Justice Dept. Boosts Number Of FBI Agents, Attorneys Focusing On Copyright Infringement

from the priorities,-people dept

As noted, yesterday was officially "World Intellectual Property Day," and it looks like the US Justice Department decided to contribute. It announced the appointment of 15 new assistant US attorneys and 20 FBI special agents, who will focus on intellectual property issues. Funny timing on this one. We had just noted that the Justice Department had moved the very real problem of identify fraud off the priority list of things to work on -- and, just weeks later, the GAO put out its report noting that the supposed "harm" done by intellectual property infringement appears to be based on nothing. So why is the Justice Department beefing up efforts to fight intellectual property issues? It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that some of the top folks at the Justice Department previously worked for the RIAA, MPAA, and the BSA -- three of the groups who were most responsible for pushing out those bogus claims about the "impact" of piracy. Nah... that couldn't possibly be related, could it?


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  1.  
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    Big_Mike (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 5:51am

    See Obama IS creating new jobs... Why is the government so out of touch with reality?

     

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  2.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    Re: Out of touch...

    You seem to think that for the last 20+ years, the government has been remotely IN touch with reality... :-)

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    it is actually a good thing. the tipping point is near where more people will be getting their content illegally than get it legally, and at that point, it becomes less and less financially viable to produce new content. its simple economics, even the masnick knows that.

     

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  4.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:42am

    told ya

    the usa thinks this is the future of its economy and they are gonna geta real rude awakening

    the future all of it willbe free and art and culture willbe donated by people that WISH to do it not wish to make a buck.

    Lets see how long this takes to cause the second american revolution

     

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  5.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:44am

    #3

    so linux isnt viable because its code is given and donated freely by thousands as well as other open source and FREE projects

    i see who is also out of touch with reality

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:49am

    Re: #3

    hi rd. there are always exceptional cases in any area. those exceptions do not set the rules for others. the success of bands like phish or the grateful dead doesnt mean that that the entire music business should shut down and everyone become a jam musician. just because you mow your own lawn doesnt mean there isnt a viable business for lawn care companies.

     

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  7.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re:

    it is actually a good thing. the tipping point is near where more people will be getting their content illegally than get it legally, and at that point, it becomes less and less financially viable to produce new content. its simple economics,
    If half the population is infringing (as you claim) then 35 people dedicated to enforcement isn't exactly going to fix it (that's a ratio of around 1 million to one).

    The rest of your comment is equally logically sloppy.

    The ratio of paid for/ not paid for has been gradually going one way for many years - and yet the big producers go on spending more and more on each new release.

    The fact is that the world isn't split into people who get all their content "legally" and people who get it all "illegally" everyone does some of each (since it is almost impossible to be legal all the time).

    Study after study has shown that the people who have the most illegal content also buy the most legal content.

    What you call "simple economics" is in fact merely "simplistic economics" and it is simply wrong.

     

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  8.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Please...

    Please don't feed the trolls.

     

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  9.  
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    C.T., Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:23am

    intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    "GAO put out its report noting that the supposed "harm" done by intellectual property infringement appears to be based on nothing."

    I cannot tell if this is a product of intellectual dishonesty, or complete cognitive dissonance. It is true that the GAO report called into question certain methodologies employed by particular rights holder organizations. But, the GAO also conceded that determining the economy-wide impacts of piracy is "difficult, if not impossible." The GAO report did anything but conclude that the effects of piracy are "based on nothing." To the contrary, the report concluded that "the problem is sizable" and that "negative effects on US industry may include lost sales, lost brand value, and reduced incentives to innovate," and that the "US economy as a whole may grow more slowly becuase of reduced innovation and loss of trade revenue." It is true that the report also identified potential positive externalities that result from copyright infringement, but the report in no way suggested that these externalities outweigh the harm caused by piracy.

     

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  10.  
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    NullOp, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    Conflict!!!

    Can you say conflict of interest? Usually this refers to someone who stands to make money off a decision. But, it can also refer to someone who's judgement is bias by previous association. This is obviously the case in this matter as some of the folks at DOJ have worked for MPAA, etc. It goes without saying clearer minds should have realized this fact and eliminated these individuals from any decision making process. Then again, we're talking about the government and clearer minds...

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    "We had just noted that the Justice Department had moved the very real problem of identify fraud off the priority list of things to work on"

    Of course, because intellectual property apologists are used to committing fraud (ie: falsely asserting that no one would create art or music or innovate without strict IP laws). Why should they go after the very thing they commit on a daily basis?

    Fraud? Who cares about fraud. The IP laws that protect the rich are more important.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: #3

    "doesnt mean that that the entire music business should shut down and everyone become a jam musician."

    No one said this, but just because some people demand monopoly rents doesn't mean they should get what they want. If some employee refused to work without a raise they would probably be looking for another job. Musicians, and specifically corporations (since it's mostly the corporations that want these laws, not musicians) shouldn't be allowed to extort retarded laws out of the government that's supposed to represent the public. Art and music would continue perfectly fine without these laws and if you don't personally like the quality of music no one is forcing you not to pay an artist/band whatever you wish to support them. but don't make the rest of society subsidize them with retarded laws that restrict our behavior, restrict our technology, and costs a lot to enforce.

    "just because you mow your own lawn doesnt mean there isnt a viable business for lawn care companies."

    But those lawn care companies do not demand monopoly rents. There are viable business for both lawn care companies and musicians that don't require monopoly rents. and I wish that those who do demand monopoly rents go out of business immediately.

     

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  13.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:52am

    World Intellectual Property Day

    Also known as WIPD (pronounced whipped).

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    "negative effects on US industry may include lost sales, lost brand value, and reduced incentives to innovate,"

    The key word here is may. In other words, this is based on speculation which essentially means it is based on nothing.

    "but the report in no way suggested that these externalities outweigh the harm caused by piracy."

    No one said this, you need to get your reading comprehension problem corrected.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    Priorities Wrong Much?

    The DOJ should be hiring 10,000 FBI agents, accountants, and attorneys to investigate fraud in financial institutions. If they had done this a year ago, they should have placed 100-250 bank / insurance execs in orange jumpsuits and leg irons.

    The added benefit is that future financial execs would avoid excessively risky investments and loans, so we'd never again have a government bank bailout.

     

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  16.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    . It is true that the GAO report called into question certain methodologies employed by particular rights holder organizations. But, the GAO also conceded that determining the economy-wide impacts of piracy is "difficult, if not impossible."


    Forgive me but that looks pretty close to "based on nothing" to me.
    The GAO report did anything but conclude that the effects of piracy are "based on nothing."

    Now that looks like a statement "based on nothing".

     

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  17.  
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    Joel (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Benchwarmers?

    35 people to act as seat warmers for no one...I wonder if they will download music and stream their favorite shows while they have nothing to do.

    Seriously though this is senseless can they just finish with ACTA first and then we deal with these guys?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re:

    actually, the number of people who widely enable sharing is really very small. the community of rippers and providers versus freeloading consumers is very high. how many members did oink have? how few of them really contributed? it is like anything, 35 agents aimed in the right places can change plenty of public opinion and make a dent in the problem.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    the masnick bases his entire cwf on the basis of may. are you suggesting that anything that is only may needs to be entirely discounted?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    So you want the government to subsidize you? You want a guaranteed return on your investment? You want the government to eliminate all risk so that you can succeed no matter how much of a failure you are? Everything has risk, that's just part of business. Stop asking the government to bail you out.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    "are you suggesting that anything that is only may needs to be entirely discounted?"

    No one said this. Just that there is a difference between "speculation" and "evidence." A contention based on "speculation" is basically based on "nothing" in the sense that it's not based on any evidence. I can speculate that magic fairy turtles cause the earth to revolve around the sun. So what? It's based on nothing. By your logic we should consider such a possibility.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    After all, my magic fairy turtle theory "may" be true so we can't discount it.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    "Music is like Sex, for ever person paying for it, thousands get it for free."

    -TFLN.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    Hint: If more people are violating a law than aren't violating a law, the problem is the law, not the people.

     

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  25.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    "If half the population is infringing (as you claim) then 35 people dedicated to enforcement isn't exactly going to fix it (that's a ratio of around 1 million to one)."

    with 300 million people in the US the ratio is 8,571,428.57 to 1

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Rik, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Criminals are spoiling it for everyone

    Take this guy Sven Olaf Kammphuis for example. He is a member of the Dutch and German pirate parties and claiming to be running a datacenter in a NATO bunker called The Cyberbunker.

    Here's what's actually inside that bunker:
    http://netload.in/dateibw9cmNKppF.htm

    It's people like this CB3ROB who make pirates and downloaders look like criminals. Not good.

     

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  27.  
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    Krusty, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Re:

    It's not "out of touch with reality".
    It's showing you what really matters, and that’s big business baby, not you the consumer.
    After all isn’t government just another paid asset of big business?

     

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  28.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You have no idea how bit torrent works, do you?

     

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  29.  
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    Any Mouse, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Re: told ya

    Still clueless, aren't you?

     

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  30.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 10:30am

    Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    I cannot tell if this is a product of intellectual dishonesty, or complete cognitive dissonance. It is true that the GAO report called into question certain methodologies employed by particular rights holder organizations. But, the GAO also conceded that determining the economy-wide impacts of piracy is "difficult, if not impossible.

    Right. And that means -- exactly as I said -- that the claims of harm were based on nothing.

    but the report in no way suggested that these externalities outweigh the harm caused by piracy.

    Nor did I say that the report said the good outweighed the harm. You seem to have made that up entirely. All I said was that the report concluded that the studies were not based on legitimate info -- i.e., "based on nothing."

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    yes i understand fully. you are mistaking functionality for sourcing. a very small percentage of people rip the vast majority of the content making them key people in the game. it is sort of like video taping in theaters and such. a small number of people do the vast majority of the damage. its the nature of the game. everyone else just leeches and reseeds. very different.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    you are reading a blog that is predicated on speculation and often strings together very questionable 'evidence' to draw some very overreaching conclusions. it is stupid to mock the government on one side, and then use the exact same logic on the other side.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re: #3

    nobody in the entertainment industry demands monopoly rents. you are free to make your own music and your own movies and sell them your own way. you dont however have the right to just take their product because you dont like the price. should the lawn guy mow your lawn for free because you could do it yourself for free? what fractured logic you use!

     

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  34.  
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    C.T., Apr 27th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    Mike,

    This response seems equally disingenuous. That there were methodological problems with the estimates is not nearly the same thing as saying they were "based on nothing." I think you realize this. I would hope so, at least.

     

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  35.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Idiotic Economics

    You wrote: "it becomes less and less financially viable to produce new content". Then the new content should not be produced! Simple.

    The free market is not about propping up a business model. If it is uneconomic to produce something in the existing business environment, including so-called piracy, then it should not be produced.

    You also neglect the fact that those who believe in so-called intellectual property are expanding their onerous claims to the revenue stream. So the real "theft" occurs when they "steal" rights from the consumer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have no idea how bit torrent works, do you?

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    i can draw you a diagram of the system. i can even almost recite the packet content from memory. yes, i understand. go look around, most of the rips come from a very small group of people. most users dont rip anything because they dont buy anything.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have no idea how bit torrent works, do you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: #3

    Copyright is a government-enforced monopoly.

     

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  40.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 4:18pm

    Funny, But Not On Topic

    I've gotta back the AC on this one.

    He's not talking about how Bittorrent works, so stop reminding him.

    He's talking about who rips the original digital file that then gets shared, copied, and reshared. He's saying there are few of those people. And I imagine there are also few specific "leaks" at the movie studios, and a small number of people who camcord in theaters, certainly when those groups are compared to the number of people sharing copies.

    Joe and Trigger, I often agree with you, but if you guys wanna disagree with him, try addressing his point.

    It's like what Masnick always says: it only takes one person to leak the .avi file, or one person to crack the DRM, and then "it's out there" for everyone. The AC is saying, aim your enforcement resources towards that one guy, and you could have a measurable impact.

    Agree or disagree, but Bittorrent has little to do with what he's saying.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 2:15am

    Re: Funny, But Not On Topic

    He's talking about who rips the original digital file that then gets shared, copied, and reshared. He's saying there are few of those people.

    And like always the TAM has no clue what he's talking about. So what if all those regular people who copy and spread their BDs (sales figures are rising, no?) make it to the net a few days after a scene release?

     

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  42.  
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    mikex (profile), Apr 28th, 2010 @ 4:10am

    But isn't the Music Business in Ruins From Sharing?

    You're all discussing films which have not seen sharing on the level of movie sharing. Isn't there pretty strong evidence the CD producers are achieving nothing like the sales they once did, and the reason is sharing? I'm new here and not ready to accept the wisdom of folks who've been here forever batting these issues around. Go ahead, educate me if you can?

     

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  43.  
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    Dementia (profile), Apr 28th, 2010 @ 5:37am

    Re: But isn't the Music Business in Ruins From Sharing?

    Very simply put, sales of cd's does not equal "the music business". It is a portion of the music business, but by no means has it ever really been the largest. It may have generated more money for the record labels, but has never produced much for the individual artists. Meanwhile, the sales of cd's has declined, but the music business as a whole has seen significant growth in overall revenue. I don't have the links laying around, but if you look through some of the older posts on the site, you can find links to studies showing this. Of course you will also hear a number of dissenting opinions, but thats the purpose of discussions.

     

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  44.  
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    Modplan (profile), Apr 28th, 2010 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: intellectual dishonesty or cognitive dissonance?

    Saying there are issues with methodology effectively calls into question the data and conclusions themselves.

    So yes, it effectively means that the assumption of harm is based on nothing.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: But isn't the Music Business in Ruins From Sharing?

    The recording industry alos went from selling shiny plastic discs for $14.99 to selling individual songs for $1.29.

     

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  46.  
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    Jack, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Software/games should be free for people to share if they wish it...after all it's just a bunch of bits being copied and pasted! How dare those crack-head engineers want money for their work! Same with the music & film industry!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    mikex (profile), Apr 28th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    But isn't the Music Business in Ruins From Sharing?

    I get it, the CD business isn't the entire business. Well, yes, few artists except the biggest really benefit from CDs. But CDs are the mass public intersect with the musice business. Many would argue that most musicians profit most from personal appearances. But I am SPEAKING of the CD business and the copyright holders, not of the ancillary revenue streams of musicians and composers. MP3s are 99 cents. I have never bought one but have 41,000 of them. For all the Hype Apple and I-Tunes buy from the media by essentially overfeeding them with advertising, I-Tunes contributes very little to the copyright holders and the CD business has been in free fall for the last decade. I'm hoping the same happens to the moviemakers, since they keep pitching lowest common denominator junk, while signs of resistance to the junk grow. I believe the Industry let Red Box and Netflix undercut their major product out of a stupid indifference. Galaxy and Blockbuster will soon be history while Hollywood moves onto the Cloud and downloads. I'm a consumer. When cheap rentals ($1.50 Tuesdays) and later Redbox and Netflix lowered prices, I, like many others, took a look a good look at what the industry is producing and decided to consume less. I'm cherry picking older stuff now for peanuts, won't go near Gallery or Blockbuster. The Industry is not going to re-achieve its enormous DVD success anytime soon. I would say the machinations of pirates, downloaders, sidewalk DVD salesmen and bit torrents, but mostly consumer displeasure with the studios, have lowered the prospects of the studios, wouldn't you say?

     

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  48.  
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    mikex (profile), Apr 28th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Re: But isn't the Music Business in Ruins From Sharing?

    Re: Re: But isn't the Music Business in Ruins From Sharing? "The recording industry alos went from selling shiny plastic discs for $14.99 to selling individual songs for $1.29." Since most are sold for $.99 not $1.29, and almost none are sold compared to what are exchanged online for free, this is hardly a counter narrative to the one that says the CD producers have been failing for parts of a decade!

     

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  49.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 28th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Funny, But Not On Topic

    I don't think that was TAM. Thoughts are too coherent, attitude is not belligerent, he's not accusing every Techdirt commenter of being "the masnick".

    At least someone is now at least arguing against his point! You're saying that there are far more "rip & seeders" than he thinks.

    I actually wonder about that. But whether he or you are right, either way, for DVDs the number of "rip & seeders" has got to be an order of magnitude smaller than the number of "download and re-sharers". And the number of leaks at the studios has got to be quite small.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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