Harvey Weinstein Blasts Google For ‘Stealing Content’

Harvey Weinstein took off the gloves and blasted Google for “stealing content” at a Creativity Conference in Washington, The Wrap reported on Friday.

According to the website, Weinstein warned that the failure to compensate performers and content providers for YouTube videos would result in a community of “starving artists.”

“Look at Chicago. If you go to YouTube, you can download nine songs. There are 13 songs in the entire movie, pretty much 70 or 80 minutes of it. Nobody is getting paid for that. Neither Rob Marshall who directed, me, nor the studio. Nothing,” Weinstein said.

(According to The Richest, Weinstein is currently starving to the tune of a $150 million net worth.)

“It’s a very creative business plan: Use somebody else’s content for free. Deliver it. Don’t pay them for anything. And build a $500 billion Silicon Valley company and be very, very rich,” Weinstein said. “And then have these slogans like, ‘We just want to help the world.'”

(Google’s slogan is “do no evil.”)

Weinstein was also angry about the state of new media, adding, “As we see magazines erode, as we see journalism destroyed, as we see newspapers destroyed, we see their houses get bigger, their planes get bigger and bigger and bigger.”

And here, Harvey Weinstein wasn’t talking about just Google: “They are all like this. They are all not paying for content … They are all stealing it under the guise of, ‘We are all hippies,’ but hippies don’t have $22 billion valuations.”

Weinstein’s comments forged a different path than HBO programming president Michael Lombardo, who earlier this month told Entertainment Weekly that Game of Thrones, the most illegally downloaded program of 2012, did not experience a negative impact in DVD sales as a result of tormenting.

Lombardo even told EW it was “a compliment of sorts.”

For more on YouTube piracy claims, check here:

No one asked Weinstein about the common practice of “Hollywood accounting” that essentially turns films as profitable as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix into $167 million losers. The Potter film earned $938 million in revenue on a budget of $150 million, yet Warner Brothers tried to project it at a loss.

Essentially under “Hollywood accounting,” cast, crew, marketing, and anyone else associated with the production outside of the studio itself is screwed out of money even when a film rakes in record profits, no doubt resulting in more than a few “starving artists.” Studios usually set up a corporation for each film and then slap the company with a hefty fee (to be paid to the studio), resulting in a loss.

In other words, they’re paying themselves and then saying they lost money to avoid paying back-end royalties.

(To learn how Warner Brothers went about it, check the full info at TechDirt.)

Meanwhile, a recent study found that piracy can actually help independent films gain exposure.

What do you think? Does Harvey Weinstein have a point, or should artists and studios be more worried about obscurity than the possibility of someone “stealing content”?

[Image via Featureflash / Shutterstock.com]