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More background revealed about made up piracy figures

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 08 Oct 2008 23:54 User comments (23)

More background revealed about made up piracy figures Yesterday we told you about a letter from the US Chamber of Commerce to President Bush in an effort to convince him to sign the annual attempt at draconian intellectual property enforcement legislation. The centerpiece of their argument to the President is a pair of oft-cited statistics claiming piracy has cost the US 750,000 jobs, as well as annual financial losses of $250 billion.
Now Ars Technica has published an interesting article that sheds a significant amount of light on the actual source of those figures and the closer you look, the less credible they look. That's not surprising considering $250 billion is more than the combined US revenue of the music, movie, and software industries. It's more than a little difficult to believe they're losing more than they're making.

A look at the sordid history of these numbers reveals just how useless they really are. To begin with they appear to have been extrapolated from the results of a survey compiled in the 1980s. The survey was conducted on a small sample of US businesses, with the resulting numbers then multiplied into an estimate of worldwide losses not from piracy, but from the IP laws in many countries, which are far less restrictive than in the US.

And even its authors apparently didn't have much faith in their figures, noting that they "could admittedly be biased and self-serving." Not exactly a glowing recommendation to take it seriously two decades later.

Although this doesn't bring us any closer to real figures, it does reveal something that may be more important. If there is any real evidence compiled since this study it's less compelling. Otherwise we wouldn't keep hearing the same old story.

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23 user comments

19.10.2008 0:32
miltex
Inactive

No hard facts, just plain spin

29.10.2008 1:15

Who didn't see something like this coming?

39.10.2008 4:14

So what, it's downloading the odd song that has caused financial meltdown, not the greedy bankers? LOL!

49.10.2008 4:34
miltex
Inactive

Originally posted by Evastar:
So what, it's downloading the odd song that has caused financial meltdown, not the greedy bankers? LOL!

not greedy bankers ? :(

When the chips are down, you can count on miltex !


59.10.2008 7:31

Those figures always sounded bogus, in my opinion.

69.10.2008 10:28

i also love how whenever someone makes these claims, no one fails to recognize some of the businesses that benefit. People are spending increased amount of money now for faster internet speeds and more bandwidth. How about more money on better computers and increased hard disk space, or even external hard drives.

And most importantly, the advent of portable mp3 player. No one has cashed in as much on this as much as Apple and the Ipod. But nearly every company has their version (Zune, iRiver, others I'm too lazy to look up). So while I'm not claiming piracy is beneficial to the economy and creates more jobs, I'm suggesting that whatever numbers are put out, they almost never account for the few benefits which could significantly skew the numbers.

79.10.2008 10:37

Originally posted by miltex:
No hard facts, just plain spin
Actually, the government article cites more evidence than the article written about it. So, yes. Just plain spin (if you're referring to the article.) Argue the data, sure. At least they did *some* amount of homework, even if it may not be accurate. That's better than inaccurate an no data to back it up. Had there been real, concrete evidence to show the data was wrong, it would have been a much more credible piece.

Otherwise, it's the same old, tired talking points vs. anti-piracy efforts. Opinion vs opinion with no facts is an endless, pointless debate.

89.10.2008 10:54

They made that stuff up? Naw..........

How many jobs did piracy actually create though?

In programing (anti-piracy crap), enforcement, hardware and more. There is an entire industry that owes it's life to piracy.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Oct 2008 @ 10:57

99.10.2008 12:14

Quote:
Originally posted by miltex:
No hard facts, just plain spin
Actually, the government article cites more evidence than the article written about it. So, yes. Just plain spin (if you're referring to the article.) Argue the data, sure. At least they did *some* amount of homework, even if it may not be accurate. That's better than inaccurate an no data to back it up. Had there been real, concrete evidence to show the data was wrong, it would have been a much more credible piece.
So better to talk out of one's a$$ than to say nothing at all? If the data is inaccurate, then it shouldn't be used. Based on this article, the data is ridiculously innacurate. You're right in that both sides need to stop arguing with opinions. But the only reason why "piracy advocates" even state their opinion is because of over-the-top claims like this. Would you believe anyone who said that something you were doing was evil, without questioning or understanding why?

This will continue until some third party steps up to the plate and conducts a real study. It's good to finally know something about their statistics. The impact of "piracy" on the economy may be huge or negligible. That gap is large enough to require some substantial fact finding before any accusations are made. Unfortunately, wild numbers from left field are being presented as fact, and there is nothing out there to counter it except polar opposite opinions.

109.10.2008 14:30

Not to mention the dirty little secret of video card manufacturers..that they benefit from increased piracy. Pirates end up blowing their money on a 200 dollar video card and barely have 20 bucks for games. When you get that shiny new card from newegg and pop it in the PC..first thing youll do is head for the torrents.

119.10.2008 17:59

Haha, that survey is from the 1980's,
In the 1980's I was pirating games for my amiga 500, and I don't think there was internet - there was only lan just coming around then.

129.10.2008 18:58

They want real figures go to every "pirates" home and ask them how much would be spent on music, movies etc. The true figures would be so much lower since very few "pirates" had buying the products on their minds to begin with. Products are downloaded to see one time, listen to something heard on the radio, not something the "pirates" care about owning.

139.10.2008 19:08

Originally posted by sssharp:
They want real figures go to every "pirates" home and ask them how much would be spent on music, movies etc. The true figures would be so much lower since very few "pirates" had buying the products on their minds to begin with. Products are downloaded to see one time, listen to something heard on the radio, not something the "pirates" care about owning.

Too true, the feds have obviously never seen my collection of DVD's. XP

149.10.2008 19:30
tavek
Inactive

That reminds me of that accountant Lau from Batman Dark knight always repeatedly Im good with calculations.

We heare numbers left & right, economy this economy that.

I got a way we can all settle this.
TYLER DERDON, wipe out all the credit building and we all go to zero, start over from scratch!

159.10.2008 19:44

Quote:
TYLER DERDON, wipe out all the credit building and we all go to zero, start over from scratch!
Tyler DURDEN is the correct spelling. Not to mention he was a figment of someone else's imagination.

The whole thing is barely plausible. Did you know the 68.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot? Or is it 82.6%. Seems I have forgotten.

1610.10.2008 7:54

Well, maybe he ought top sign the bill. In that way he could piss away more taxpayers money to make more crooks wealthy. He just signed off 750 billion right into the crooks hands. The biggest problem with the bailout is there is no punisnment. All that did was condone making bad loans cause the US will pay off the bad loans.

1710.10.2008 12:08

Originally posted by Mez:
Well, maybe he ought top sign the bill. In that way he could piss away more taxpayers money to make more crooks wealthy. He just signed off 750 billion right into the crooks hands. The biggest problem with the bailout is there is no punisnment. All that did was condone making bad loans cause the US will pay off the bad loans.
And they laugh all the way to the bank. Just like the AIG Executives did after they received their bailout, $400,000 of which paid for their executive spa retreat. I either read or heard somewhere that another one may be planned in the near future.

1810.10.2008 13:05

I think, maybe we need a Pirate bailout.
Congress can set asside $500Bil to purchase a bunch of Hard Drives that can be given away to people in order to store more music and movies.
I mean, paying $80 every other month for another Half Terrabyte to store more movies is getting a bit pricey in today's economy.

It's our turn for a bailout.

1910.10.2008 13:47

That's a great idea! LOL!

2010.10.2008 13:59
varnull
Inactive

Why don't we write to McCain putting out the real numbers and exposing the lie for what it is.... There's no way will the rednecks vote for an ethnic minority. Them "democrats" haven't learned yet...

When was the last time they asked YOU for YOUR opinion.. unless it was a spiel election to line the pockets of more fat cats?.... 1973 here...

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Oct 2008 @ 14:02

2110.10.2008 14:00

Aye maties!
They ought to send a frigate up the Potomac flying the Jolly Roger!

$400,000 could by a lot of hard disk space.

2210.10.2008 14:03
varnull
Inactive

Bet it would fit between ol' GW's ears.. or up his.....

BTW.. The world is shittin it at the prospect os a US president with a brain and some common sense. All tyem vested interests and all that conspiracy stands to be exposed.. lets get into the heads of the candidates before they get bought off. (some chance admittedly.. but worth a go.. things have changed in the last 8 years)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Oct 2008 @ 14:07

2315.10.2008 0:05
southrb
Inactive

And it proves again that figures don't lie, but liars sure can figure.

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