Journalists Continue To Rely On Bogus Research About File Sharing As If It Were Factual
from the sad dept
Over the summer, we had pointed out how disappointing it was that the press relied on an obviously bogus research report from the University of Ballarat’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory, about how much infringing content was being shared on BitTorrent. As we noted at the time, the folks over at TorrentFreak carefully picked apart the study and showed how it appeared to have been done by folks who didn’t actually understand how BitTorrent and torrent trackers worked. Apparently, the TorrentFreak guys sent a note to the authors offering to help them fix the problems in their study methodology, and all they got back was a sarcastic email from one of the researchers saying that he’d gladly send the Torrentfreak guys a complimentary copy of O’Reilly’s Statistics in a Nutshell, as it “might give further insight into statistical methodology.” Snarky!
Apparently, the researchers didn’t do much to fix their methodology, as they’re out with another report, which — yet again — the press appears to be quoting without question, even with some serious red flags — such as listing only four movies from 2010 as being among the most downloaded in 2010. Once again, TorrentFreak comes to the rescue and details the flaws in the study’s methodology. Of course, seeing as the report was funded in part by a movie studio and IBM, perhaps the researchers aren’t so concerned about getting it right as they are about getting what the funders’ wanted.