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Lucas identifies piracy as the single biggest threat to the film industry



Story by: Jack Foley

STAR Wars creator, George Lucas, has identified piracy as the single biggest threat to the film industry and predicted bleak times ahead.

Speaking at the London press conference for the final film in the six-part movie saga, The Revenge of the Sith, Lucas said he was glad to be 'getting out' while he still can, 'because it's not going to be the same in the next few years'.

When asked how much worse he thought the situation might get, the director said he doesn't know how the industry will survive.

"It's going to be very worse. If it wasn't for DVD, there'd be no theatrical film industry, and as DVD gets widdled away with piracy, there won't be any income, so you're going to see smaller and smaller and smaller movies and eventually something else will take its place.

"I'm not sure what that will be, whether it'll be straight to video, but people will always want the theatrical experience, just like they go to the opera or the ballet.

"People will still go to movie theatres just because they want the social interaction with other people but I have a feeling that films will be released on the Internet and in theatres at exactly the same time; there will be some kind of coded pay-per-view methodology, which is the only way to stop piracy if they're selling it on the street for $2.

"In some countries obviously now it's free and that's going to be an issue. At some point the international courts are going to have to go along and decide what they want to do with copyright because it doesn't just affect the film industry, it affects the computer industry, video games, everything."

Lucas also predicted that film marketing would get worse because of the problems caused by piracy, as companies seek to maximise the money-making potential of big releases.

Replying to concerns that Star Wars was being marketed on brands such as Pepsi, as well as fast-food outlets, Lucas explained:

"Ultimately, with products like Pepsi, you have primarily the issue of sugar. They have Diet Pepsi. Is it bad for you? I don't know. I don't think it is. I grew up on that sort of thing and all it did was make me crazy.

"We've tried very hard to be careful about the products that we work with. We do have M&Ms, I love them as it turns out, so a lot has to do with what we grew up with. We have various breakfast cereals.

"But it does come down to some fast food franchises and we have cut back from what we used to.

"I know it makes it difficult for parents sometimes to control that problem, but I don't know what to say about it - it's the world of modern marketing.

"And in the world of piracy, having movies released on the Internet, it's going to get even worse because capturing the attention of the audience out there is getting harder and harder."

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