Ari Emanuel to Google: Let’s Stop Piracy Together

WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel extends an olive branch to Silicon Valley after a testy exchange about copyright filters on the internet

Last Updated: November 6, 2013 @ 10:39 AM

Ari Emanuel has extended an olive branch to Google, after a testy exchange over the search engine’s alleged reluctance to protect copyrighted material.

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The William Morris Endeavor co-CEO has reached out to Google via a statement published on All Things D, offering to work with the company and other Silicon Valley giants in order to prevent piracy.

The response comes after Emanuel was characterized as “very misinformed” about the topic of piracy on the internet by Google senior vice president of advertising, Susan Wojcicki.

Also read: Diller, Emanuel Smackdown: Piracy Is “the Cost of Doing Business”

“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,” Emanuel’s missive begins. “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.”

Emanuel goes on to suggest a meeting of the minds in order to filter copyrighted material on the internet.

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“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,” Emanuel writes, referring to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. “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.”

Emanuel’s passing of the peace pipe is an about-face for the WME boss, who earlier this week blasted Google for being lax about protecting copyrighted material while at the D10 conference.

Also read: SOPA Generates 2.4M Tweets: Who Says It Limits Online Expression?

“We need Northern California to figure out how to keep our intellectual property from being stolen,” Emanuel opined, suggesting that if Google can filter for child pornography, it should also be able to do so for copyrighted material. “If Google was in China, and their stuff was being stolen, they would leave China, right?”

Emanuel’s criticism drew a harsh rebuke from Wojcicki, who was also on hand to speak at the conference.

“I think [Emanuel] was misinformed, very misinformed,” she said. “We do not want to be building a business based on piracy.”

The Google exec noted that recognizing copyrighted material isn’t as easy as recognizing child porn: “When I see content, I don’t know if you own the copyright.”

Wojcicki added that Google had poured $30 million into the Content ID system that scours YouTube content for copyright issues.

“This is not a technical problem, this is much more of a business issue,” Wojcicki suggested.