THE BLOG
01/14/2009 03:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Pirates - Why They're Winning


Whether you're a Sovereign nation or a movie producer, you got big pirate problems, don't you? If you're Ukraine, your arms and weapons cargos are being taken over by aggressive Somalis and held for ransom, which you generally pay. You making any head-way with this problem? Not much, huh?

Warner Bros. You, and your fellow movie makers, have lost billions over the years trying to protect property from being illegally copied and sold on the cheap - worldwide. And, you've spent millions through the Motion Picture Association of America to find and prosecute the bad guys. How you doing? With this sour money pickle we're in, there's probably more of this going on, right?

Fundamentally, you nations and movie makers have a PR issue. if you can't muster enough public support to dig yourself out of the deep, money sucking hole you're in, you're not going to make major head-way. Consider the word you use to describe these criminals - PIRATES. If you subscribe to the theory that perception is reality, calling them pirates is probably the wrong choice. PIRATES conjure up colorful images of Captain Morgan, Jean Lafitte, Errol Flynn, Gene Kelly, Gina Davis, Johnny Depp and those jolly buccaneers who populate Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean. Pirates often steal from the rich and give to the poor. Notice the irony here? You movie makers actually created these popular, heroic images that you're trying to portray as serious villains. Tough sell.

Nations, movie makers - get your PR folks to come up with aggressive new campaigns that tag these mopes with the right words and images. Think what you could do with concepts like hijackers, thieves, crooks, robbers, felons, stealers, or just plain thugs. 'Thugs' is good. Sleazy guys with stubble beards plundering helpless old ladies. This is an opportunity for public-private partnerships between sovereign nations who send arms and weapons in ships and movie makers who ship Harry Potter and Jackass II in DVD boxes. If you're looking for success in this struggle, consider dropping the Johnny Depp-Captain Jack Sparrow image. Now, the Javier Bardem figure from "No Place for Old Men" - that might scare up some support.