Diller, Emanuel Smackdown

Barry Diller and Ari Emanuel squared off May 4 – but the ex-Live Nation chairman and the current director, respectively, weren’t talking concerts.

They shared a closing panel at the Milken Global Institute Conference in Los Angeles, taking opposing positions on the question of piracy and its effects on the entertainment industry, according to Hollywood biz blog The Wrap.

Diller, ex of Live Nation but still chairman of IAC and Expedia, dismissed piracy as a marginal issue when compared with Netflix and other forms of digital distribution. Piracy “is going to happen,” The Wrap quoted Diller as saying. “They’re making films available for streaming. As we go, you will see more distribution digitally. Piracy is a risk, but it’s small.”

Emanuel, the Live Nation director and William Morris Endeavor chairman, begged to differ.

“You can’t say piracy is not an issue,” Emanuel said. “I don’t believe it’s going away, it’s a big issue. The government has to get involved.”

Diller claimed the music industry “has been figuring it out,” and called piracy “the cost of doing business.”

Netflix, said Diller, is the real threat to Hollywood business-as-usual.

“They are not friends. They are not the frenemy. They are the enemy, without question,” he said.