WME's Ari Emanuel Calls for Hollywood, Silicon Valley to Come Together Over Piracy

Ari Emanuel Headshot Basketball Game - P 2012
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Ari Emanuel Headshot Basketball Game - P 2012

William Morris Endeavor co-CEO Ari Emanuel wants Hollywood to hug it out with Google over piracy. The superagent has issued a lengthy statement urging entertainment and technology executives to "get in a room with all parties to figure" out the issue of content theft.

The move comes in response to comments by Google advertising executive Susan Wojcicki that referred to Emanuel as "misinformed" in his opinion that the web giant isn't doing enough to help Hollywood combat piracy.

Here's Emanuel's statement:

I am misinformed about a lot -- just ask my wife -- but I’m not misinformed about this: One of our last remaining dominant American exports is our creativity, no matter how you define it, either as a story or as an algorithm. There is equal genius behind companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google as there is behind artists who create stories that resonate around the world. We need to protect America’s intellectual property, and Hollywood can’t do it on its own. I understand that the onus is not entirely Google’s, but let’s stop talking at each other and get in a room with all parties to figure this out. To be clear, I don’t want to rehash SOPA, as we can all agree that was a reflection of Southern California’s arrogance, and let’s also not pretend that we’re working together on this issue because we have YouTube channels together. This is a larger conversation. It’s time for Hollywood, our government and Silicon Valley to step up and collectively resolve this problem. Let me know where and when, and I’ll be there.

Speaking at the AllThingsD-organized D10 conference this week, Emanuel criticized Google over piracy, saying, "We need Northern California to figure out how to keep our intellectual property from being stolen." Emanuel called on Google to filter out international piracy to help cut down on content theft, arguing that the company also blocks child pornography.

“I think he was misinformed, very misinformed,” Wojcicki responded Thursday at the D10 conference. “We do not want to be building a business based on piracy.”

While child pornography is easily spotted, “When I see content, I don’t know if you own the copyright," she said.

Google funneled $30 million into the creation of a system to monitor YouTube content for copyright violations, and the company removes 1 million-plus URLs each month, Wojcicki said, noting Emanuel's collaboration with YouTube on launching channels for celebrities like Tyler Perry.

“This is not a technical problem, this is much more of a business issue," she said.


Twitter: @THRMattBelloni