I mean "avatar" as a pun on the movie title and the word as meaning incarnation. It stems from this article (Marguerite Reardon, CNET) talking about Avatar director James Cameron's take on film piracy.
In a few words: he gets it.
He gets that to actually be successful in the marketplace, one must innovate; profits are not one's birthright. Where was all the fuss about the plethora of tech companies failing early last decade? Yet when filmmakers see their products being pirated, they put ever-more restrictions on the media which are ever-quicker bypassed in a vicious cycle both for the filmmakers and for the purchasers of unpirated copies. They also claim to be "victims", though the vast majority of data (not coming from the MPAA) shows that film companies are making ever-increasing profits through...theater ticket sales. I also talk about this in an earlier post.
Somehow, film companies aren't getting the fact that theater viewing is making a comeback. James Cameron understands that DVD sales are a venue for advertising, while the theater sales are the real deal.
He understands that the way to combat piracy is not to be restrictive, threatening, or litigious; rather, the way to combat piracy (and this is true of any medium - books, music, etc.) is to make acquisition of legitimate copies easier and more compelling than acquisition of pirated copies. Hence, he made the movie Avatar with 3-D graphics, which is only available in theaters; now, to see all the cool effects, people must go to theaters - watching it on DVD or on the computer is only half the experience (because as far as I know, once the effects are removed, the plot itself is a really poorly written soap opera).
A part of me goes against the notion that movies must resort to gimmicks like 3-D viewing as compelling reasons for people to attend cinema showings (as opposed to buying or pirating the DVD) - the movie has got to have substance behind all the show. That said, the movie makers are creative enough to think of some appropriate way to make their movie seem better in the theaters than on DVD (legal or pirated) - otherwise their movies wouldn't do well in terms of sales in the first place.
I understand that it is hard work for people to make a movie, and that this goes to waste when movies are pirated; what this means, though, is that movie makers need to work a little bit harder in terms of finding new ways to make cinema viewings worth people's money. By the time 3-D technology hits mainstream TVs and computers, James Cameron and other directors should be able to think of even more innovative ways to capture people's attention.