At the Associations Now blog, Ernie Smith recently wrote about wheretowatch.org, a new website developed and marketed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). As Smith notes in his lead:
After spending years focusing on fighting the sources of video piracy, the MPAA is trying something new: publicizing consumers’ legal avenues to view their desired content.
This is a smart move. Consumers want choice, and a healthy number of legitimate viewing alternatives are available.
While the website may have been motivated by the strong collective response that led Congress to suspend consideration of SOPA and PIPA, it's a productive way for an industry association to respond to a shifting marketplace. The association can direct consumers to a variety of services offered by its members (and maybe even some offered by non-members).
It remains to be seen if this is a change of heart for the movie industry. A quick check of Google's transparency report showed that last month, Fox, NBC Universal and Walt Disney asked the company to remove a combined 1,146,173 URLs across 7,686 domains. It may be hard to convince companies issuing millions of takedown orders a month that innovation is a better strategy.