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EU Piracy Estimates — Just How Inaccurate? 124

Last week we discussed news that a US government report questioned the reliability of piracy statistics from the media industry. Reader superapecommando sends in a follow-up written by Glyn Moody that examines a similar problem in Europe. Quoting: "As far as I know, no similar analysis has been carried out for European reports. So I thought it might be interesting to look at one particular European report on the subject — not least because I've heard that its findings influenced some of the MPs voting on the Digital Economy Act. ... the net result of this 68-page report, with all of its tables and detailed methodology, is that four out of the top five markets used for calculating the overall piracy loss in Europe draw on figures supplied by the recording industry itself. Those apparently terrifying new figures detailing the supposed loss of money and jobs due to piracy in Europe turn out to be little more than a re-statement of the industry's previous claims in a slightly different form. As a result, as little credence can be placed in the report as in those criticised by the US GAO."
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EU Piracy Estimates — Just How Inaccurate?

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  • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @03:36PM (#31900916)

    I still blame Metallica. When Load didn't sell jack because it was the worst album they ever put out they started screaming that the reason that Load of crap did not sell was due to piracy.

    They are Janet Jackson's nipple of the piracy world.

  • Very Inaccurate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @03:43PM (#31901050)
    No estimates are going to be accurate. There are many more sources for files than these people will ever find ... and the **AA take every source they can make up and then pass it through a magic multiplication filter (the same one they use to calculate the value of their 'losses').
  • Invalidate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @03:43PM (#31901052)
    So when the supporting numbers are well and truly shown to be bogus can we invalidate all the legislation that they inspired as well? Hahah, yeah joking.
  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @04:01PM (#31901298)

    It seems nobody requires those making piracy loss claims to prove anything they say. Consequantially, estimates keep going up, and have reached a ridiculously high level. Typical dishonest tricks used include billing the price of a full retail version for each suspected download (1. the full retail price is unrealistic 2. people would not have gotten the thing if they would have to pay 3. a lot of downloads never get installed/used/listened to 4. filenames lie and not everything is what is claims to be).

    There is a really urgent need to either have serious negative consequences for those making claims that are inflated or to stof listening to those with high self-interest and get hard numbers. Just remember that somebody downloading a song, litening to it once and then deleting it is the equivalent to have listened to it on the radio and then deciding to not buy it. Content providers have a far to high opinion of the quality of the things they offer. Many people would just go without if pirating was harder.

  • dilemma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @04:03PM (#31901330)

    The media industry has a nice dilemma here:

    If the piracy figures are too small, then nobody will care about them.
    On the other hand, if the piracy figures are too large, then the whole European population is criminalized, and nobody will care either...

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday April 19, 2010 @04:05PM (#31901372)

    fraud: deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

    perjury: the willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry.

    When are these people going to face the music? Why is there one law for the individual, and a different application of the law when a multi-million dollar company does it?

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @04:20PM (#31901550)

    I actually recommend giving them a listen. Death Magnetic is sort-of like the Black Album, with the more melodic elements, but it has a lot of the thrash back from the classic days. It's not their best, but it's their best in over a decade. It does have some problems: the songs go on a bit too long, and some of the tracks are a bit weak, but overall worth trying at least one song.

    S&M is actually one of my favorite albums of all time. Give "No Leaf Clover" a listen. Or the S&M version of "Battery", if you like the old thrash stuff better. Then go on BitTorrent and grab the whole thing.

    What? Just because I'm a fan of the music doesn't mean I have to support the corrupt, mildly-evil system that produced it.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @05:26PM (#31902404)

    It is relevant because politicians listen to these people and then pass insane laws.

    My take is that if the business model does not work anymore, the onlythink to do is to change it. If we find out that actually nobody produces music, movies or software anymore, something needs to be done, bit that is very unlikely to happen. Don;t forget that in the arts the talented ones are not after getting rich, and being able to life off their art is a bonus. With global cheap distribution, funding the creatives should not be an issue at all, and there are by now a number of exaples of artists that understand this and have sucessfully adapted. For examples look at Jeanis Ian and Baen Books. For software that is produced by those that want it and use it themselves, look at Gnu, Linux, Apache, OpenOffice, etc.. What there sem to be no space for anymore is people that get rich off other peoples works. Hardly a loss.

  • Irish "piracy" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday April 19, 2010 @06:01PM (#31902934)
    I was listening to TodayFM in Ireland and some music spokes drone claimed there were 650,000 active pirates in Ireland. Out of a population of 6 million. This figure in itself is laughably high but on top of that the industry claimed they were losing 69 million annually due to piracy. This implies that these 650,000 pirates were responsible for over 100 lost revenue each just in music sales.

    These figures are so implausible that it is a wonder that any government takes them seriously at all. It's clear that piracy does result in lost sales, but the music / movie industry is doing itself no favours by lying. Pirates almost by definition place less value on an item than a music industry. The industry might think a CD is worth 15 but the pirate clearly begs to differ. It therefore makes no sense to say a pirated copy = one lost sale since the pirate would be unlikely to have paid full price in any event.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas