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Angry Birds boss: piracy isn't always a bad thing

"Stop treating customers as users, start treating them as fans."

Piracy isn't always bad for business and can help grow an entertainment brand, so argues the boss of Angry Birds developer Rovio.

As reported by The Guardian, Mikael Hed told an audience at the Midem conference in Cannes earlier today that the entertainment industry needs to change the way it looks at consumers.

"We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy," he explained.

"We took something from the music industry, which was to stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have.

"If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow."

He added that taking legal action against those who've illegally downloaded the game is "futile" and only serves to alienate thousands of potential "fans" who might help build the brand and contribute to the bottom line further down the road.

"Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day," he said.

Hed did make an exception for any form of piracy that damages the IP's image or might rip-off legitimate customers, such as counterfeit merchandise.

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