Bob Pisano takes piracy message to Venice

Participates in festival panel with authors, producers groups

VENICE -- The model for fighting illegal file-sharing of films in Italy will likely be based on an agreement with ISPs, MPAA president Robert Pisano said Tuesday in Venice.

Pisano was here to participate in a panel in which the heads of several Italy-based authors and film producer groups lamented the growing problem of piracy that threatens the traditional business model for film.

Pisano said in an interview that the best strategy to confront the issue is for Internet companies to create incentives for using legal means to download files protected by copyright law.

Pisano said that, while there are scores of legal sites that allow users to buy or rent movies, illegal file-sharing remains rife because there are so few obstacles to its use. That's where he hopes Internet companies will replace the carrot with the stick.

"Maybe the first couple of times they get a warning e-mail, then perhaps the speed on their account is reduced, and if they keep doing it then maybe their account is closed," Pisano said. "But our goal is not to punish anyone, but rather to give them a reason to do the same downloading, but through legal channels."

The process is just starting in Italy, but it has the support of the Italian government. Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi was in Venice two days after the panel, and he called the fight against the piracy of films, music and software "a priority."

Gaetano Blandini, the ministry's top film sector official, said the government is studying methods of combating the problem.