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Feds Question Big Media's Piracy Claims 261

Posted by kdawson
from the show-me-the-losses dept.
WrongSizeGlass writes "CNET is reporting that the GAO's study of big media's piracy claims has raised some questions. (Here are the study's summary, highlights [PDF], and full report [PDF].) 'After spending a year studying how piracy and illegal counterfeiting affects the United States, the Government Accountability Office says it still doesn't know for sure.... The GAO said that most of the published information, anecdotal evidence, and records show that piracy is a drag on the US economy, tax revenue, and in some cases potentially threatens national security and public health. But the problem is, according to the GAO, the data used to quantify piracy isn't reliable.'"
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Feds Question Big Media's Piracy Claims

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  • by odin84gk (1162545) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:00PM (#31835572)

    So... It was stolen data?

    • Re:Not reliable? (Score:5, Informative)

      by nacturation (646836) * <<nacturation> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:04PM (#31835680) Journal

      More likely the RIAA/MPAA/BSA/TLA took a sampling of total users connected to a popular torrent and compared that to the total people downloading pirated material from BitTorrent and then extrapolated that to the entire US population to show that everyone's a pirate.

      • Re:Not reliable? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:24PM (#31836112) Journal

        More likely the RIAA/MPAA/BSA/TLA took a sampling of total users connected to a popular torrent and compared that to the total people downloading pirated material from BitTorrent and then extrapolated that to the entire US population to show that everyone's a pirate.

        Sounds like the Federal "study" that was done by the NHTSA. Ever heard the claim that ~50% of all fatal crash accidents involved alcohol? Guess how they arrived at that number? They included accidents wherein passengers had alcohol in their systems, even though the drivers were completely sober.

        Lies, damn lies and statistics.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          They included accidents wherein passengers had alcohol in their systems, even though the drivers were completely sober.

          Seeing as you are discrediting this as a legit addition to the statistics, you have obviously never driven with a passenger who was whacked out of their gourd.

          • Re:Not reliable? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:37PM (#31836360) Journal

            you have obviously never driven with a passenger who was whacked out of their gourd.

            The criteria for the study was a BAC of >=0.05. I don't know what your friends are like when they drink, but mine have to drink considerably more than that to get "whacked out of their gourd".

            • by Pojut (1027544)

              For the most part, mine do as well, except for this one friend of mine...for the sake of anonymity, let's just call him "Bill". "Bill" is a hulking, massive guy...6'2", 260 pounds, 25 years of age. Has a small gut on him, but for the most part "Bill" is built like an 18-wheeler with legs.

              Three shots of whiskey, and he is wobbly. Four shots, and he can't stand. Five shots max, he passes out.

              No joke. We would make fun of him for it if we weren't afraid of being snapped in half like a toothpick.

              • by Shakrai (717556)

                The existence of such people as your friend does not justify the manipulation of statistics in the manner that I previously described.

                • by Pojut (1027544)

                  I completely agree...I just think it's hilarious that a Herculean-size friend of mine drinks like a 100 pound high school chick :-)

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by Shakrai (717556)

                    It's usually a matter of tolerance. I asked a police officer what the highest BAC he had ever seen was. He told a story about pulling someone over for a broken taillight, she wasn't driving badly and he had no indication that she was intoxicated. When he reached the car he smelled booze and went through the process. She passed all of the field sobriety checks but failed the breath test -- with a 0.61!

                    A BAC of 0.4 is the LD50 for alcohol. Most people will pass out at BACs exceeding 0.2. Yet this woman

                    • by X0563511 (793323)

                      It helps that our system has lived with selective pressure regarding alcohol for so long. We have specific enzymes etc to metabolize it.

                      (if I remember correctly)

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by ryantmer (1748734)

                    I completely agree...I just think it's hilarious that a Herculean-size friend of mine drinks like a 100 pound high school chick :-)

                    You've obviously not met today's 100 pound high school chicks :-)

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      by Pojut (1027544)

                      ...touche.

                      I keep getting older, they stay the sa- holy crap did she just kill a fifth of bourbon in one go?

              • by Shakrai (717556)

                Sorry to reply twice, but your friend would also have a fairly decent BAC after four shots of 80 proof spirits. If he did them all within an hour his BAC would be 0.068 according to this site [rupissed.com]. That's enough to get you a "driving while ability impaired" in NYS. Some people can handle it better than others though.

        • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:38PM (#31836366)

          They included accidents wherein passengers had alcohol in their systems, even though the drivers were completely sober.

          I was going to make a joke about the effects of "second-hand alcohol" on the driver, but grossed myself out thinking about it...

        • by Aladrin (926209)

          And they all involved DHMO!

          DHMO KILLS!

        • I looked at this NHTSA page [dot.gov], but didn't see such a study listed. Could you point me to the study you are talking about in particular?

        • Re:Not reliable? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:06PM (#31836936) Homepage

          They included accidents wherein passengers had alcohol in their systems, even though the drivers were completely sober.

          And regardless of which car the person who had been drinking is in.

          As in: You're stopped at a red light, passenger in your back seat had a couple drinks, and some douche talking on their cell phone rear-ends you. That counts as an alcohol-related accident.

          • by Shakrai (717556)

            As in: You're stopped at a red light, passenger in your back seat had a couple drinks, and some douche talking on their cell phone rear-ends you. That counts as an alcohol-related accident.

            I had an old girlfriend who got out of a hefty insurance hike and traffic ticket because of a similar scenario. She was blabbering on her cell phone and rear ended someone at a stop light. Said someone turned out to be drunk and got a DWI. My GF got off without so much as a ticket because of this, even though she was 100% at fault for the accident.

            Hardly seems fair, does it?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Belial6 (794905)
            And now we are seeing even worse statistical lies about cell phones.
        • Re:Not reliable? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Old97 (1341297) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:11PM (#31837020)
          Its a bit worse than that in the U.S. actually. Accidents that are commonly associated with alcohol abuse, i.e. single car accidents at night when the car goes off the road and hits a tree, are also counted as alcohol related with or without any evidence that alcohol or any substance was involved at all. If you fall asleep at the wheel hit a tree and die, that is counted as alcohol-related.
        • by zill (1690130) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:12PM (#31838166)

          Sounds like the Federal "study" that was done by the NHTSA. Ever heard the claim that ~50% of all fatal crash accidents involved alcohol? Guess how they arrived at that number? They included accidents wherein passengers had alcohol in their systems, even though the drivers were completely sober.

          But technically it's true. If I died by crashing into a brewery while driving sober it would still count as a "fatal crash accident involving alcohol".

          accidents caused by alcohol != accidents involving alcohol

          The phrasing is extremely dishonest and deceptive, but it's still true nevertheless.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Its no secret that the RIAA/MPAA have been putting up fake torrents to catch pirates for years. When you take that into account, you can easily inflate the number of "pirates" to near unrealistic numbers.

      Company A sets up a torrent hosting a fake copy of Avatar with 1000 seeds, 10000 leechers and 1,000,000 completed downloads.
      Company B does a basic search for "Avatar torrent", sees Company A's torrent and records it.
      Company C, which owns Company A and Company B, then goes to the U.S. government and claims "

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by scalarscience (961494)
      Actually my guess is that this is how they're going to finally 'open up' about the ACTA. They need justification to pollute the airwaves/media outlets with false claims that there is no hard data on 'how bad this problem is' since we can't yet track the statistics via beurocracy, so therefore we need mechanisms like 3-strikes so that we can begin to collect info on 'how bad things really are'.
  • Just ask (Score:5, Funny)

    by SnarfQuest (469614) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:03PM (#31835638)

    Just ask the RIAA for their data on piracy. They should have accurate information.

  • Self interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coopjust (872796) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:03PM (#31835642)
    Of course they're going to use whatever statistics, presented in whatever fashion, to make you think that if you don't legislate everything to maximize their old businesses model without change, that everyone will suffer for it.

    It's common sense not to take the RIAA/MPAA at their word. Not just because of their previous questionable tactics (suing individuals, scare campaigns,etc.), and how wrong they have been(like the MPAA saying that the VHS would be "the Boston Strangler" of the film industry when it expanded their market tremendously)... they're going to hate anything that, in their view, has a negative impact on their revenue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by schon (31600)

      they're going to hate anything that, in their view, has a negative impact on their revenue.

      Not quite - they're going to hate anything that might cause them to change their business model, regardless of the impact (positive or negative) to their revenue.

      Their business model is based on control. Anything that causes them to lose *any* amount of that control - even if it means they make more money - will be viewed unfavourably by them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      TFR in TFA didn't come to the same conclusions as the RIAA. They mostly said "there aren't enough data to kinow" and pointed out a lot of stuff you've read at slashdot that points out that piracy may actually be helpful to the media industry.

      They were, however, down on knockoffs, such as fake airplane parts and the like.

    • It's common sense not to take the RIAA/MPAA at their word. Not just because of their previous questionable tactics (suing individuals, scare campaigns,etc.), and how wrong they have been(like the MPAA saying that the VHS would be "the Boston Strangler" of the film industry when it expanded their market tremendously)... they're going to hate anything that, in their view, has a negative impact on their revenue.

      They think that everybody is spending heaps of energy looking for ways to not pay them for stuff. I'll never forget their claim (Hillary Rosen, if memory serves) that two billion songs floated around the net a month. A month or two after that announcement, record profits for the year. Just imagine their steady increase of income suddenly doubling if copy-restriction magically worked!

  • In Soviet Amerika (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:04PM (#31835664)

    Big media piracy question Feds.

    Get used to it. Capitalism is dead. Corporate socialism is alive and well [unrulymedia.com].

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:25PM (#31836142) Journal

      Get used to it. Capitalism is dead. Corporate socialism is alive and well [unrulymedia.com].

      That's not entirely true. Profits are still privatized. We've only socialized failure.....

      • "Profits are still privatized. We've only socialized failure."

        No, we've also socialized the costs.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Darinbob (1142669)
          Privatizing the upside and socializing the downside is the only way to get guaranteed win. Risking your own money is for noobs.

          Or to beat a dead analogy... If I pass my test it is because I'm a bright student; if I fail the test it is because the teachers are incompetent.
      • Well said.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:37PM (#31836346)

      Actually it's called Fascism. And not the slur that those on the 'left' throw at those on the 'right' usually after being called a communist or terrorist.

      From Wikipedia

      Fascists seek to organize a nation on corporatist perspectives; values; and systems such as the political system and the economy.

      Pretty much what we have in this country, when most of the congress critters admit to not reading the bill they're sponsoring (or voting on), but just passing along whatever some lobbyist handed over with a sack of cash.

    • by Miseph (979059)

      I think the term you're looking for is "compulsory consumerism". It's not socialism unless you buy from the government, and last I checked they aren't selling media or health care/insurance (obviously I'm talking about the US on that count). Now that we have to buy health insurance from private corporations in order to keep them solvent, how long before we have to buy media from private corporations in order to keep them solvent?

      I can envision a future where all Americans are required to buy into some sort

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:04PM (#31835674)

    You know, despite the seemingly ultranerdy reputation of Dungeons and Dragons, there are actually quite a few un-nerdy people who play it. Skipping past a slew of big names, I think one super-cool, hyper-athletic example is enough. Vin Diesel. This guy, who plays total badasses in his movies, is actually a laid back D&D player in his spare time.

    How can you effectively attack a position without a comprehensive understanding of it? If you want to say piracy is not leading to a decline in sales, then you need real numbers to back it up. For all the vitriol we throw around here on /., there is a whole lot of anecdotal posturing, but not a whole lot of solid numbers. The same goes both ways, of course, and I'm ecstatic to see the GAO investigating these claims.

    Let's lay myths to rest. The truth is where we must start from, not from our foundation of biases. As long as you think that D&D is just for loser nerds, you'll never be able to understand the game and its enthusiastic audience.

  • Should it include (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SnarfQuest (469614)

    Should piracy claims include finding copies of "Star Trek" on hard drives you bought as Best Buys?

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:05PM (#31835706) Homepage Journal

    apparently they werent able to fill that agency full to the brim with lobby endorsed appointees yet.

    • Yet being the keyword here.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Or maybe is the RIAA beginning to be short on bribe money ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by m.ducharme (1082683)

      My impression of the GAO (as an outsider) has been that it doesn't put up with much in the way of statistical bullshitting from anybody, and that as a government agency it does its job pretty consistently and well.

  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:06PM (#31835734)
    Let's say that I leave my 1995 Toyota Corolla running outside the Best Buy one day. I come back with my $4 copy of "The Frighteners" to find that my car has been STOLEN! I then file a police report that says my car was worth $6 million... would I be busted for filing a false police report?
    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:12PM (#31835860)

      I then file a police report that says my car was worth $6 million... would I be busted for filing a false police report?

      Of course not. I mean, you -did- have a few CDs in the glove box didn't you? That's what 100+ tracks that you have just unlawfully redistributed (and you recklessly assisted in this by leaving the car running)... oh ... wait, yes that would be a false police report. Your losses are closer to $200 Million.

  • Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:07PM (#31835736)

    I'd bet that the RIAA's settlement devouring extortion machine is doing more damage to the economy than the piracy is...

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:08PM (#31835764) Homepage

    Any self-serving statistic which sounds too big for the group that it's associated with is false. 40% losses from piracy? Unrealistic. 25% of all American women have been raped? Not even close (there'd be more rape victims than all other crimes in most jurisdictions then).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Well, that's the thing. You can't tell how many women have been raped, only how many have reported being raped. You can't tell how many people smoke pot, you can't tell how many hookers there are, and there's no way of knowing how many pirates there are and what their motivations for piracy are. A pirated tune or movie may turn into more than one sale, there's just no way of knowing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Spad (470073)

        No, but you can gather some poorly sourced data, make some self-serving assumptions and then extrapolate the fuck out of them.

  • The article (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sumbius (1500703)
    Correct if I'm wrong, but doesn't the report mostly concern forged counterweight products and forged products that are sold as genuine? Sure, this also includes the good old pirate dvds that are sold, but it doesn't seem to give much attention to p2p pirating and such. It's mostly about pharmaceutical products.
    • Re:The article (Score:5, Informative)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:29PM (#31836200)

      In what appears to be a setback for Hollywood and the recording industry, the government said that it sees problems with the methodology used in studies those sectors have long relied on to support claims that piracy was destructive to their businesses. The accountability office even noted the existence of data that shows piracy may benefit consumers in some cases.

    • by jank1887 (815982)

      From the GAO summary:

      "counterfeiting and piracy have produced a wide range of effects on consumers, industry, government, and the economy as a whole, depending on the type of infringements involved and other factors...Consumers are particularly likely to experience negative effects when they purchase counterfeit products they believe are genuine...Some consumers may knowingly purchase counterfeits that are less expensive than the genuine goods and experience positive effects (consumer surplus), although the

  • Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:09PM (#31835810)

    ...the data used to quantify piracy isn't reliable.

    Um, I'm not sure how to say "DUH!" without sounding like a smartass so, well, let's just call me a smartass.

    DUH!

    Seriously, of course the data is unreliable - it was paid for by the media corporations in an obscure and twisted mass circle of references that would make any academia's head spin. I hope and pray that this investigation is treated seriously and delves deep enough to find the truth that the numbers that the media corporations have been bandying about for years now are all bogus.

    I think everyone would be fine discussing piracy and it's impact on the industries involved just so long as _REAL AND ACCURATE_ numbers were used rather than the trumped up bullshit that we've seen so far.

  • So basically, The Man is now arguing against The Other Man. Sweet.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:16PM (#31835962) Journal
    In addition to the fact that most "piracy" numbers are little more than self-serving bullshit, still warm from the asses of entertainment lobbyists from which they were pulled, is the fact that they all too frequently aggregate multiple flavors of "piracy", each with its own distinct properties.

    For instance, the only way that "piracy" in the sense of "bittorrent kiddies" can threaten public health is by lowering the cost of sedentary entertainment that helps make us lardasses. On the other hand, "piracy" in the sense of "misrepresenting your sugar pills as some copyrighted/trademarked drug" can and does kill people. Similarly, the idea that bittorrent kiddies are of the slightest use to organized crime is silly. If anything, they are the lower-cost competition. On the other hand, buying poorly-copied DVDs from the shady looking street vendor probably does funnel money in dubiously savory directions.

    I assume that this aggregation is largely intentional, allowing a sort of "rhetorical shuffle", where the scariest aspects of each flavor can be pulled out in turn, to create a composite that sounds far worse than it is. Talking about prevalence? Use numbers drawn from casual internet piracy and schoolyard swapping of burned CDs. Talking about risks to life and health? Answer as though all "piracy" involved fake medicine. Playing the "gangs and terrorists" angle? describe all piracy as though it were being conducted commercially by cartels. If you slip from one to the next, without ever clearly distinguishing them, you can fairly easily create an impression that "piracy" has all the worst attributes of its sub-elements.
  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:16PM (#31835964) Homepage Journal
    The GAO needs to say, in very explicit terms, just what they are referring to as piracy. For instance, are they talking about the folk that knock off DVDs, repackage them in semi-legitimate looking boxes by the thousands, and pawn them off on the streets and on Ebay? Or are they talking about the folk that torrent [Insert Latest Blockbuster Title Here]. The summary and highlights both talk about risks and issues such as pirated, knock-off pharmaceuticals being a safety problem (although the scope of the issue, they admit, is hard to determine). That's all fine and dandy and more data and investigation certainly does need to be conducted.

    However, the GAO needs to be very strict in saying that, "These harmful effects are caused, particularly, by these harmful activities." Using the blanket term piracy just screams for some bastards at the RIAA/MPAA to hold up investigations like this in some PR forum and say, "See, it really is a problem, we're not just pissing into the wind! Neener, neener, neener," when, in fact, the investigation may be looking into an entirely different market, like the above cited case of pharmaceuticals. I don't have the time to read the full report, yet, but I hope the GAO will be responsible enough to be very clear about which activities, precisely, seem to be correlated with which results. The less they use the term, "piracy," which is a term that has been completely bloated, raped, and thrashed over the past decade or so, the better.

    Of course, this is just my opinion.
    • by ChinggisK (1133009) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:26PM (#31836154)
      I think you misread the summary. The GAO is saying that while there are lots of reports that show piracy is this big problem, those reports are based on studies that are total BS. The RIAA/MPAA most certainly does not want anyone pointing to this.

      Also, the article in the first link says that the GAO investigation is looking into *all* forms of piracy, other than the Somalian kind of course.
      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Also, the article in the first link says that the GAO investigation is looking into *all* forms of piracy, other than the Somalian kind of course.

        Awesome! I'm going to start up a Somalia-based DVD copying operation, and I'll totally fly under their radar!

      • No, I got that in the summary and in the linked to PDFs. My point was that I don't think either the RIAA or the MPAA are ethical enough to keep themselves from citing the first part of this study of evidence of a big problem. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to quote the first half of the summary that acknowledges that current data shows piracy is a problem. Then, by conveniently not mentioning the latter part of the study that acknowledges such data is inaccurate, any agency can pretty easily say, "See,
  • by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:18PM (#31836008) Journal

    the data used to quantify piracy isn't reliable

    Ya think, DiNozzo?

  • by argent (18001) <peter AT slashdo ... taronga DOT com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:21PM (#31836060) Homepage Journal

    "There's no doubt that the music industry has declined significantly over the last 10 years," Lamy said. "Countless studies have blamed this on the fact that millions of people have been getting their music for free online. That has translated to thousands of lost jobs in the industry and that's undeniable."

    I get music for free online!

    I get free samples from iTunes every week.

    I get free music from magnatune.com every day.

    I get free samples distributed directly by the artists and advertised on 3hive.com.

    I don't buy as many CDs because there's so much legally distributed good music online. I buy music online as well, but not as much as I used to buy CDs, and I usually only buy a couple of tracks instead of the whole album. So I don't need to pirate music for my demand for the traditional music distributor's high-overhead services to go down.

    I don't buy a newspaper any more, because I get better and more timely news online, some through reprinted wire services, some through independent journalists. I'm not "pirating news" any more than I'm "pirating music". I can see how this is a problem, but it's not a problem that's going to be solved by writing stricter laws or putting people into jail... or by charging newspaper prices for digital news. The internet makes distributing information more efficient. Businesses based on a percentage of older more expensive distribution mechanisms are going to have to change or adapt... but trying to use the law to attack a decreasingly important part of the problem isn't going to solve it. It's not going to magically become more expensive to distribute bits... it's going to get cheaper. There's going to be less and less overhead to get your margin from as the industry gets more efficient.

    • Yeah, buy you apparently play by the rules and only consume what is given away for free (or what you paid for). The problem is that most people see that some music is given away for free and then suddenly the demand that all their music is free. It isn't, but that doesn't stop them from pirating it. If you don't like the business model, don't consume their content, especially by pirating it. Choose to consume content that has a good business model, like the parent poster consuming free content.
    • by Xelios (822510)
      "There's no doubt that the music distribution industry has declined significantly over the last 10 years,"

      Fixed that for you, Mr. Lamy. But seriously, did I miss the memo that states certain business models are simply not allowed to fail? I assume it was sent out some time before the bailout of Wallstreet, but maybe my copy was lost in the mail...
  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:23PM (#31836086) Homepage Journal

    Piracy affects distribution sales somewhat, yes. But the other half of what recording companies do is promotion, which involves controlling how new artists appear on the scene and building up their audience by airing stuff on the radio, movies, and elsewhere. Cultural art like music and movies don't really follow the classic supply/demand rules... the more people are exposed to a song (that doesn't suck too much) the more it enters their consciousness and they want to hear it again. So really they can make or break an artist merely by planning their promotion schedule and exposure, a measure of control they probably don't want to give up.

    A pretty good way to save on entertainment expenses is simply to not listen to the radio or watch TV. I've barely had any impulse to buy any album or movie for the past few years, and also no budget for entertainment.

    Some time ago I did start listening to some internet radio, and ended up hunting down and purchasing stuff from some artists I found I liked. But without exposure to the promotion, either through piracy or through encountering the music on the radio or ads or wherever, the product had no demand from or apparent value to me. So I believe it's more the cultural control that the RIAA is intent on protecting, rather than the distribution revenue. Piracy erodes more at their control of cultural contributions through authorized channels than at their sales revenue (which mostly goes to people without the money budgeted to buy the retail version anyway, and which only serves to increase their interest in the product).

    They're approaching this all wrong.... IP law needs to be rewritten to protect the future rather than the past; attitudes need to change so that people choose retail over piracy or counterfeit because they want to somehow support the artist's future work, and some approach should still allow the freeloaders to freeload, since not much is going to change them and the present-day battle for their mindshare is probably worth more than their walletshare.

    • to protect the future rather than the past"

      most insightful 14 words i've heard so far this year

      i would like to coopt, exploit, and otherwise steal your brilliant campaign slogan, with attribution of course ;-)

    • I get a lot of tips on music from "Questionable Content" webcomic.

      The artist/writer adds little comments about the new indie bands he's listening to and likes.

      I like less music as I go from the 60's to the 00's. The indie stuff is often quite good and is maybe 50/50.

      Many of the songs from the older days you can recognize from the first riff-- some songs today, it's really hard for me too tell which song it is for 30 seconds and even when it starts being different, it still sounds the same.

      There is a lot le

  • I am so shocked! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:30PM (#31836240)

    If you can't trust gigantic corporations that make their money off of producing artificial scarcity from imaginary property, who can you trust?

  • But can we trust the ones that are potentially discounting the 'unreliable' data? Truly everyone knows that one in 7.2 government employees is a Sasquatch. And if they're hiding that from us, what else are they less than truthsome about?
  • try before you buy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:32PM (#31836266)
    it would be interesting if they did a study on how much more people buy when they are able to try it first. Anecdotal evidence of big media's best Customers are also the ones they are labeling pirates. I bet even if there was no internet they would not get many more sales from these Customers.
  • once upon a time, there was this communist terrorist unpatriotic business model called "radio"

    they would play songs, get this, FOR FREE. anyone could hear it without having to pay money and signing away their rights! can you imagine something so socialist and unamerican?!

    then this would create DEMAND for more of the artist's product

    of course, in the era of radio, the demand was for vinyl and cassette tapes

    but here's the funny thing:

    in the age of the internet, the "radio" is the browser and the listening area is the entire world

    and the publisher IS THE ARTIST HIM/HERSELF. no distributor needed

    and the demand created is for paid concert gigs, advertising endorsements, personalized content, etc.

    what is this wacky unamerican world?

    i would think it best be called a free and unfettered marketplace: unfettered by an OLIGOPOLY or a MONOPOLY

    see the big lie, RIAA, is you are not preserving american financial interests. you are preserving an entrenched oligopoly that simply isn't needed anymore in the age of the internet, and your death means more free and unfettered capitalism, without any oversight and intrusion. i think some people call this "american"

    imagine that

    corporate interests != free market. and as any student of economic history knows, the true enemy of capitalism is not communism or socialism, it is monopolies and oligopolies strangling the market to dominate it

    in short RIAA: the interests you defend represent a distribution economy which has been rendered technologically obsolete, AND you hamper the free market place, AND now you wish to intrude on individual rights enshrined in our constitution in order to preserve your technologically obsolete business model. how about this instead: FUCK OFF AND DIE ALREADY

    you've been rendered obsolete. deal with it and die. that is your only fate, whether you accept it or not. it does not reflect well on you to be so thoroughly and inevitably defeated and not know it yet

    • Bad theory.

      One, radio isn't free - stations sell advertising time to companies, and then use that money to purchase the rights to play the music (or whatever) to draw you into listening to their station so you can hear the ads.
      • in regards to the part of radio i am actually talking about

        you are talking about another part of real radio, that has nothing to do with the analogy, nor the subject matter at hand

        even then, your description is wrong: look up payola

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payola [wikipedia.org]

        i mean sure, you also use broadcast towers in radio, but there are no broadcast towers on the internet, therefore my analogy is invalid

        right?!

        welcome to logic fail

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:43PM (#31836480) Homepage

    Read the actual report. The big "piracy" problem is fake copies of shoes and handbags. That isn't even a copyright issue; that's a trademark issue.

    You can legally copy garments; the only legal protection is for logos. So it's not even about the design.

    • by belmolis (702863)

      That's currently true, but the fashion industry has been trying to get Congress to create a kind of copyright on fashion designs.

      • by Animats (122034)

        That's currently true, but the fashion industry has been trying to get Congress to create a kind of copyright on fashion designs.

        They've been trying that since 1976. And the auto industry has been trying to get copyrights on sheet metal parts. So far, neither has succeeded.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      That isn't even a copyright issue; that's a trademark issue.

            Er no, designs are copyrighted.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Animats (122034)

        Er no, designs are copyrighted.

        You can't copyright a "useful article". That's the domain of design patents.

        It's hard to get an enforceable design patent on apparel. Someone will go into the fashion library (a giant closet of famous garments) at the Fashion Institute of Technology and demonstrate that Coco Chanel did the same thing in 1931. Fashion is cyclical, not original. This is what resulted in the emphasis on exclusive "logos".

  • So the GAO is setting its sights on big media's piracy FUD machine? Hurrah! I can see it now: The GAO or some other trustworthy government organization that's outside of the music/film industries' influence will oversee a comprehensive study done on the matter. After gladly washing down this hardy serving of humble pie with a cold glass of milk, big media will offer up their entire content library for free over streaming HTML5 video in OGG 1080p with a bit of help from axxo and the gang. As for this AC
  • by mykos (1627575) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:15PM (#31837100)
    I'd seriously like to know. If they honestly believe piracy is hurting their business and that their data is sound, they should put it on their taxes as a business loss. The IRS will sort it out.
  • Meh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:58PM (#31837904)

    They can use whatever numbers they like because the only numbers the politicians are interested in is how much they get paid by the media corporations.

    Considering there is likely a direct correlation between how much money the media corporations make, and how much money they are willing to use to bribe politicians, I am pretty sure you are stuck forever in a positive feedback loop.

    Have fun with that. Also stop trying to drag those of us north of the border down with you!

  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:05PM (#31838024)

    When DVDs became more popular and fell in price, I found that I could get a full 2 hour movie on DVD for $20, while a 45 minute music only CD cost $17. I began to buy more movies than music, and my personal CD consumption fell. I don't know how many others out there were like me, but I doubt I'm alone. I frequently wondered how many folks like me were fueling record companies claims that CD sales slumps had to be caused by piracy.

    Now, for the last several years I've been witnessing format wars between Blu-Ray and HDVD, both of which are poising to replace DVDs and convince me to buy my collection of movies a second time. Blu-Ray has "won" the format war, only to be threatened by streaming video and digital distribution. For the last several years I've been reluctant to invest in DVDs that may soon become obsolete, or to invest in new technology such as BluRay (for which I'm also not comfortable with certain consumer-unfriendly aspects). I don't like the modern DRM models either, so I find myself not buying movies anymore and instead rent and stream through services like NetFlix.

    Again, I wonder how many people are like me, and how many "lost sales" that are blamed on piracy have absolutely nothing to do with piracy.

    And that's even before considering inflated numbers, people who download digital copies of media they already own physical copies to, people who are only downloading because it's "free" and would not buy anyway, and fake torrents planted by copyright holders themselves to trap pirates.

    Piracy is an easy scapegoat.

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