By now it should be no surprise that the MPAA likes to overhype lots of things, from the "losses" due to file sharing to the "risk" posed by the VCR ("the Boston Strangler" to the movie industry). The current bosses are no exception, from blaming technology to dire warnings about the end of content, it pays to take most of what they say with an extra big grain of salt. Hopefully, you had that salt handy as you read an announcement trumpeted by the MPAA about how they, along with a "California High Tech Task Force" shut down a Southern California DVD processing plant seizing $30 million worth of DVDs. The implication, though not stated in the article, was that the plant was used to copy DVDs illegally. Perhaps the reason it wasn't stated was because it might not actually be true. Constitutional Code points to the processing plant company's angry response to the news today, suggesting that almost nothing in the MPAA's announcement was accurate. First off, the company claims they only copy legal DVDs, and are a well established (over 15 years in business) legal DVD and CD reproduction plant. Second, neither the MPAA nor the so-called High Tech Task Force "shut the plant down." After the raid was completed the plant was allowed to return to full production levels immediately. The Task Force did take some DVDs, but the plant believes they were perfectly legitimate DVDs being produced by a well-known public company. Finally, in the MPAA's favorite area, it looks like they completely inflated by ridiculous amounts the "value" of the seized materials. The plant claims that the DVDs taken were worth a grand total of $10,540. The DVD copying equipment seized was worth about $15,000. In other words, the claim of $30 million worth of product seized was exaggerated by a mere 2,000%. So, not only does it sound like they're lying, but they're bad at math as well. And yet, for some reason, we still think it's okay that they get to go into schools and push their agenda as some kind of educational lesson? Of course, why should the MPAA care? They got the headlines they wanted out of the Associated Press, so it shouldn't really matter if the story isn't actually true. Update: I knew I should have checked the company's own math... As is being discussed in the comments, it seems like the processing plant has a bit of trouble with math as well. First they claim that 24*$3,600 = $15,000, which is obviously way off (it's $86,400). Then, they claim that inflated $35,000 to $30,000,000 is a change of 2,000%, but it's actually much higher (about 85,000%). If you go back to the $3,600 number, and assume the equipment is really worth $86,400 + $10,000 for the DVDs, they still inflated the amount seized by about 31,000%. Then, if you assume that the company isn't adding any "retail" markup to the DVDs, and assume that the retail value of the DVDs seized is more like $50 (seems unlikely), then you're still only talking about somewhere in the range of $200,000 in seized material, and the $30 million is still a bump of about 15,000%. Then again, since this seems to be bad math day, I probably got some of that wrong as well.
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