Why Kicking Fans Off The Internet Won't Make Them Buy
from the we've-done-this-before dept
When Lord Mandelson officially announced his plan to kick file sharers off the internet based on accusations (not convictions) — the so-called “three strikes” plan — I asked a simple question: how will this get people to buy more. It was fun watching industry defenders paint themselves into corners trying to explain it, but they couldn’t. The best they could say is that the fear of losing an internet connection would get them to stop file sharing. But, of course, getting them to stop file sharing is a lot different than actually getting them to buy something.
And, on top of that, we already have empirical evidence that a fear-based campaign doesn’t make people buy any more. Over at The Telegraph in the UK (where I’ll now be writing a semi-regular column) I explore how the industry already tried a fear-based campaign when they threatened and/or sued tens of thousands of individuals for file sharing. Even the industry’s most strident defenders, who support taking away people’s internet access have admitted that such a punishment is less scary than being sued and potentially on the hook for millions of dollars.
So how did that work out? If the industry’s logic is correct, than the fear of being hit with a multi-million dollar fine should be a lot more persuasive in (a) getting people to give up file sharing and (b) buy more instead. And yet… the industry is still freaking out, complaining about phantom “losses” and demanding new laws to protect them. So, if kicking people off the internet is less fearful than being on the hook for millions of dollars, and the potential of being sued for so much did not slow the growth of file sharing or get people to buy any more, can someone explain (please) how it’s possible that anyone thinks kicking people off the internet will get them to buy?