Robert Simpson: Google vs. Hollywood: The Worst of Enemies, The Best of Friends (Potentially) (click for full article) "The battle raging between the big Hollywood film studios and the giant of Silicon Valley is probably the most pointless and futile conflict being raged in media today. The issue of illegal downloading of film, music and TV is a real problem that does indeed cost millions each year but the way forward is not through endless lawsuits against the likes of Sheffield student Richard O'Dwyer. Hollywood's reluctance to embrace the Internet as a new platform with which to showcase its product has meant illegal downloading and streaming has become the norm. The fact remains unless you provide an alternative that is simple and easy to use, you will never be able to curb the spread of illegal downloading. Even if they target the likes of TV Shack and Megaupload, alternative sites will simply spring up in their place. The genie is out the bottle and has been since the spread of broadband Internet made the process of downloading large files quick and easy. The potential of legal downloading and streaming can be seen very clearly with the way the music business has begun to adapt. iTunes and Spotify are two very successful online platforms that have provided a high quality alternative to illegal downloading. Yes, Spotify has had an awkward beginning but the signs are that many people, including myself, are signing up to their subscription service as it is a cheap, easy to use, high quality product, that is easier and simpler than going through the hassle of illegal downloading or streaming. The key for the film industry is implement an online service that has the same level of simplicity and ease of use. Yes, there are services such as Lovefilm and Netflix, but their potential is limited by the size of their catalogue and crucially the gap between cinema release and the release on DVD. In order to be a truly compelling alternative the service must offer films at the same time as their cinema release. Obviously this proposal would face stiff resistance from many elements in the film industry and from the cinema giants but the argument that people would simply stop going to the cinema is completely baseless. The cinema is a social occasion; people go there for more than just the enjoyment of watching a film, plus the lure of a giant screen and true surround sound will never be fully replicated in the home."