Spanish Judge Gets It: Pirated Copies Not Necessarily Lost Sales, May Boost Purchases Later

from the the-tide-is-turning dept

One of the favorite assumptions of industries based around copyright used to be that every pirated copy is a lost sale. More recently, that rhetoric has been moderated somewhat, as a review of the area in the report "Media Piracy in Emerging Countries" shows, but a variation of that fallacy lives on, expressed now as vague "losses" caused by piracy.

Against that background it's heartening to hear a Spanish judge dismissing the idea that pirated copies are necessarily lost sales, and suggesting that they can act as a kind of marketing that promotes later purchases (original post in Spanish):
it is not possible to determine the damage and corresponding compensation due to loss of benefits to the rightsholder, for the simple reason that customers of pirated copies of music and movies, when making the purchase of pirated copies, externalize their decision not to be customers of music and movies as originals, so there is no profit that could have been gained. In other words, those customers either buy a pirated copy at a low price or they don't buy an original at a price between 15 and 20 Euros.

In any case, reversing the legal argument, it is conceivable that a customer, after hearing or viewing the pirated copy, may decide to purchase the original, finding it to their taste, so that the sale of pirated copies, far from harming, benefits the market for original items.
It's only one judge, and in a not very important case, but it's another welcome sign that an increasingly broad swathe of people have realised that the simplistic economic analyses of piracy offered by the copyright industries just don't stand up to scrutiny.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2011 @ 7:48pm

    I don't know about others but a real lost sale was the Sony DRM fiasco that made me not buy a CD or any merch from them in 10 years and counting, and recently I decided that I would not finance these bastard companies any longer, and this year I decided to get more involved now I will actively pirate anything, if somebody tries to buy something I will be there to offer a pirated version.

    Now that is lost sales.
    They want to mess with the law and erode due process and free speech, that is fine I will do everything in my power which is not much to harm them too.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Nov 1st, 2011 @ 8:11pm

    Okay, out_of_the_blue, I'm gonna ask you a question.

    I torrented Dragon Age Origins when it was first released. You've previously stated that in order to enjoy such content, you must pay.
    Well...thing is, I did. I liked the game so much, that I did pay. I bought it with the expansion pack Awakening on Awakening's Launch Date and it was one of the finest games I've ever played...well not at first, because I was simply unable to play it for two weeks due to the DRM.

    So we have a quandary here. Should I have paid for the game? Was it wrong of me to torrent the game first? Is the developer/publisher at fault here, for not allowing me to play their game, because their DRM was so badly programmed?

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 1st, 2011 @ 10:28pm

    Re:

    When you don't buy a new computer every time you encounter a problem with software, that's a lost sale for computer manufacturers, you freetard.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Nov 1st, 2011 @ 10:29pm

    Okay, out_of_the_blue, I'm gonna ask you a question.

    I torrented Dragon Age Origins when it was first released. You've previously stated that in order to enjoy such content, you must pay.
    Well...thing is, I did. I liked the game so much, that I did pay. I bought it with the expansion pack Awakening on Awakening's Launch Date and it was one of the finest games I've ever played...well not at first, because I was simply unable to play it for two weeks due to the DRM.

    So we have a quandary here. Should I have paid for the game? Was it wrong of me to torrent the game first? Is the developer/publisher at fault here, for not allowing me to play their game, because their DRM was so badly programmed?

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2011 @ 11:31pm

    The judge sort of failed on one very simple point:

    "the simple reason that customers of pirated copies of music and movies, when making the purchase of pirated copies, externalize their decision not to be customers of music and movies as originals, so there is no profit that could have been gained. "

    This is true in a sense, but a bit misleading. That the person has chosen to consume the product, but chosen not to obtain it in a legal manner does show loss. Consumption happened, sale did not. That is doubly clear when the person in fact PAID for a pirated copy.

    It's an amusing ruling, and one of the many reasons why Spain is turning into a cesspool for rights holders.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:17am

    Re:

    "That the person has chosen to consume the product, but chosen not to obtain it in a legal manner does show loss. Consumption happened, sale did not."

    Um, no. That's a very simple point that has been made from the beginning of filesharing debates - not everyone who consumes would have paid the legal owner and some might even only pay for illegal sources. Consumption without payment cannot always be a lost sale. A lot of consumption likely happens because of the lack of cost, i.e. when the consumer values the product at a price point no higher than free. Also, not everyone who consumes can necessarily pay (think expensive multimedia software ), so there's a nother reason that consumption without payment is not necessarily a lost sale.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:47am

    Re:

    If people have chance to heard your music, but found no good reason to buy it, you'll want to produce better music, not argue that the sales is poor because of pirated music.

    If people have chance to heard your music, but found it's too expensive to buy it, you'll want to put a more reasonable price tag on the music, not argue that the sales is poor because of pirated music.

    Rinse and repeat.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Prisoner 201, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:53am

    Re:

    If the customer thought the CD was worth $5, and all the legal ways of bying it would cost $15 or more, he would never buy that CD.

    So it really does not matter if he "consumed" the CD some other way (like paying $5 to a pirate).

    The lost sale, if any, occured because the asked price for this particular product was not in line with the percieved value of the product for this particular customer.

    When I feel the need for entertainment, I have countless options; books, music, movies, games, phone apps, etc. I am going to buy something that gives me good value for my money. I will never buy a luxury item that I feel is overpriced or a waste of money. Food, a roof over my head, etc I have no choice. But when I want to be entertained? Big choice.

    If that CD that I was interested in has a poor value per money ratio as I percieve it, it gets rejected in favor of something else. Perhaps a book or a computer game. Perhaps some really fine meat for tonights dinner (a real example from last week).

    So to reiterate: if the asked price for the product is above the value as percieved by the customer, then the sale is lost, regardless of what the customer then does with his or her money.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:54am

    Re:

    Maybe you're not aware that people hearing promotion at boardcast of radio stations like ages are also consuming it without paying. They can even taperecording it if they like. Why should this suddenly be a problem.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:03am

    Re:

    The real cesspool is that people get life + 95 years of a granted monopoly, not only that they got to dictate to others how, when and where they can consume something and be punished if they don't fallow those silly rules, further that is the only class of parasites inside society that gets legal protection unbelievable.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:09am

    Content owners want others to responsible for protecting them I think they would be very pleased when they too are found responsible for what their affiliate distributors do since everybody must take responsibility for what others do.

    Instead of suing a little distributor for piracy, fraud or whatever they should sue the parent company and have them be directly responsible for what their associates did.

    Any actor that does something stupid like shoplifting and get caught should open the studio up for liability since it was them the responsible people for that person.

    Any musician who murders someone should make their record label responsible for it too.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:11am

    Re:

    Why should I, or anyone else, pay €25 for a shiny plastic disc, when I can just proxy my location, and buy the whole thing for £6 from an online store?

    Can you see what's happening here? These companies are massively overvaluing your content and people will not buy at the pricepoint unless there's something special with it.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    FuzzyDuck, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:11am

    Radio causes lost sales

    Every time someone hears a song on the radio, that's a lost sale. Now he doesn't have to buy it because he already heard it on the radio. They should ban radio stations from playing copyrighted music.

    /sarc

    Srsly let them stop playing music on the radio and then see what that does to sales. The MAFIAA logic says sales should skyrocket... but I am betting otherwise.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Qûr Tharkasdóttir, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:45am

    Absolutely right. Now, more often than not, the biggest problem is simply being able to make a decent purchase. Who in Europe hasn't run into Amazon.xx's "Sorry, this download is not available for your country"? Or faced having to pay more in postal charges than the actual purchase if the seller was located in Spain, Portugal or a Scandinavian country? Or been confronted with VAT, custom charges AND custom clearance fees twice as high as the item's value when purchasing from a country outside the EU?

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:50am

    Labels and studios should be liable for whom they employ now, further they should be responsible for what their customers do in their shops, since they should be fighting any illegal behaviour too right?

    So next time Lindsay Lohan goes to jail, the studio should be sued for promoting drank driving and putting lifes at risk, when Winona Rider is found shoplifting again studios should be liable financially for what happened there and criminally, labels CEO's should answer directly for what the rappers under contract to them do, so they will stop dogfighting, murders and use of drugs by those people.

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:56am

    Re:

    "That the person has chosen to consume the product, but chosen not to obtain it in a legal manner does show loss."

    Prove it. Show your work.

    "Consumption happened, sale did not."

    A loss has not happened unless the person would have paid if the pirated version was not available. This also assumes that the person in question never goes on to spend money on the product later on.

    Both assumptions are demonstrably false.

    By your logic, when I watched Halloween 6 on TV the other night on a BBC channel, there was a "lost DVD sale" because I didn't pay for the screening. This is utterly false.

    "That is doubly clear when the person in fact PAID for a pirated copy."

    There is certainly more of an issue regarding commercial piracy than file sharing. They're really 2 separate issues, although the motivation for going the pirate route may be similar.

    Again, show the actual tangible losses related to file sharing. Difficulty: you can't simply assume that every "free" viewing is a lost sale.

    "It's an amusing ruling, and one of the many reasons why Spain is turning into a cesspool for rights holders."

    No, their refusal to offer legal alternatives is the problem. Referring to my country of residence as a "cesspool" when your corporate gods are the ones forcing me to import DVDs from abroad is laughable at best. An idiotic avoidance of any of the issues being discussed at worst.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 3:35am

    Re: Radio causes lost sales

    The radio station pays to broadcast that track... unless it's a pirate radio station...

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 3:49am

    Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    The consumers though pay nothing as they consume it for free which is a crime isn't it?

    Or it is a crime only under arcane rules that are just nonsense altogether?

    Further radio stations pay a fraction of what consumers pay, shouldn't consumers paying the same amount?

    Also radio stations only pay one royalties for the compositor not the performer.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    Um, no they don't.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re:

    There is certainly more of an issue regarding commercial piracy than file sharing. They're really 2 separate issues, although the motivation for going the pirate route may be similar.

    I don't know if I agree. If anything, it more explicitly shows that people are willing to pay, but the legitimate sources are pricing it too high.

    Similarly, if a person is willing to pay $15/mo for a VPN service so that they can "safely" get digital goods for free, then they have a price point they're willing to pay for digital goods: At least $15/mo.

    The answers are staring them in the face, but they refuse to see them.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    What's really interesting is that it is illegal for a label to pay the radio to play it's music more than others-- which clearly shows that they are willing to pay someone else to give away their product for free, because they know it leads to more money in the long run.

    For some reason, when you add "on the internet" into the mix, they get all cross-eyed and freak out.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    AJBarnes, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Not every...

    Nor is every auto theft a lost sale...

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Re: Not every...

    Bzzz... bad analogy and irrelevant.

    In case you nee clarification: a stolen car causes real, tangible, financial (and other) losses to - at minimum - the owner, his dependants, the police and the insurance company.

    A downloaded file causes none of these kinds of losses. There is no tangible loss, unless you want to assume that the person would have paid for it had the pirate version not been available.

    Hence, they are not comparable and anyone who insists on directly comparing file sharing to theft is a disingenuous fool.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:56am

    "In any case, reversing the legal argument, it is conceivable that a customer, after hearing or viewing the pirated copy, may decide to purchase the original, finding it to their taste, so that the sale of pirated copies, far from harming, benefits the market for original items."

    I think the judge may have been hitting the sangria before he said this. Why would someone later buy a legitimate copy of a film if they already had a perfectly good (albeit unauthorized) digital copy?

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    Because they enjoyed the film and wanted to support the art they enjoyed?

    Because the movie's no longer subject to regional controls or other regional variations that made them want to watch the pirate copy?

    Because they want the special features?

    Because the price finally dropped down to an acceptable price point or they spotted it in a sale?

    Because they wanted to give the movie to a friend as a gift?

    Because it has cool packaging or another "rtb"?

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re:

    But the question remains: If they were will to pay (as the judge mentions in his judgement) then there is a solid possiblity they would actually pay for the real product in absence of the pirated version they purchased.

    There is no one to one way to compare, but clearly the consumer was willing to pay some amount. Even if you take it to the extreme, that "some amount" is the loss to legit sources, as it went to pirates who didn't pay for the product to start with.

    The judge makes it clear money is changing hands here. I just cannot imagine why he cannot see that at least those amounts are "lost", even if not every one would buy. Perhaps if the owners had a special? Perhaps the supply and demand curve could work to bring a lower price to market, except the demand side is curtailed by pirates.

    Thank you judge, there is no economic impact of piracy at all! (Yeah right!).

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "If they were will to pay (as the judge mentions in his judgement) then there is a solid possiblity they would actually pay for the real product in absence of the pirated version they purchased."

    There also remains a solid possibility that they wouldn't.

    "clearly the consumer was willing to pay some amount"

    But not necessarily the amount being demanded by the legal sellers at the time.

    "Even if you take it to the extreme, that "some amount" is the loss to legit sources, as it went to pirates who didn't pay for the product to start with."

    This seems to be where you're tripping up. There may have been some loss, there may not. There's no way to quantify it either way.

    The best way forward, as I always advocate here, is to ask "why did they pirate". If you can just accept for a moment that "it was free!" is not always the reason why people pirate, then you can look at correcting the market so that it's better serviced by legal options.

    "Thank you judge, there is no economic impact of piracy at all! (Yeah right!)."

    Twisting his words to say something he didn't say is not the way to debate this issue. Stop doing it, please.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wait, wha? You conclude that because there is a will to pay, it logically follows that price would never cause someone to decline a sale (which is the judge's real point)?

    Toss those decades of economic thinking out the window. Newsflash! Price is irrelevant to successful business models! Set your price at whatever you want and every person that desires your product will pay! Woo hoo! You've solved the economic crisis!

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As someone who pays, or has paid, for Hulu, Netflix, Mog and Gamefly, I can attest that "because it's free" is not why I might pirate. However, "because it's unavailable in the format or on the device I want", "because it's over priced" and "because I'm unsure of the quality of the product" are all reasons I might pirate.

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    Paddy Duke (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re:

    I voted this post insightful but I do wish you hadn’t used the term 'lost sale'. It’s a bogus term that implies you are costing someone money by not doing business with them.

    The possible reasons for not doing business with someone else are so numerous that there is no way to know that someone would have made a purchase if not for one specific factor.

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't know if I agree. If anything, it more explicitly shows that people are willing to pay, but the legitimate sources are pricing it too high."

    Well... yes and no. I'll always come back to availability as a major point here rather than simple pricing, although the price may be a factor.

    To give my personal example, I live in a moderately popular tourist area, and all year round you'll see sellers wandering around with bags of pirated DVDs. It's not uncommon for people to have a few beers, then ask one of those guys for a selection to watch when they get home. They do this partly for the availability of the titles they want, partly due to convenience and partly (perhaps) due to pricing.

    Why do they do that rather than go to the local DVD outlet or rental store to get one? Simple: there isn't one. There are a couple of DVD rental stores a few miles away, but their selection is variable, and they often only have discs with Spanish soundtracks without subtitles - no good to English-speaking tourists and residents. To the best of my knowledge, the nearest store that carries a decent DVD selection for either sale or rent is nearly 20 miles away. There is no Netflix equivalent available (for either streaming or physical media), nor Redbox, nor any similar service. Then, of course, anyone already paying for a service in the UK or elsewhere is not permitted to access it while they're here due to regional restrictions.

    Demand is completely unserviced. The market is ripe for a legal alternative service, but they refuse to offer one. Then they complain when the people with no legal options go the pirate route...

    "The answers are staring them in the face, but they refuse to see them."

    Indeed.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re:

    Nothing illegal is truely "free", there are risk factors that can make it substantially more expensive to obtain "free" illegal content than it would have been to obtain the content legally.

    When you are found guilty of pirating content the legal expenses, fines and damage claims far exceed the cost of licensing the original content. This is done to penalize infringers and to dissuade others from infringing.

    When you are illegally obtaining content you expose yourself to the risk of prosecution. The cost of the risk is intangible until you are caught and then it becomes very real.

    Regardless of your views on the potential sales gained by pirated content, it is the rights holder's right to determine how their products are marketed, distributed and licensed.

    If you don't like how they do business don't use their content (game, movie, song, etc..)

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Nothing illegal is truely "free", there are risk factors that can make it substantially more expensive to obtain "free" illegal content than it would have been to obtain the content legally."

    Yet, if someone chooses to "pirate" anyway, those risk factors are a far lower cost than that being asked for legal content. Perhaps you should address the carrot part of the equation rather than concentrating on making the stick bigger.

    "it is the rights holder's right to determine how their products are marketed, distributed and licensed."

    It is also the rights holders prerogative to lose money when they fail to address the needs of the market. Don't come bitching to me about "lost sales" in Spain when you make it prohibitively expensive, difficult or restrictive to obtain the product, or don't offer it legally at all. You can't have it both ways.

    "If you don't like how they do business don't use their content (game, movie, song, etc..)"

    I don't, yet you idiots still insist of trying to break the freedom and laws of the country instead of simply offering a decent product at a reasonable price.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    hothmonster, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:24am

    I hope the repeated mentions of "Buy a pirated copy" are just a translation mishap.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    hothmonster, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    When some guy walks into the bar with box full of movies and says 5 for 10 dollars I will purchase a lot of things I have little interest and would never have bought new. If I end up really liking it I may be a legal version because the quality will be much much better, at worst I will tell a bunch of people how awesome it is.

    There is very large divide between what I will buy for a couple bucks and what I will buy for 20+.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    lol

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Indeed. So imagine how people living in Spain, where none of those services are available, must feel about it...

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re:

    Because the quality is better

    Because an official movie box looks better on the shelf

    Because people know that giving money to people who make stuff you like means those people will make more stuff you rpobably like

    and all the reasons he said ^

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:48am

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

    Location restrictions on digital goods really needs to go away. That right there would probably knock a large chunk of piracy away.

    Literally a win-win.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re:

    ""That the person has chosen to consume the product, but chosen not to obtain it in a legal manner does show loss."

    Prove it. Show your work.
    "

    It's a pretty easy one Paul, should I type more slowly?

    THe consumer was willing to pay an amount X, but paid it to someone without the rights to make that sale, without the rights to the product. That means that a sale occurred, but the legit seller did not get the money. Therefore, you have a lost sale because the money went to a pirate.

    Your country is a cesspool of legal problems with it comes to content laws, so much so that I cannot see anyone intentionally wanting to do business there.

    As for importing from abroad, you might want to consider that you appear to be an english person living in a Spanish country. How large do you really think the market would be for the DVD titles you have purchased abroad?

    Remember too, that almost every country has it's own laws regarding packaging, presentation, and so on, and many have restrictions on the number of titles in the non-native language that can be imported or offered for sale. You need to look at the whole picture before you blinding blame the content producers for your woes. Much of it appears to be what you brought onto yourself.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "If they were will to pay (as the judge mentions in his judgement) then there is a solid possiblity they would actually pay for the real product in absence of the pirated version they purchased."

    This is the warped mentality that allows content distributors to justify their "lost sales" beliefs. The infringed copy gave them reason to buy it after the fact of reviewing it first. There was no impetus to buy it before the user was able to ascertain the value of the work. You're making an unsupported assumption. You're starting with the conclusion you want to draw and then making the data fit that conclusion.

    "There is no one to one way to compare, but clearly the consumer was willing to pay some amount. Even if you take it to the extreme, that "some amount" is the loss to legit sources, as it went to pirates who didn't pay for the product to start with."

    Again, assumptions based on nothing and now you make the assumption that infringers are making profit from it. Let me tell you, the majority of sharing copyrighted works goes without profiting from the act. Most tend to give it away freely. Only sleaze on street corners selling burned copies are trying to make a profit from it.

    "The judge makes it clear money is changing hands here. I just cannot imagine why he cannot see that at least those amounts are "lost", even if not every one would buy."

    How is "money is changing hands" relevant? It's a complete non-sequitur. Secondly, nobody has the right to claim damages on what they "might" have had. You can only claim loss on that which you already had. Lost potential sales is an immeasurable thing because you can't be certain of how a person would act in differing circumstances that haven't happened yet. "Lost sales" is a bullshit excuse to claim broader protection and infringement on civil rights. It enrages me that your profits should take priority over my rights as a human being.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's a pretty easy one Paul, should I type more slowly?

    Not only does this comment add nothing to the conversation, it makes you look really, really stupid, because it makes no sense. We're trying to improve the level of discourse here. Please try and be civil.

    THe consumer was willing to pay an amount X, but paid it to someone without the rights to make that sale, without the rights to the product. That means that a sale occurred, but the legit seller did not get the money. Therefore, you have a lost sale because the money went to a pirate.

    You're absolutely right, there was a missed sales oppurtunity here, but the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the legit seller. The consumer is willing to pay X. There is no reason why the X couldn't go to the legit seller, except that the legit seller did something to discourage the X from going to him. Maybe the legit seller wanted X+Y, which was outside the buyer's price point. Maybe, because of ongoing litigation, the legit seller has lost the goodwill of the buyer. Maybe the product in question is not available in the location of the buyer in a legitimate fashion. Maybe the product is not in the format the buyer requires. There could be any number of reasons why the money didn't go to the legit seller, but every single one of them can be traced back to a bad business decision by the legitimate seller.

    I, for one, am glad we're finally at a point where we agree that it's not all about "getting things for free".

    As for importing from abroad, you might want to consider that you appear to be an english person living in a Spanish country. How large do you really think the market would be for the DVD titles you have purchased abroad?

    I'm going to ignore the fact that you seem to believe a human can only know one language at a time and answer your question with another question. If there is no legitmate market of English movies in Spain (or wherever) then is pirating (or buying from an unauthorized source) an English movie in Spain hurting anyone? If it's not hurting anyone, then why do you object to it?

    Remember too, that almost every country has it's own laws regarding packaging, presentation, and so on, and many have restrictions on the number of titles in the non-native language that can be imported or offered for sale. You need to look at the whole picture before you blinding blame the content producers for your woes. Much of it appears to be what you brought onto yourself.

    I'm going to ignore the fact that you just blamed someone in Spain for the entirety of the laws in Spain. I will agree to look at the whole picture with respect to why there are no English movies in Spain if you will look at the whole picture with respect to why piracy can be, and often is, not a such bad thing, and maybe even a good thing. Deal?

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I meant to edit out "bad" from "bad business decision by the legitimate seller" because I forgot to take into account, as you said, local laws that may affect the seller, and things of that nature.

    Oops. :)

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You're absolutely right, there was a missed sales oppurtunity here, but the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the legit seller. "

    This is your first mistake. If the legit seller has to sell under their cost just to compete with pirated versions of their own products, we have a failed business model that will shut them down quickly. There is no simple way to compete with someone selling your product at a fraction of the price because they have little or no overhead or costs to get the product to their market. We aren't talking similar competing products, we are talking the same product.

    How can it be the legit sellers fault if they cannot afford to sell at a loss?

    "If there is no legitmate market of English movies in Spain (or wherever) then is pirating (or buying from an unauthorized source) an English movie in Spain hurting anyone? "

    Second mistake. There is a small just existing market in Spain for english language materials, but there is also apparently no will by these consumers to pay what it would cost to get it into the marketplace. Producing a DVD product for a given market place, and being in compliance with local laws isn't as easy as just shipping a stack from the UK and slamming them on shelves. Some government regulation to local distribution agreements and even govenrment imposed mandates on distribution, it isn't as simple as all that.

    Yes, piracy gets around all of that - but reflects mostly the customers desire not to pay for their scarce good (english content in Spain).

    "I'm going to ignore the fact that you just blamed someone in Spain for the entirety of the laws in Spain. "

    What I mean when I say " you brought onto yourself" is that Paul made the choice, for whatever reason, to move into a marketplace that doesn't supply him the content he desires. That isn't the content company's fault, nor should they suffer as a result. In the same manner, while I am working in Hong Kong, I don't expect to see many english movies for sale on every street corner. It's the nature of the beast. I accept that as a consequence of my choices in work and residence.

    Piracy may "solve" the consumers issue, but it also guts what little market may exist for that content in Spain, as an example. The shortage of english content may be in part caused by the fact that so few people pay for it, that it is hard to justify attempting to support a legal marketplace.

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    It's not a mystery, really. It's because they're not worried about piracy, they're worried about the loss of control over the channel. Radio is a channel they have total control over. The internet is one they have nearly no control over. In that view, everything the labels are doing makes total sense.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    I know more than a few people who've done this.

    The thing is, and this is a point that many maximalists seem unable to understand, that in many, perhaps most, cases people who pirate are fully willing to pay, and many end up doing so. The point is often not to get something for free, but to get something in a useful form, or conveniently.

     

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

  47.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the legit seller has to sell under their cost just to compete with pirated versions of their own products, we have a failed business model that will shut them down quickly.

    I don't know about you, but I never think about, when deciding if I can buy something, if the price is sustainable for the seller. It's not in my personal equation for price vs value. I can't imagine it is in anyone else's, but I can't say for sure.

    There is no simple way to compete with someone selling your product at a fraction of the price because they have little or no overhead or costs to get the product to their market.

    No one ever said it would be simple. That beiong said, the free market will drive prices to their marginal cost, so you really shouldn't factor in all that overhead you just factored in. Plus, I find the suggestion that a $5 (or whatever) DVD isn't profitable when sold in the quantity they are. Maybe not *as profitable* as selling it for $20, but still.

    The real issue is that for decades there was a physical monopoly held by these businesses, so they didn't have to worry about the free markets. Those decades turned the businesses into fat, slow, encumbered sloths (figuratively speaking) and they no longer know how to survive in a market with competition. It sucks for them, I agree, but it doesn't change the fact.

    Yes, piracy gets around all of that - but reflects mostly the customers desire not to pay for their scarce good (english content in Spain).

    If you can't find a cheap way to get digital goods to Spain, then you're in big trouble. (Hint: how much did it cost you to send the post I'm replying to?) Now, it may be that there are so many contracts and rights licensed out to different countries that it becomes a thicket that makes it near impossible to get the digital good to spain, but is that the consumer's fault? Of course not. A greedy businessman relaized he could sell the same thing (rights to X) over and over again in different countries without doing any extra work, and now it's coming back to bite him. Oops? Better luck next time!

    What I mean when I say " you brought onto yourself" is that Paul made the choice, for whatever reason, to move into a marketplace that doesn't supply him the content he desires.

    .....?

    I'm sorry, what? How do you know he wasn't born there? I'm going to ignore this statement because it makes my nose bleed. Moving on...

    In the same manner, while I am working in Hong Kong, I don't expect to see many english movies for sale on every street corner.

    Yes, but if you pirate an english movie in a market where there is no english movies being sold, you haven't hurt anyone. At all. The seller didn't lose a sale because he isn't offering anything for sale.

    I accept that as a consequence of my choices in work and residence.

    I'm sorry, I can't ignore this, nosebleeds be damned. Are you suggesting people should quit their job and move their entire lives so they can have better access to the movies they want? Really? You're just fucking with me, right?

    Piracy may "solve" the consumers issue, but it also guts what little market may exist for that content in Spain, as an example.

    In the free market, the consumer is king. This is the bottom line. If you don't please your potential customers, they will turn on you, without a care that it might destroy your business.

    The shortage of english content may be in part caused by the fact that so few people pay for it, that it is hard to justify attempting to support a legal marketplace.

    Perhaps. It's sort of a chicken or an egg thing, really. However, with digital goods, if a pirate can bring the product to a new market, then there's no good reason why a legit seller can't. Once the product is made in one market, it costs almost nothing to bring it to the entire world.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Goyo, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:28pm

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

    But there are not location restriction on digital goods. Just location restriction on access to licensed services.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:40pm

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

    "I don't know about you, but I never think about, when deciding if I can buy something, if the price is sustainable for the seller. It's not in my personal equation for price vs value. I can't imagine it is in anyone else's, but I can't say for sure."

    Exactly. But if you didn't have the pirate alternative at a lower price to sway your decision, might you consider the slightly higher priced "original" product because you have no other options? See, this is where piracy over time erodes the marketplace, because it provides a low cost (or no cost) option that can and does effect the way people look at the prices from legit sources.

    "if a pirate can bring the product to a new market, then there's no good reason why a legit seller can't. Once the product is made in one market, it costs almost nothing to bring it to the entire world."

    Not true. Most markets require a local distributor, and a version that is in keeping with local laws for everything from labeling to language on the box. Pirates ignore the rules. They don't have that sort of overhead to deal with. It's not really a fair fight at that point.

     

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

  50.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    Um, no they don't.

    Actually, they do...kinda (in the US, I am not sure about other places.)

    They are required to buy a license for the broadcasting of the work. Fees are paid to BMI and ASCAP, and the money to those companies are supposed to go to the artists who wrote the song, not the performer or the distributor. Radio stations pay a yearly license to BMI/ASCAP and in return, they can play music.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Anselm, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    The main difference between Radio and content is that you never know when you preferred content/music will be broadcasted, and you may need to wait for commercial and other artist before hearing your preferred one.

    Radio are paying themselves with advertisement and other product placements, which in turn pay for staff salaries and government tax. Pirates don't pay tax, don't contribute legally to the society you're living in and don't support your social security (and no polemics about big corp who don't pay, that's not the topic)

    Content you buy can be played anytime, anywhere, and that's what the pirate is aiming for. Buying a good quality counterfeit music/video doesn't give me the need to support the industry. I did maybe for few of the video because I really love it but 95% will stay in their pirate format.

    Piracy in some countries are run by mafia and other illegal organization, so buying fake goods is financing them.

    Finally, I would say that nobody would like to see their job provided at a fraction of your salary. If somebody goes to your boss and say : I gonna work for 10% of his cost, but if you like him you keep him and pay him the same, what would you do? At the end, your boss ends up with more or less the same quality, lower cost. You can still say that's unfair, but your boss can use the same argument people used to legitimate piracy.

    ...

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:06pm

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

    >I'm sorry, I can't ignore this, nosebleeds be damned. Are you suggesting people should quit their job and move their entire lives so they can have better access to the movies they want? Really? You're just fucking with me, right?

    I'll note that the same troll cherry-picked this point and ignored it, so yeah, you can freely assume he's just fucking with you.

     

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

  53.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It's a pretty easy one Paul, should I type more slowly?"

    Perhaps. i don't see any proof, just a re-run of numerous logical fallacies and false assumptions that can never be proven.

    "Your country is a cesspool of legal problems "

    No, YOUR country is a cesspool of legal problems. You just have a habit of exporting them to other countries.

    "How large do you really think the market would be for the DVD titles you have purchased abroad?"

    At least as large as the profits you morons think you're "lost" due to piracy, when in fact I (and several friends) have merely bought legal content abroad. When we're allowed to, of course. I can state hundreds of dollars worth of purchases your friends have refused due to regional restrictions.

    "almost every country has it's own laws regarding packaging, presentation, and so on"

    What does that have to do with the digital content I'm trying to request?

    "many have restrictions on the number of titles in the non-native language that can be imported or offered for sale"

    Not Spain. You know, the country under discussion.

    "You need to look at the whole picture before you blinding blame the content producers for your woes"

    You need to stop being a fucking idiot. Sadly, while I'm trying to convince producers to actually offer legal content to me, you will still be a moron.

    "Much of it appears to be what you brought onto yourself."

    Yes, that's right. I can't legally pay for the content I want, and that's my fault. Nothing will ever change this, because apparently being in charge of a content producer and commenting on forums requires a lobotomy. There's really no other explanation for your idiotic position.

     

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

  54.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If the legit seller has to sell under their cost just to compete with pirated versions of their own products, we have a failed business model that will shut them down quickly."

    Interesting assumption. The fact that they DON'T have to do this has never entered that pea brain of your, has it?

    "There is a small just existing market in Spain for english language materials"

    Not as small as idiots like you seem to assume.

    "there is also apparently no will by these consumers to pay what it would cost to get it into the marketplace"

    Again, there's plenty of will, but no OPPORTUNITY. You might as well claim that becuase people paid for VHS, there's no market for DVD. Idiocy.

    "Yes, piracy gets around all of that - but reflects mostly the customers desire not to pay for their scarce good (english content in Spain)."

    I'll say it again for the hard-of-thinking around here - people DO pay for such content around here. They just don't have a reasonable legal outlet to do so. As a rabid movie fan who collects DVDs, I find it difficult, and when I do I have to import from another country. Does this not indicate a massive problem?

    "The shortage of english content may be in part caused by the fact that so few people pay for it, that it is hard to justify attempting to support a legal marketplace."

    All you fucking morons have to do is equalise your regional licensing regime so that people residing in Spain are able to access Netflix, Lovefilm, Hulu or any other streaming service. You don't have to set up a new service, you just have to allow people to access what already exists.

    It's a shame that you're too stupid to realise this, but those are your profits you're pissing away.

     

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

  55.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 12:50am

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

    "But if you didn't have the pirate alternative at a lower price to sway your decision, might you consider the slightly higher priced "original" product because you have no other options?"

    No, actually.

    A quick example: I have a Kindle which I bought through a UK account. I'm a big Stephen King fan. I saw review of his new book, I'm flying to New York today, so I thought I'd grab it to read on the flight. I looked at the price: hardback £9.99. Kindle £9.99.

    So, I said "fuck that, I'll read something else". There's no way I'm going to spend £10 on a book that I can't loan, resell or whatever. I'll wait for the paperback and hopefully a drop in price. Remember: this is a book by an author I love and have read everything he's written.

    There you go: lost sale, and it's got fuck all to do with piracy, only the publisher's greed on a product that costs virtually nothing for them to print and distribute. I do have the pirate option, of course (which I won't take), but nothing will make me pay the current asking price for that product.

    "Most markets require a local distributor, and a version that is in keeping with local laws for everything from labeling to language on the box."

    Why don't you state the laws in the country we're discussing? It would make a change from random false assumptions.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    FuzzyDuck, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    Wait what? You can't hear your favorite songs when you want on the radio? As a teenager I spent years taping stuff from radio, so I could listen to it when I wanted. I still have a big box full of cassettes to testify for my crimes.

    As a result of which I didn't *have* to buy it. To use MAFIAA parlance, not that I would have that's another point.

     

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

  57.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    If a relative makes a copy of a CD and gives it to me.........

    I will NOT go out and buy a "legal" one. I may buy another from the same artist or group "legally", if I happen to like what I hear or see, but if you think I'm gonna turn down free, you need to have your head examined by a stonecutter. On the other hand, I have never, ever bought shit from the usual losers and crackheads on street corners in Manhattan even if it were 50 cents a copy, because I know the quality will usually suck, or maybe not even be what it purports to be at all. Plus, you might pick up cooties from them in doing so. I don't know what the laws on the previously mentioned relative scenario are, but then, I really don't care. There's no way for them to find out, so it never happened. Simple. Easy. Works for me. Now let's see the usual IP maximalist douchebaggery responses, to which my response is, "Waddya gonna do about it, punk-ass?".

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anselm, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    I did the same, but the quality was never the same as a CD or a genuine cassette.
    Today's pirate version are very close to original.

     

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

  59.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Radio causes lost sales

    If my boss could find somebody able and willing to do my job for a tenth of my pay, I could hardly blame him for replacing me.

    It means I'm expecting too much, compared to what other in the market are willing to settle for.

    Now, I come with years of experience at my job, and charming disposition. Plus that new guy doesn't shower. If I want my job back, I'm going to have to lower my demands. I don't necessarily have to go as low as Stinky, but if I offer to take a 30% pay cut, my boss might just be willing to get ME instead of the other guy.

    So, I don't really see a problem here aside from complaining about competition.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This