Useless Studies: Given The Choice Of No File Sharing Or No Internet, Guess What People Choose?

from the what-do-people-do,-not-what-they-say-they'd-do dept

A study by Entertainment Media Research claims that 72% of file sharers would stop file sharing, if sent a letter by their ISP threatening to cut them off the internet. This, obvious, supports the entertainment industry’s effort over the past couple of years to get ISPs to act as their enforcers. It also ignores the fact that the EU has rejected such three strikes policies as a violation of users’ rights. If someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to do something, plenty of people will probably do it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s right. Furthermore, what the study is really asking is, which of these two scenarios is preferable: no file sharing or no internet (which, by definition would mean no file sharing). Guess which people are going to say?

Unfortunately, results like this just mean that the industry will probably keep up its campaign to push for ISP enforcement, rather than actually coming up with better business models that embrace file sharing as promotion and a natural part of the market. They’ll claim, of course, that this shows such an “educational campaign” will be effective — ignoring the implicit “gun-to-head” part. However, as we recently discussed, there’s little to indicate that the educational campaign has actually succeeded at all over the past decade, and there’s little to believe that letters from ISPs will really be particularly effective in the long run. In a survey, of course people will say that they’ll stop the activity to avoid getting cut off the internet. But that won’t be because they think it’s right or are comfortable with it. So the second a new, more secure or more underground method of file sharing comes along, they’ll jump on that as well. If the entertainment industry wants to keep pursuing three strikes rules by promoting delusional studies like this one, that’s it’s choice, but it won’t get the industry any closer to solving its business model problems.

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Comments on “Useless Studies: Given The Choice Of No File Sharing Or No Internet, Guess What People Choose?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

If Telcos can kick you off after 3 NON-PROVEN accusations of file sharring then I would tell the ISP to go to HELL! And they think the economy is bad now!

I would be homeless if it meant these fucktards go out of business. Its about principle!

Die in a FIRE RIAA, MPAA and all the rest of these fucktards trying to kill the internet.


Jeff (profile) says:

Breaking news...

97% of respondents state that if they get a letter giving them a choice to stop sharing or lose their internet service stated that they would change ISPs due to an “invasion of privacy”.

I know people that have gotten such letters at the behest of movie studios. The solution, take down the offending share and then search for a new ISP.

I know people who download music and movies. Many of them do it in lieu of renting to determine if they want to buy it. Interestingly enough, had they rented it, the studios do not get any money from that either. So what is the difference?

Michael Long (user link) says:

P2P simply less relevant

Or the numbers could point up the fact that P2P is simply becoming less relevant.

Apple has sold billions of songs off iTunes. The new iPod Touch and iPhone and many other phones let you download music straight to your device. Amazon sells DRM-free MP3s for less than a buck. And again, Apple has sold millions of TV shows and movie downloads to people watching on their computer, iPod/iPhone, or TV. Amazon and NetFlix also offer downloading services, with NetFlix’s service free to subscribers.

Most major TV shows can be streamed off legitimate ad-based services like Hulu or from network web sites. Music streaming providers abound. Even most cable services offer VOD and PPV.

The fact remains that P2P traffic is shrinking as a percentage of total Internet traffic, and recent reports indicate that streaming traffic has ECLIPSED P2P traffic in bandwidth use. Every legitimate, convenient, inexpensive (or free) outlet for content reduces the need to waste time and effort “sharing”.

As such, it sounds like the entertainment industry is solving many of its “business model” problems, and most certainly calls into question the rather presumptive assumption that file sharing is a “natural” part of the market.

Duane says:

Re: P2P simply less relevant -- not the case

Think of PRP as the invisible hand of the market.

P2P says your goods, TV shows, music, movies can be had for free as long as people don’t mind a few risks and a lower quality. Free is a price people love, if you want them to pay something other than free, you had better figure out a way to make these goods more attractive or at least increase the costs associated with the P2P versions.

Companies have made getting non-P2P versions easier and cheaper than before and so people are responding, but to assume that negates file-sharing is just silly. File-sharing has always existed one way or another, it just used to be called “Hey, let me borrow your 8-track.”

Plus citing P2P traffic shrinkage as some sort of proof is crazy wrong. Streaming is growing like a house on fire from practically nil. Of course, P2P is going to seem to be shrinking in comparison. Everything is shrinking in comparison.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: P2P simply less relevant

You’re missing the point, I think. For each of those services you mention, P2P came first. Perhaps it’s true that P2P usage has reduced when people have an alternative, but P2P came first to indicate the demand for these services. Remember, the music industry’s initial reaction to the MP3 player was not to offer a download service but to try to ban it, and there’s many stories of them being very unhappy with iTunes’ pricing system.

All of those services you mention are also very flawed – most are not available outside the US, VOD and PPV usually have pretty restricted catalogues (and come as a premium on top of a monthly sub) and many people are not happy with the quality of the goods offered (e.g. every time iTunes comes up on an internet forum, someone will always complain about the lack of lossless formats).

In other words, it’s still trying to force people to buy what they want to sell, rather than listening to what people want. Even if the traffic stats you quote are true (it’s the first time I’ve heard them if so, but quite interesting), P2P traffic is still a huge amount of traffic. For everyone who downloads an album from iTunes, there are others who download from P2P for many reasons, ranging from wanting to preview the album before buying, to audio quality or DRM, to iTunes being too expensive, to either the album or iTunes itself not being available in their area. The industry needs to work on that, and has shown itself time and time again to be unwilling to do so unless forced to compete with P2P.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is by no means a large study… How many internet users are there, a couple hundred million?? This study was on 1500 of those… How many wouldn’t care…? In Britain things might be a little different. I hardly think the big boys over here such as Time Warner or Comcast would start sending these out….

There really needs to be a digital rights token that needs to be all encompassing for all forms of media.. After all, what is the harm in downloading a movie only to have it several months later on Cable? I spend $170 a month on internet and cable tv for one tv… Have I ever gotten a check back, saying you didn’t use enough tv for the month we are going to give you a check back… When I do get one will be the day I stop downloading movies from the pirate bay.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:


I can’t believe an ISP would even ever agree to any of this. Why would they shoot themselves in the foot because of some other industry who has shown they have no clue what customers want?
Lets start getting rid of tons of customers, yay!
Yah, how about no.
Stupid MAFIAA.

I am happy that so far they are resisting (except kind of AT&T, which I will NEVER be their customer for, just out of principle). The MAFIAA needs to step up and take responsbility for their own actions and errors of the past. They need to stop trying to push their policing responsibilities onto other agencies. Colleges, ISPs, the government themselves, it is not their job.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: ISPs

Some ISP’s will do this because they see a much
larger profit in being a multimedia/phone/internet
connection provider than in just being a socket
on a utility. They see the content being controlled
by the big guys. Totally discounting the notion
that the artist and their market no longer need
this cumbersome apparatus. They don’t want to piss
off the content providers and think the customers
will just grin and bear it. They’re not thinking

Some are already owned, like Time Warner.

Some are afraid of lawsuits.

Maybe a little from each of the above in various

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