There’s been an interesting tidbit floating around the internet over the last 24 hours that stems from a talk Rovio CEO Mikael Hed gave at the Midem conference in Cannes. When discussing piracy, Hed took a stance you don’t often hear from his side of the industry; “Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day.”

It may sound like a strange thought, but ultimately it makes a lot of sense. When enacted at the consumer level, piracy introduces your product to people who otherwise would never have considered purchasing it. If the product is good, you’ve created a fan. And that’s sort of how Rovio is looking at it. “Stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have,” says Hed. “If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow.”

On the commercial side of piracy, where you see dozens of Angry Birds plush knock-offs on street corners or cheap Taiwanese knock-offs of the Angry Birds board game at flea markets? Well that’s just free publicity. Anything that get the name out there. As such, they tend to not pursue legal action unless they view a product as being truly detrimental to the brand.

It’s a unique point of view, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s one that other developers out there share as well. After all, indie devs that embrace DRM-free distribution have to know that they’re titles are being passed around like mustard at a barbecue. But in the end, if a game gets in more hands and builds a bigger fan base as a result, isn’t it all worth it?

[via The Guardian]