Somewhere, a RIAA supporter is crying right now. Rovio, the mobile developer behind the wildly popular Angry Birds game has talked a bit about piracy at the Medim conference this week.
Rather than get aggressive and sue people like the RIAA did; Rovio is taking a much more laid-back and much more intelligent path to dealing with piracy. The policy is do nothing unless it hurts users of the game or clearly hurts the Angry Birds brand.
Rovio admits it has some issues with piracy and the Angry Birds brand, particularly in Asia were unlicensed merchandise is rampant. However, Rovio CEO Mikael Hed says that piracy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Hed says the piracy can be a good thing and help bring in more business for the brand. “We have some issues with piracy, not only in apps, but also especially in the consumer products. There is tons and tons of merchandise out there, especially in Asia, which is not officially licensed products,” said Hed. “We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy.”
Rovio says it’s futile to pursue pirates in the courts and it will only do so when it feels that the products are being sold are harmful to the Angry Birds brand, or are detrimental to fans. The crux of the argument seems to be that Rovio doesn’t want to be viewed as a bad guy by fans, which is how the music industry is viewed when it comes to rampant suits of people with tenuous ties to pirating music. Good on you Rovio, I hope that the music industry and other firms that deal with piracy take this path.
“Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day,” Mikael Hed, Rovio CEO.