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