Private CEO: Steal Our Content ... Please!

BARCELONA—Berth Milton, the newly reinstated chief executive of Private Media Group, did a video interview with NewTeeVee last week during which he expressed his wish that more people would steal Private content. He wasn't being coy.

“We will be extremely happy the more people are pirating our content and the more they look at it,” Milton told interviewer Janko Roettgers. He was talking about inevitabilities and the fact that things are tipping, have tipped.

The downside, he said, is that "the easy ways of getting revenue will disappear in the short term”; the upside, he said, and the long term view, is that “there have never been so many people watching adult content.”

Roettgers asked if that mean that piracy will now be used for promotional purposes.

“It will become promotion,” Milton answered, steering the conversation to the music industry—also under siege to content theft—which managed in relatively short order to turn itself around. “They are the first ones to recover. All the big bands are on tour. Sting had to extend his tour for another six months because the demand was just enormous.”

In that case, would Private still continue to fight piracy?

“We will not fight it that hard anymore," said Milton. "I think it’s a lost battle. I look at my own kids, because that’s the best way to know where the market is going. It doesn’t matter if I tell them that it is illegal to download. As soon as they close the door to their room, they download. It’s a new world and we have to accept it. I think in six months or something like that, we will be extremely happy the more people are pirating our content, because we will have our own little club where people will pay for exclusivity.

“Private,” he added, “will be a lifestyle in the future, more than something you look at on the Web. You shouldn’t only look at it; you should be able to be part of it; that’s the transition we’re going to do with Private.”

In somewhat related news, Fraserside Holdings, a Private Media Group company, filed a lawsuit last week against Meta Interfaces—a San Francisco-based company that runs the popular website—alleging copyright and trademark infringement based on a 2009 licensing agreement gone allegedly wrong.

“Fraserside is claiming that Meta Interfaces has committed unlawful acts of copyright infringement of its movie titles and trademark infringement of its world famous Private brand in more than 250 instances. Fraserside is seeking maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement,” the company said in a press release issued Wednesday.

The release also quotes Vice-President Joe Biden, who said in June, "Piracy is theft. Clean and simple. It's smash-and-grab. No different than smashing the window of Tiffany's and grabbing what's in the window. Intellectual property is no different."

Milton is quoted as being in complete accord with Biden on the issue.

“We agree with U.S. Vice President Biden: Piracy is theft,” he said. “Private has been producing and distributing high quality adult entertainment to adults for over 40 years. Similar to the music industry which successfully went after sites like Napster for unlawful copyright infringement, we are targeting companies, such as Meta Interfaces, that have allowed anyone with an Internet connection to view Private movies for free while also realizing substantial financial profits by doing so. We are going to set a new benchmark for zero tolerance in the adult industry among companies looking to commit these criminal acts."

The Fraserside v. Meta Interfaces complaint can be read here.