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Gates: Hesitate and lose

The risk of piracy remains a major impediment to media companies' exploiting
the growing deployment of broadband services, industry chieftains said.

Speaking at the opening general session of the National Show in Chicago,
Viacom Inc. president Mel Karmazin said he fears that wider digital distribution of
Paramount Pictures movies will mean that they will start showing up on file-sharing services
like Kazaa.

"We would like to make our content more available in a digital world, but we
want to be secure," Karmazin said.

Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates warned that if movie and TV companies hesitate
too long, they risk the kind of damage sustained by record companies.

Rather than exploiting Internet technology, the music industry largely
refused to cooperate with online services and has watched techies come up with
innovative ways to distribute millions of pirated songs free-of-charge.

"The music case is a very cautionary case," Gates said, adding, "I would
say they regret not giving more flexibility early on."