This article analyzes the effectiveness of the public relation strategies of the MPAA and the RIAA in dealing with piracy. The RIAA's public relation strategy is to use aggressive legal actions while minimizing negative publicity. Because no anti-piracy campaign was in place early on, it has been harder for the music industry to recover. Piracy was rampant early on because the pay download sites could not compete with prolific free download sites. RIAA in turn relied on their legal strategy to target P2P networks, such as Napster, to cut off the source. Although successful initially, with loses to Grokster and Morpheus, the RIAA turned to the users. This received a huge backlash since the industry was attacking its own consumers. In one case where they sued a 12 year-old girl, they later used her in an advertisement for iTunes to spin the negative publicity and promote legal downloading simultaneously. In essence, the RIAA publicizes major lawsuits in order to scare other potential offenders. Most of the minor cases are settled out of court and the offenders receive little punishment as long as they agree to stop illegally downloading music.
Unlike the RIAA, the MPAA has taken an educational approach to stopping piracy. By educating consumers through "consumer awareness" advertisements that play in movie theaters and on television and appeal to audience's conscious and emotions. The ads depict employees of the film industry in fear of losing their jobs due to piracy. Ads also target the youth to educate them of such illegalities at a young age. Rather than rely on lawsuits, the movie industry is looking to provide better protection and legal alternatives to piracy. Current intiatives include digital watermarking and legal download sites such as Movielink.com.
The article goes on to explain the media's involvement in portraying news. Through agenda setting and framing the media influences how the public perceives issues. By comparing the press releases for the public relations agenda and the individual news stories for the media's agenda, the author conducts an analysis based on a two-year time span. The results showed the RIAA mentioned legal action far more than the MPAA in their press releases and the MPAA focused more on the harm caused from illegal downloading.
This study is fascinating because it compares two major industries reacting to a similar problem, online piracy. The data is significant for my paper because it displays how the movie industry is using the media to combat piracy, in addition to legal and digital means.