Some In The Press Realizing That Copyright Industry Claims Of 'Losses' From 'Piracy' Are Bunk

from the moving-on dept

We’ve pointed to a couple of laughable new reports that were released by copyright industry interests in the past couple months, pushing claims of ridiculously high “losses” due to copyright infringement. The reports have been debunked, but part of the concern was that mainstream press, such as The Australian, were spreading these reports as fact. Thankfully, not everyone in the press falls for such questionable studies. The Sydney Morning Herald recently published a rather comprehensive look at all of these reports and studies, entitled: Piracy: are we being conned? It does a really nice job pushing back on all this industry-backed research, to point out that the story is more complex and nuanced that those fear-mongering claims make it out to be:

The Australian Institute of Criminology for one has been reluctant to take the industry at its word when it comes to piracy losses.

“Although these estimates provide a general indication of the scale of the problem, the validity of the data is open to some debate,” the AIC wrote in its latest report on intellectual property crime in Australia.

The AIC has previously debunked claims that piracy was linked to organised crime and in a draft report leaked in 2006 said industry-provided piracy statistics were “self-serving hyperbole”.

“The AIC’s frustration was largely based on the fact that none of these groups will expose their reports to genuine peer review or analysis,” said Kimberlee Weatherall, a senior law lecturer at the University of Queensland, who specialises in copyright law and is highly critical of the industry’s piracy reports.

“When the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked into it at the request of US Congress, it expressed doubt about most of the industry-produced figures.”

Piracy figures derived by the entertainment industry have also been heavily criticised in the US and Europe. In some instances, the industry has admitted to grossly inflating its numbers.

The article includes a lot more debunking of industry FUD. Nice to see that the press is finally realizing that claims that come from an industry looking for government protectionist laws to be adjusted in their favor can’t necessarily be trusted.

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Comments on “Some In The Press Realizing That Copyright Industry Claims Of 'Losses' From 'Piracy' Are Bunk”

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Yogi says:

Pulitzer worthy?

These days, if a news outlet actually refers to facts in its reports instead of just rewording the press releases of various interested parties, it should probably be eligible for a Pulitzer.

Furthermore, here we have reporting that borders on the heroic – the newspaper actually takes issue with corporate press releases!! Who knows, maybe this will start a new trend in journalism…

Not really says:

Re: Pulitzer worthy?

Not really, this was the same publication that ran with the regurgitated press release in the first instance.

The real investigation was done by journalists at Torrentfreak and Crikey, who called out the organisation, demanded transparency, and exposed the study for what it was.

This story was simply a (welcome) regurgitation of their hard work, saving face when confronted with a stream of criticism for being industry shills.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Would be nice if perhaps The WSJ, NY Times, London Times and all the other major mainstream papers were to do something similar.”

The news papers have let go researchers, authors, and support staff. They really don’t have the resources any more due competition for advertising from craigslist, and targeted online ads. They are seeing fewer and fewer people buying their paper due to online competition. Plus most papers are leveraged to the hilt due to consolidation. The current demographic that buys news papers is primarily the 45 year old and older crowd. As more and more people purchase “pads” (i or android) the trend to read news online will accellerate. The papers only have about 7 years left +- a couple years.

Over which time you will see more and more regurgitated press releases as resources become more scarce at the papers.

So good luck on your wish for them to do any sort of investigative reporting.

Delboy says:


$75 trillion WOW works out about 120k from every person on the planet. Hmm me-thinks someone has tampered with the decimal place. heh
That is quite a few trillion more than what the recording industry has earned since the technology was invented.

If I were the Judge, I would have laughed heartily in their FACE.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ha

works out to 241,126.45 per us counted citizen (currently 311,040,116 per census bureau)and 10,857.27 for ever person in the world (6,907,811,402 also from census).

10 grand per person in the world when there are people that would never see 10 grand as an entire family of 12 in theirs or thier childrens lifetimes combined.

but no, nothing wrong with those number at all…nope…not. at. all.

Joe Publius (profile) says:

But, I’d think 75 trillion would only be $12,000 per person.

Wow, they ought to say that to the $0.00 worth of media that I have pirated in my house. Thanks to free software, and cheap and easy to use digital sales, I can say that I haven’t had to run afoul of these laws.

But it is another indication of how ridiculous these allegations from the IP industries have become.

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, that story looks like they decides the industry bunk is bad because they decides to print someone else’s bunk. I don’t think the newspapers learned anything, I think they are just running with press release information done by the doubter side.

I don’t think it is really any more helpful than running industry numbers blindly.

Lauriel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Equitable coverage of an issue is something that has been sadly lacking in Australian media to date. The closest they usually come to covering both sides of a contentious issue is in politics, and that is most often the paper or journalist slanting to one side or the other, rather than an unbiased coverage.

Just the fact that they have regurgitated the opposing side of an issue is remarkable.

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