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UPDATED: 07:56, February 22, 2006
Roundup: media convergence opens new perspective to solve piracy: scholar
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While piracy of music and movies on the Internet has caused increasing losses to the producers, scholars here hold that the entertainment industry will gain rather than lose through technology development, especially in an age of media convergence.

"Many people think digital technology is dangerous (for entertainment industry), but it's also an opportunity," Gino Yu, chairman of Hong Kong Digital Entertainment Association, told a press conference on Tuesday.

With the development of technology, boundaries of different media will become more blurred and thus open a broader market for intellectual products which traditionally are applied to one entertainment media only, the scholar told Xinhua.

Yu, an associate professor, is also director of the Digital Entertainment and Game Development Multimedia Innovation Center of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Taking computer game as an example, Yu noted how the game developers can make more money through using the same plot and characters for movie production, cartoon books, toys, music and the contents of the third-generation mobile (3G) service, besides the income through game software sales.

Even the Bit-Torrent (BT or peer-to-peer) file-sharing program used by the pirates to download film copy will be useful to make more money.

The BT program has attracted a huge number of online pirates, for it always speeds up the piracy procedure for each movie when there're more people downloading the same copy at the same time.

Though having caused a headache for authorities, the big number of people using the technology also provides a huge untapped market for advertisements and other form of intellectual products that can use the Internet as a vehicle, said Yu.

Yu also doubted the feasibility of the catch-and-sue procedure currently used to bust online piracy, given the difficulty of identifying online pirates and the fast growth of technology innovation.

"We need to change the basic business model, the traditionally production and distribution system," said the scholar, adding "the technology development is always faster than the change of law."

Yu thus urged the entertainment industry to look beyond their intellectual products but make good use of the cross media convergence to earn profits.

Using the film industry to elaborate the idea, Yu noted that the Star Wars series produced by Hollywood made billions of dollars in selling music, souvenirs and toys based on the movie, much more than the box office income.

Furthermore, Yu questioned the direction for media development. Society advancement and technology development should guarantee public access to good intellectual products, he said.

"Good intellectual products should be enjoyed by the public for free or a low cost, the same as library and museum," he told Xinhua.

The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, however, still pledged no mercy when talking about any form of piracy.

Last November, a court in Hong Kong sentenced a 38-year-old man to three months in jail for illegally uploading to the Internet three Hollywood movies using the BT program, setting the world's first record for online piracy conviction.

Source: Xinhua

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