MPAA Starts Backing Away, Slowly, From Bogus Piracy Stats (But New Bogus Stats Are On Their Way)

from the about-time dept

We've been among the many, many people who have highlighted the MPAA's penchant for using totally bogus "piracy" numbers in arguing for why it needs ever stronger copyright laws and enforcement. Others have stepped in with thorough debunkings as well, including its favorite "$58 billion" in losses that was bandied about regularly during the SOPA fight. The Government Accountability Office famously mocked the MPAA's piracy claims as totally unsubstantiated, in part because the MPAA wouldn't even explain the basis for the numbers it used.

It appears that so many people now realize that the MPAA's claims on "losses" from piracy are so ridiculous that even the MPAA has decided not to use those numbers any more. Buried in a longer Wall Street Journal piece by Carl Bialik is this tidbit:
But the MPAA is focusing elsewhere, and no longer citing the earlier studies, after an internal review that followed the SOPA debate, MPAA spokesman Howard Gantman said. “At the current time we do not actively cite the figures directly relating to movie piracy, as the landscape has changed significantly since these studies were conducted both regarding the growth of broadband and the development of streaming technology, as well as the introduction of hundreds of new sites world-wide for viewing legal online content,” Gantman said.
That's not to say that the MPAA has suddenly become reasonable. The rest of that article highlights other, highly questionable, attempts by the MPAA to justify its maximalist agenda, including new research, some of which seems to rely on similarly questionable methodology. But, at the very least, it appears that the "old" bogus numbers have been so discredited that even the MPAA won't use them any more.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 6:54am

    ... Is the world ending?

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    No no my friend, they are preparing the next bogus numbers they'll throw around. If they are smart enough they'll trim down to more mundane and acceptable numbers still large enough to justify the need for more draconian laws. Shall we bet on this prediction?

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Jeff (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    Bets

    I wouldn't take that bet if I were you...

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    One question

    "hundreds of new sites world-wide for viewing legal online content"

    Where are these 100s of sites for viewing legal content?

     

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

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Mike,

    Speaking of bogus numbers, when are you going to have an honest discussion on the merits as to the value of the articles Swartz downloaded from JSTOR? You've claimed that the feds had to fudge things to get to that $5,000 threshold, yet he downloaded millions of articles that sell for about $20 to $40 each. Why can't you have an honest discussion about that? I mean, clearly you're all about looking at the actual numbers, right?

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    artp (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Prediction

    New research will NOT show that piracy improves sales.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    they will continue to use the same numbers, the same stats but will rename where they came from and who arrived at the results. the really troubling thing is that congress will continue to use and take notice of whatever lies and bull shit the entertainment industries put out so as to be able to assist in any way possible and keep the coffers filled up with 'campaign contributions'. all the totally independent and reliable, truthful studies will still be ignored, just as before. let's face it, no politician received financial help from anywhere or anyone if they did and gave nothing in return

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:48am

    Re: One question

    How about they show us a list of the 100 sites with urls. Oh wait I bet they dont.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: One question

    The new sites will be called...Napster and Limewire.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    You keep on saying the same words in a different order.

    Snore.

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    Jeff (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    Might I suggest you check the numbers... of the meds you're supposed to be taking?

     

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

  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Study: Megaupload closure boosted Hollywood sales 10%

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/08/megaupload_piracy_study/

    Which even Mike doesn't question as to fact, only quibbles with obvious conclusion.

     

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

  13. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    Re:

    I mean, clearly you're all about looking at the actual numbers, right?

    Only when they support his cause. Otherwise... not so much.

     

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

  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:03am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Odd that article wasn't subject of a TD follow up. Wonder why?

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Same tired link with the same limited study. Yawn.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Which was bought and paid by the MAFFIA and for the MAFFIA.

    Anyone who pays and buys a study to be conducted will always have the results to be shown in their favour.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re: One question

    There are hundreds alright, but there is only one exclusive contract per content, meaning in a de facto maner there is only one place to go.

    The beauty of monopolies.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:15am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Remember the studies and finding reports that were conducted by Cigarette manufactures and written by their supporters that always showed that smoking does not cause harm. Guess when smoking causes lung cancer etc. that is no harm is it lol

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re: Bets

    *pinky to lip*: Fifty - SEVEN billion dollerrrs...

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    The boy's off his meds...again.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    The study didn't account for seasonal differences, nor the release of new movies and tv shows previously unavailable during the time period, thereby increasing demand.
    Aer you really that desperate, boy?

     

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

  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    Mike's the one talking about the FUD-packing Hollywood Hatefest, so the question remains, what about this completely unrelated subject? How much does tea go for in China, huh, what about that? Just looking for an honest answer here.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    About 2 bucks. But most of the Chinese have moved on to Starbucks.

     

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

  24. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re:

    Unfortunately, you're right. Mike's demand for accuracy varies with the context. He will never actually address this because that would mean being honest about Swartz. Mike doesn't do honesty when it comes to Swartz. He's incapable.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    There actually was an article. Two, actually. Good to see you never pay attention.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Re:

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    The articles were available for free in MIT network - a network that had no security at all and was meant to be public - and Swartz did not make them available at any point even going as far as giving the HDD that contained the downloaded articles back to JSTOR who did not even pursue him. Your point?

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Should check to see if he commented in them. That would be hard proof that he doesn't read them before commenting.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    A study was done amongst myself and 1 out of 1 me polled agrees that you are untrustworthy and lack credibility.

    That must be empirical evidence, because it was a study that was done.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: One question

    That would be seen as copyright infringement! You cannot make a list of the 100s of sites without having 10 pages of clauses about not being sued for possible future abuses of the list signed. If you weren't an anonymous coward like me I would have taken your blasphemy as stupidity!

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    HE did. Which is the funny part.

    Maybe he should get checked out for dementia.

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    Joe Magly (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    I would question it as fact. It looks like the study was more based on correlation of digital sales without looking at the wider industry. In the same time frame that Megaupload was taken down the following also happened:

    * Amazon adds 5000 videos to Amazon Instant Video and begins heavily promoting it on their site

    * Hulu starts getting real traction by adding advertising allowing them to expand their catalog.

    * A number of networks decided to follow some form of the route taken by South Park by hosting streams for their own shows/movies.

    * Digital download editions of physical media began to be sold

    * Walmart offers a digital transfer service that allows consumers to copy their DVDs to a digital format

    I'm sure there is more.

    So while shutting down megaupload may have had an affect on piracy the numbers are questionable due to the fact so many other big shifts to digital happened in the same few years and gained traction all around the same space of 12-24 months.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Hey, for the linked study above, Mike has already said that he has no issue with the methodology.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Exactly! Another study even found that the seasonal variation was there a year before the closedown. That is, heck of a closedown, that is! When you can change the world a year before you arrive I will accept you as divine!

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: One question

    So they can't give us the list of 100's sites that they say are new and for viewing legal online content because that would be copyright. I can now see the 2 faced logic of the MAFFIA. They say there are new sites that are legal and yet won't give us the list because it's copyright well how can they expect us to visit these sites when they won't give us the details. Obviously they don't want us to visit these sites and its no wonder people are going to non legal sites when they won't give us the details of the new sites available. Still I bet they go screaming to the government stating that no one is visiting these new sites and blaming piracy again but its there fault for not giving us the details of the new sites. /Sarcasm

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Ruben, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    CORRELATION EQUALS CAUSATION.

    ALWAYS.

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A bit more, I'm afraid.

    Someone stole all the tea again.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    The landscape has changed in that when you say something absolutely ridiculous there are enough media outlets with large audiences that will call you out on it. The old model, where monopolists simply own the media and you can say what you want and get away with it, no longer works quite as well.

    Still, this shows why government established media monopolies for private use should never be tolerated. Abolish government established broadcasting and cableco monopolies.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    psema4, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re: One question

    "Not available in your region"

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    Now I'm not saying that the government shouldn't have any regulations over spectra whatsoever. What I'm saying is that the government establishing a monopoly over any spectra for private or commercial use should not be tolerated.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Brad, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: One question

    Well, to be fair (not that they deserve it), it might be possible that globally there are in excess of 100 legal streaming entities. I doubt there are multiple hundreds, and I don't think they are all websites...

    As usual, it likely depends on the details... If I look on my Roku box, they advertise 700 "channels", and there are a number that have legal Hollywood movies to stream. Not that they are any good, but they are available (during a specific viewing window to be determined by the rights holder)...

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    One thing doesn't make sense

    How can numbers actually be so bogus that the MPAA won't use them? This would presuppose that the MPAA has some upper threshold on bogosity.

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Odd that article wasn't subject of a TD follow up. Wonder why?


    Odd, actually, that you'd say that when I actually wrote a three part series of posts about it, in which I actually noted that I thought the methodology was sound.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 11:32am

    Does the MPAA report these 'loses' on its tax returns?
    If MPAA is going sue prirates for loses they should be at least able to prove where these loses occured - if these loses where proveable at all should they not be reported on there tax returns or in their accounting books? Much like lost revenue due to items in stores?

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Re:

    I wonder if the IRS will be able to sue the MPAA for sending in false tax returns.

     

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

  46. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    When are you going to have a follow-up on that study you quotes several times that said patent "trolls" cost us $29B per year? Did you think the methodology there was sound, or did you just ignore it and go for the FUD-filled headline? Hmmm....

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    The academics were keen to stress that the study wasn't funded by the MPAA, and that the anonymous studios providing the sales data had no editorial control but it's worth noting that IDEA itself was created last year with funds provided by the MPAA.

    You see that? THE MPAA created an organization a while back so it could say "ah but this study wasn't funded by us"..but the whole study-group itself was paid for by the MPAA in the first place....there was just a delay between that and the studying being done.

     

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

  48.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Apr 12th, 2013 @ 12:55am

    Re: One question

    There are probably hundreds worldwide right now. However, most markets have a choice of only one or two, if that - and they're probably just referring to localised services with very limited selections and not available outside of that particular region.

    For example, in Spain there's no Netflix, Lovefilm, Hulu, etc. but there are a couple of Spanish broadcasters that stream the content they show - mostly locally produced shows with few movies. There's also an on demand service with cable providers, but these aren't available in most places, or another service tied to certain ADSL contracts. Especially when looking at movies, the selection is very poor compared to the UK, and the UK's selection is pathetic compared to the US. It could be claimed that Spain has 7 or 8 legal sources by the broadest criteria, but until a Netflix is allowed to service the market, it's not a real alternative for large sections of the consumer base.

    So, they're technically correct that if you count up the number of sites available in the world, there's hundreds. But, sites available worldwide, as in you can access them no matter where you happen to be at the time without having to resort to VPNs and other trickery? Virtually none.

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 12th, 2013 @ 3:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Right, NOW they've EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE:

    Hahahahahahahaha!!! Man you are pitiful! He just nailed you in the arse (when he didn't even have to bother since the articles are there and I was surprised to see him agreeing with the methodology even though it has several limitations) and you can't just stop attacking and actually say anything productive. You are comically pitiful.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2013 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re:

    Oops, his head exploded.

    Please don't abuse AC with logical reasoning!

     

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


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