MPAA Actually Admits That Some Of Its Piracy Stats Are Bogus

from the not-going-far-enough dept

For years, we’ve pointed to the bogus stats claimed by the MPAA concerning what kind of impact “piracy” is having. The stats incorrectly count “ripple effects” in a rather troubling manner. First, they only look at the ripple effects in one direction (those that hurt the movie studios). They don’t bother to count ripple effects that go the other way (such as cheaper movies for everyone, allowing them to spend more money elsewhere, helping the economy). More importantly, though, using ripple effects is merely double, triple or quadruple-counting the actual losses, as Tim Lee brilliantly explained. Of course, that hasn’t stopped reporters from citing these bogus stats as fact or politicians from using those stats to justify ridiculously awful legislation. Given all that, it’s rather shocking to hear the MPAA finally admit that the stats in a recent report are bogus — but only one specific number. Apparently, via some unexplained “human error,” an MPAA study reported that 44% of “losses” due to piracy came from college campuses — which explains the recent efforts to get new legislation forcing colleges to filter internet connections. However, the MPAA is now admitting that the real number is actually just 15%. The MPAA insists all the other numbers are perfectly fine, but didn’t bother to address all of the criticisms of the methodology. This likely means that the mistake made here was so egregious that even the MPAA couldn’t wait for the new legislation to pass before admitting the error. That alone, is fairly surprising. Hopefully, though, this will start convincing the press and politicians to be at least a little skeptical of numbers coming from biased industry associations.

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Companies: mpaa

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Comments on “MPAA Actually Admits That Some Of Its Piracy Stats Are Bogus”

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Brad says:

Re: hopefully...

That’s the beauty of newspapers and media … if you say it long enough and loud enough, it must be true, correct? This is the premise that I’m sure the MPAA is using I’m sure as all of the articles I have read don’t ever seem to talk about any of the good effects of the “ripple effect” . They only focus on how bad the “ripple” effect really is to the big guys at the MPAA … I see very very few artists stating that the digital arena has affected their income. I’m gonna stop here and get off my soap box.

bunnyRoy says:

Future Legislation

What this does is finally poke a hole in the blind confidence people (especially legislators) have in the MPAA.

The best possible outcome here would be to have an outside PROFESSIONAL contractor, that isn’t being bribed, just to be absolutely sure we can really trust the rest of their numbers. It would be very interesting to see how the numbers would come out with a 3rd party investigation.

This also means that some of their court arguments may get a bit complicated as a nice side effect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Say it ain't so...

wow. you commented on this article on slashdot the day before it was actually posted? slashdot’s article about this got posted today (1/23). TechDirt did get this one first, or at least before Slashdot did. And who cares if they have the same articles? They don’t overlap all that often and TechDirt offers its perspective as well as the article, not just an excerpt and a link. They’re similar sites, but still different in what they offer.

Brad says:

The future of Digital data ...

While the MPAA seemingly have reported “incorrect” data, apparently this lil “blurb” has not recieved enough attention at this time. If society as a whole would get off their behinds and stand up for themselves …. Yes I know, American society as a whole is stupid and are just plain sheep to slaughter … sigh. Look at how Walmart and companies like them are undermining our society and culture … and yet we ourselves gave them the money to do it with and didn’t even start complaining until it was far too late … Hell, I’ll bet that over half of America doesn’t even care that this is going on … and that IS the problem … Most of American society just really doesn’t care as long as they get that “lil” piece … they’re happy. sigh.

Hell, I bet over half of American society doesn’t even know or even care that MS Windows Vista has DRM built right into it. The MPAA are lil cry babies that never figured in the (positive) ripple affect because it wouldn’t show a substantial enough loss (if any). If they don’t talk about the ripple effect for the good and only focus on the bad ripple effect, of course the losses look catastrophic, but given the entire picture, you will find that the MPAA is just there to fill their pockets …

I wish American society would smarten the hell up … that’s not going to happen though, just look at society … sigh, No, I’m not happy with the way that American society has … ok, that’s for another story …

*Steps off soapbox*

Wolfger (profile) says:


I think this is a case of “if 44% of piracy stems from college campuses, then your numbers regarding the total impact are bogus”. Doh! Let’s change that percentage… There. All better.

What’s really absurd is calling 100% of college piracy “losses”. There’s no way poor college kids are actually going to buy that much music, even if piracy wasn’t an option, so the actual loss is much less than stated, even if the numbers aren’t cooked, which they probably are.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Re:

Do their Grapes and Apples auto replicate? If they do than yes it affects their profit margin by 0. And for the price, I would expect to be billed for the only scarce resource in that now self sustaining store, Shelving space.

Copyright is not theft
Digital music is a non-scarce good
There isn’t even a shelving space issue.
(insert standard MPAA is wrong argument here)

Who said here that they want to download their stuff for free? It just sounds to me like these people are sick of the MPAA’s crap.

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