by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 24th 2011 9:13am
from the using-their-methodology dept
It should be obvious why this is ridiculous. It's asking the most biased party, who would benefit the most from government protectionism in their favor, to give totally self-reported details of the "harm" that happens without increased government protectionism, with no attempt to reality-check those results.
One of our critics in the comments responded with a fallacy, suggesting that somehow we should not be allowed to criticize the clearly specious methodology here, without offering an alternative study and results of our own. Of course, to point out that a study's methodology is wrong does not mean that you need to supply your own numbers. And, of course, we regularly point to plenty of good studies on these kinds of subjects as well.
However, an anonymous commenter made the absolutely brilliant suggestion that we should create our own study, using their methodology to calculate how much the public loses each year due to overprotective anti-copy laws. And, so we are. Just as the ITC asked those who had most thought about their "losses" from infringement, I think it's fair to suggest that the readership here includes plenty of people who have thought deeply about the public's losses from overprotection. Thus, I'm hoping we can put together a similar corpus of data from which we can extrapolate a similar number about the public's losses. You can input your own estimate of your losses here:
Of course, to make this work, we really would like to get as much data as possible (and we really do want you to try to answer the question as honestly as you can -- i.e., don't just make up some crazy large number, but think about it). However, please also spread this post by letting other communities of folks who likely have thought about these issues know about it, so that we can really collect enough data to make this meaningful (in as much as you can make a totally ridiculous and bogus methodology meaningful).
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 30th 2011 8:07am
from the and-there-you-go dept
And yet, the $800 million number has lived on, boosted by inflation to $1.3 billion.
And it's still bunk. Gerd Leonhard points us to some new research that appears to have dug deeper into the question today, and found (once again) that the $1.3 billion claim is total bunk and the real number is more like $55 million -- based on the same data used by the study used to support the $1.3 billion number. In fact, they point out that it appears the pharma industry and those seeking greater protectionism appear to be overestimating the actual cost of drug development by $1.265 billion.
Now, there are some reasonable quibbles with the lower number as well, but there's a growing body of evidence that the real number is a lot closer to the lower one than the higher one. There are certainly some outliers, but the idea that the average cost to develop a new drug is over a billion dollars, and therefore pharma companies need special extra protection is bunk and certainly shouldn't be cited any more.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 21st 2010 10:57am
from the come-out,-pony-up dept
Of course, BPI can't accept those numbers, so its commissioned its own study which (of course!) claims that the cost to ISPs would be tiny. Hell, they'd barely be noticeable at all.
Well, if BPI is so sure of this, how about it steps up and puts some money behind that claim. I would imagine that ISPs would feel a bit more comfortable about supporting the Digital Economy Bill if BPI promised to pay any of the fees above and beyond what its own estimates are for implementing the plan. According to BPI's analysis, it would cost ISPs all of £13.85 million ($22.5 million) in the first year, £9 million ($14.6 million) in the second year and just £3.45 million ($5.6 million) in the last year. Hell, if it's such a small cost, how about BPI pays for the whole thing. Only fair, right? After all, the whole purpose behind the plan is to prop up BPI members' business models because they'd rather not adapt. Seems only right that they should pay for it.
from the um,-no dept
While the debate rages on over how to properly count the "cost" of such failures, I'm beginning to wonder how useful such a number is. Isn't a more useful discussion on how to prevent or minimize the impact of any such failures? The aggregate number may look good in being able to see some big number, but aggregate numbers can hide important details inside. For example, back in the early (and even late) 90s there were lots of reports about how computerizing your business was not shown to have added any productivity. A poor conclusion from this was that computering your business was not a smart idea. But the problem was that this was aggregate data. It failed to realize that many, many businesses had boosted productivity through the use of computers, and many of the large failures that wiped out the aggregate "gains" were from a few big businesses that did a really poor implementation. It didn't mean that computerizing was necessarily a bad idea, but that some of the biggest early players just did a bad job of it.
So, if we're going to be discussing IT failures, why not step away from that aggregate info and try to focus in on ways to actually minimize the impact of whatever IT failures might occur?
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 28th 2009 2:19pm
UK Government Report Shows That Digital Economy Bill Will Cost More Than Highest 'Piracy' Estimates, Drive 40,000 Offline
from the this-is-good-for-who-exactly? dept
You might think that this would be reason enough to drop the bill as quickly as possible, but not so fast. The report also, without any evidence, suggests that the same law would also increase sales for the music and movie industry by £1.7 billion over the next ten years. That's odd, because there's still no one who can explain how kicking people off the internet actually gets anyone else to buy anything. In fact, we already have proof that it won't. Prior to the threats of losing your internet access were the much more threatening prospect of ending up being fined millions for sharing two dozen songs. And that didn't convince people to buy more.
Either way, the cost side of the equation makes it quite clear that this is the government asking consumers to artificially foot the bill for an entertainment industry that appears unwilling to adapt to a changing marketplace that requires new business models.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 19th 2009 8:11pm
london evening standard
from the but-free-doesn't-work!! dept
This actually brings up a point that's rarely talked about in the free vs. paid debate. Charging can be expensive. It takes quite a bit of effort to charge, to take money, to manage the money, to set up the accounting and bureaucracy for managing each transaction. And, even worse, if you're working with third party distributors, like news agents, then you have to handle financial relationships with them as well. Getting rid of the per paper price changes the economics not just on the revenue side, but on the cost side as well -- something that's rarely discussed at all. And, yes, this impacts online news orgs too. Putting up a paywall is going to prove a lot more expensive than most people think on the cost side.
from the inefficiency-at-work... dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Nov 19th 2008 8:33am
from the got-your-attention? dept
"A $69 billion figure is staggering to contemplate, but it effectively illustrates the impact of piracy on the music industry."Actually, I disagree. I don't think it shows the "impact" at all. If anything, you could flip this around (as I did in the title) and use it to show how much goodwill and free publicity provided by fans the industry squandered by trying to turn those fans into criminals, rather than learning to embrace that free labor in a business model that took advantage of all of that free promotion. Sure, the headline is an exaggeration, but it's no more of an exaggeration than claiming that the $69 billion represents the extent of any problem. If there's a problem, it's in the fact that so many folks in and around the industry view this as a problem rather than a huge opportunity and resource.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 29th 2008 11:27am
from the thinking-things-through dept
Now, I find the people who claim that 3M was "stealing" the concept just as (if not more) silly as those who claim that downloading an unauthorized song is "stealing." 3M tried to license the photo and couldn't agree on a price, so it made its own. It didn't "steal" the idea, it just found it more cost effective to do it on its own (the classic buy vs. build decision). However, it does appear that the company didn't take the backlash cost into account in figuring out that buy vs. build equation.
This is actually quite important. Often, when we talk about things like plagiarism or copyright infringement, people insist that others will always "rip you off" and copy your work and there's absolutely no recourse. Yet, they fail to acknowledge the importance of reputation. If you are caught so uncreatively copying someone else, without doing anything new or innovative on top of that, it's not surprising that people will call you out, often vehemently, for your uncreative copying efforts. That can have quite a big cost in terms of reputation and credibility, probably a lot more than it would have cost to have reached an agreement with the original creator. So, before thinking it's so easy for big companies flat out "rip off" someone else's creative work, just remember that there are some pretty serious hidden reputation costs in them doing so.