Redstone pickets pirates

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Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone says strikers and management share a common foe: digital pirates.

The impact of digital technologies on content is "a hot topic in the current debate we see playing out on the sidewalks of Los Angeles and New York between the writers and producers of content," Redstone said in remarks prepared for a Tuesday address before a Boston University alum group. The Hollywood Reporter was given a copy of the speech to be delivered at a theater on the Paramount lot in Hollywood.

"Everyone seems transfixed by the riches (that digital platforms) promise," Redstone said. "The opportunities are certainly out there, but so too are the challenges -- challenges that I submit are far more imminent."

The Viacom topper went on to say that pirates imperil digital revenue streams.

"If this sort of theft is allowed to continue unabated, the incentive to make blockbuster movies disappears," Redstone said. "If studios aren't making big movies, screenwriters aren't collecting big paychecks. Fewer scripts are submitted ... and there are a lot of people out of work."

He also renewed a recent mantra that copyright is more important in the digital age than ever. "The bright side -- the potential for new revenue streams -- can be realized through collaboration with and between the artists and consumers of content," Redstone added.

Redstone also touted the need for an efficient market for creative content, "one that compensates the artist and gratifies the consumer at a price point that is reasonable and acceptable to both."
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