Industry Suppressed Report Showing Users Of Shuttered 'Pirate' Site Probably Helped Movie Industry…

from the well,-look-at-that dept

We’ve seen study after study after study after study after study showing, contrary to the claim of the industry and certain politicians that users of file sharing sites are pure “freeloaders” who are “leeching,” that the users tend to be larger spenders on media and ancillary products. So it’s really not a huge surprise that a new study would come out saying the same thing…

But, in this case, the history of the report, which has not actually been released, is a lot more interesting. As you may recall, in June, law enforcement across Europe arrested a bunch of people for apparently running — a site that had been listed by US entertainment lobbyists as one of the worst of the worst “pirate sites,” out there. So, it sure would be interesting to find out that, before all of this happened, some entertainment industry lobbyists had commissioned research into the type of folks who used and their media consumption habits.

Indeed, as TorrentFreak found out, it appears that just such a report was commissioned and created… and the results matched all those other studies we’ve seen:

The study, which was carried out by Society for Consumer Research (GfK), found that users of pirate sites including did not fit the copyright lobby-painted stereotype of parasites who take and never give back.

In fact, the study also found that Internet users treat these services as a preview, a kind of ?try before you buy.?

This, the survey claims, leads pirate site users to buy more DVDs, visit the cinema more often and on average spend more than their ?honest? counterparts at the box office.

?The users often buy a ticket to the expensive weekend-days,? the report notes.

Of course, this report never saw the light of day. The only reason it appears to be getting out is what appears to be disgruntled researchers on the report who are upset it was spiked by whoever commissioned it… though the firm does have a history of working with organizations within the movie industry.

Of course, all of this raises some questions. Considering all of this research — including some that appears to have been sponsored by the industry itself… why does the industry continue to lie and insist that people who use these sites are pure freeloaders? Do they not believe their own studies? Or do they simply fear the loss of control such a reality would really mean? Either way, it seems that those politicians, law enforcement officials and press who continue to parrot the industry’s claims about those who use these services might want to reconsider how they portray these sites.

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Comments on “Industry Suppressed Report Showing Users Of Shuttered 'Pirate' Site Probably Helped Movie Industry…”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

All organizations seek to maintain their existance. This is true of RIAA, MPAA, ASCAP, and all the other organizations dedicated to eradicating infringement.

I am begining to believe these organizations hide these studies, not for political reason, instead it is to maintain their profitablity. If study after impartial study shows that infringers buy more than the rest of society, then what is their reason for existing? If these studies come out, and are distributed to the heads of record labels, TV and movie studios. Then why should the labels and studios pay them any more?

Looking at this from an impartial perspective. It seems that RIAA, MPAA, and their ilk, are the a problem from both the perspective of population,and the content companies. For the population of the world, their rights are trampled on, and laws are being corrupted. For the content companies, their businesses are being given false studies and information, and being lead down a path that leads to their destruction.

So we have a common enemy now, who would have ever imagined that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Add to this, that just like people, organizations (including businesses, governments and regulatory bodies) do not like to admit that they are wrong. The lengths that organizations go through to lie/ falsify/ withhold the truth in order to maintain their existence, business model and “might makes right” rule of law is astounding. And all this leads to is the need to continue and further these un-truths that become more and more difficult to deal with. I think that is similar to a fraud that needs to be continually monitored and would fall apart if the perpetrators went on a two week vacation.

David Muir (profile) says:

Re: Still Shortsighted

Hephaestus, you said two things that made me think: “dedicated to eradicating infringement” and “maintain profitability”. I don’t disagree with your analysis, but we can see that it is incredibly shortsighted of them.

Imagine if the **AAs were instead dedicated to helping their members become more profitable instead of fighting a losing battle against progress. That would change their focus and it would result in more profitability for them in the long run.

If you look across the economic and political spectrum today, you’ll see that more and more “leaders” have latched on to ideology to shape every decision they make instead of actually looking at the facts in front of them. This is true for politicians who still say that “trickle-down economics” works. It is true for media company executives who believe that consumers should pay more and pay often for the same content in different formats.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Still Shortsighted

“latched on to ideology to shape every decision they make instead of actually looking at the facts in front of them.”

On one side, the leaders of big content are not being given the facts in this case, they are being withheld. On the other side you have collection and lobbying groups, that have been spouting the same protectionist rhetoric for years. They are withholding the facts from the people that pay for their services.

The irony in this is, the content companies have their own middle men (RIAA, MPAA, etc) leaching off them, Driving them down a lemming like path, and bleeding them dry along the way. Much like the labels do to their artists.

Isn’t it karmically perfect …

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Still Shortsighted

Wait a second. The RIAA is made up of the CEOs of each respective label. I’m sure that the MPAA has a similar arrangement. And it would be dumb to say that none of them talk to each other. Saying that the CEOs are misinformed instead of willfully ignorant (Glickman, Morrison, etc) is not doing them any favors.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Still Shortsighted

I just checked and the MPAA has a similar set up. Thank you, I learned something. It was a great theory while it lasted. Back to the drawing board on why.

How do “you” explain the way they are acting? Perhaps they have the information, and they are ignoring it. But to what end?

Maybe this goes back to a saying I have … there are three great powers in the universe, the power of good, the power of evil, and the power of stupid.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Still Shortsighted

They are ignoring the facts because they still cling to the belief that if they push all competitors out of the market, they’ll get all the money. The fact may be that piracy helps them, but they also compete with them and such a concept is completely reactionary. There is nothing corporations hate more than competition. Add to that, they think these works are their property and you can see why they still act so overprotective of the content they distribute.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Still Shortsighted

Let’s take what we know about the industry in general.

As people gain positions of power, they get more into the ideology, not necessarily looking at reality objectively (I can’t remember the techdirt article).

The industry has been vying for control of product since the 60s rolled around. Look at every wave of innovation that’s come about. It’s all been about control. Even now, the entire problem with the industry is how to control the digital market like it did with the analog. It’s never been about giving power to artists. It’s never been about caring for music. It’s been about profit, and how to get more of it. If anything, copyright is used as regulatory capture, impeding all sorts of endeavors in order to attain more profit.

Think about the Napster years. Why did the labels sue it into submission? The reasoning is that it was competition, needing to be killed immediately. They couldn’t license because they had no idea what consumers wanted. They’ve never experienced consumers having a choice before! They never knew what a competitive market looks like other than some by gone eras where they got away with murder.

So we come to a digital age, where the need for the RIAA, Big labels, and BIG entertainment are on the way out. The big boys would lose their mind if they knew Kickstarter would keep them honest in how much they spend. Since turntable has taken off, the music has increased in value considerably. But knowing the record industry, they’ll try their overpriced licensing to pay themselves, leaving others to serfdom.

All of their revenue streams will eventually go up in smoke. But before that, the ideology of “piracy is bad” will probably spread like a cancer. So sad to see people cling to bad ideology.

Anonymous Coward says:

Maybe because they don’t want to rely on data given to them without proof by pirates?

I know several pirates and they never pay for anything. It’s a point of pride to them. They even make fun people that do pay.

So no, I don’t believe any of those “studys”. They don’t jibe with reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think the AC above would be on the side of the church that did not want to rely on the data of the scientists telling them that the world is neither flat nor the center of the universe. This AC would merely disregard the study because some people he knows are certain the world is flat and make fun of people that think it is otherwise.

That Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“And the fact that when scrutinized, they fall apart:”

You mean like every industry study that has been released, that blatantly lies about the issues at hand?

The same industry that when the GAO asked them to explain and release information on these studies were stonewalled in response?

Sales figures for CD’s are down, this is a fact.
Sales figures for 8-track are nonexistant.
Does this mean we can then infer that the music industry is dead because no one is buying 8-tracks any more?

Sales figures for digital media are not as bleak as they would have you believe, but because they can not extract as much money from that content delivery stream, they tend to ignore it and hide those details.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Sales figures for digital media are not as bleak as they would have you believe”

Sales figures for digital are actually going *up*, they’re just not growing quickly enough to replace the plummeting CD sales. Of course, this is partly the industry’s own fault. I firmly believe that the level of digital sales is at least partly due to DRM fragmenting the market in its infancy (i.e. MS DRM was a mess, iPod users couldn’t use anything other than iTunes, etc.) and partly due to availability (choice is vastly different from country to country, but CDs are unrestricted by region).

“but because they can not extract as much money from that content delivery stream, they tend to ignore it and hide those details.”

Indeed. Half the reason for this is simple customer choice – when you’re not forced to buy a package of 12 tracks to listen to the one you want, you only buy the one you want, and pay less for it. Not rocket science, but again this shows why the industry needs to change it’s business model before it’s too late (if it’s not already) – “piracy” is only part of the problem, even if you swallow the industry’s distortions about the effect of piracy.

hobo says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“I firmly believe that the level of digital sales is at least … partly due to availability (choice is vastly different from country to country, but CDs are unrestricted by region).”

While true, that CDs will work across //geographical// regions (i.e. DVD-created regions), they are still very restricted. Try to buy a foreign release of a CD on Amazon. If it is available, it is often prohibitively expensive and supplies are limited.

This is yet another reason people download without permission. If you’re providing different tracks and different mixes to Europe or Japan than you do to the U.S., then expect fans (that’s right, FANS,) to download them however they can.

Also, sorry PaulT, this is not a rant directed at you, it just spawned from one of your comments.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And the fact that when scrutinized, they fall apart: ling-is-good-report/

Fall apart?

Don’t make me laugh – The “scrutiny” consisted of a diatribe against the people who contributed to the report – in other words not all of them were paid up apologists for the copyright industry – not any critique of the actual data used or the logic of the analysis.

Well if you think the GAO report is flawed because of the built in bias of those doing the analysis – well, Oh boy – you should see how it looks from our side of the fence….

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The “proof” you link to is nothing but conjecture and bias. The whole article does nothing but make suppositions without any facts to back them up. He asked them where he could find the information about the methods and sources used to write that report and he dismissed it out of hand as “Nothing to see here, move along.” Utter bullshit. They told him exactly where to find the information he requested and he twisted their response as a brush off. It proves nothing and you are completely wrong.

sarvinc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

As a few others have pointed out by now the link you provide doesn’t actually backup the claim you’re making. It really is a diatribe attacking the contributors rather than any of the points made. In addition, the arguments made are rather obtuse and don’t hold up to even shallow scrutiny and have been disproved several times in the past.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There will always be some.
The real question is though, without downloading, were these freeloading friends of yours people who tended to go to the cinema, buy music and/or purchase DVDs or Games in any kind of quantity or did they wait until things came on tv and borrow other peoples DVDs and tape music from the radio?

jimbo says:

Re: Re:

so why would anyone believe the studies that the entertainment industries put out? those are tailored in a specific way, at the behest of those industries. at least ‘independent studies’ are what they are, independent. those completing the independent studies have nothing to gain from lying, unlike the industries, putting out totally one-sided results, then paying politicians and law-makers to agree with those results.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I know several pirates and they never pay for anything.”

You know, the plural of anecdote is not data. Some people I know who pirate can’t pay, rather than won’t pay (mostly young parents, one guy who got lumbered with child support and a mortgage he can’t afford when his wife left, and so on). Eradicating piracy won’t get blood from those stones. Most people I know who download also buy content or pay in other ways (concerts, merch, etc.). But, I’m intelligent enough to know that my circle of friends is not a representative sample of the entire nation.

“It’s a point of pride to them. They even make fun people that do pay.”

So, what makes you think they’ll suddenly start paying if piracy was no longer an option?

“So no, I don’t believe any of those “studys”. They don’t jibe with reality.”

No, they don’t jibe with your limited personal experience. There’s a big difference.

Besides which, your opinion is coloured by the kinds of people you apparently hang around with. Which sounds like 15 year old boys from their attitude and behaviour. Try talking to adults once in a while. You’d be surprised at how many of them download things, but don’t feel like wearing it as a badge of honour. You probably know some already.

Anonymous Coward says:

Seems more like religious belief than political or financial concerns.

It’s the religion of “it stands to reason”.

As in, it stands to reason that if people download something for nothing, then they won’t buy that something.

It isn’t true and there are many reasons (many caused by DRM itself) why people download things, before or even after buying the same things from “legitimate” sources.

As with a religion, anything that contradicts it must be false and there could be no evidence that would convince them otherwise. You’ll have already noticed that their ultimate fallback position is “it’s immoral”, so, exactly like religion then.

David Muir (profile) says:

Re: Ideology Driven Decisions

I totally agree.

It stands to reason that:

– tax breaks for the rich will drive the economy, create jobs and enrich the general populace
– people who get healthcare for free will abuse the system so much that it becomes financially unsustainable
– if you put average people in charge of their own retirement savings fund, they will make more personally relevant decisions and come out ahead in the long run
– pirates are evil seafaring criminals who rape and pillage and give nothing back to society

When in fact:

– the gap between the rich and poor has widened drastically and the biggest, richest companies are increasing shareholder value by “off-shoring” their workforces, resulting in continued high unemployment rates
– Canada’s “free” healthcare system, while expensive and in trouble, is still more cost-effective than the HMO-driven “Cadillac” system in the US which denies healthcare to many people every year
– most people do not have enough put away for retirement and there are serious problems with diversification and “asset allocation” in the average person’s retirement portfolio
– pirates are evil seafaring criminals who rape and pillage and give nothing back to society (oops, that one was true)

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Ideology Driven Decisions

I take issue with the “increasing shareholder value”, that could be or not true depending on how it is done.

That value could be eroded if their market is internal and not external by creating a market were no one has money to spend by offshoring the jobs that would allow people to have money to spend on that company, unless of course that company can compete in international markets then it doesn’t matter where their customers are, but there are very few American companies that can do that, most of them wouldn’t survive in another country without the help of a sympathetic government.

Internal consumption growth schemes for countries only works if people have the money to spend and that only happens to people who has jobs.

By eroding the local jobs they are sterilizing that market, which sooner or later will force them to rely in some other market where people have jobs to pay for services and goods.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Ideology Driven Decisions

Offshoring of course is not a bad thing per se, it can help create other markets thus creating wealth elsewhere thus increasing the ceiling of what can be earned.

But there is a problem when it is done in a very large scale where the jobs offshored are not offset by creation of new jobs on the local market.

out_of_the_blue says:

Er, so? Big consumers can also be BIG PIRATES!

“This, the survey claims, leads pirate site users to buy more DVDs, visit the cinema more often and on average spend more than their ?honest? counterparts at the box office.”

This can be true and yet says nothing about how much revenue the industry /would/ get IF these heavy users had to pay for ALL the content that they watch.

It’s another situation where you’re just blinded by your premise that more piracy = more profits for content providers.

David Muir (profile) says:

Re: Er, so? Big consumers can also be BIG PIRATES!

So, ramp up enforcement. Increase penalties. Educate the younger generations about what they should be paying for.

Oh, you have done all those things already? Do more!

Make copyright enforcement supersede the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Make the penalty for sharing a single song life in prison. Make repeat infringers face the death penalty. And make “Paying For Culture” a mandatory course starting in Grade 1 and introduce forced hypnotism in remedial after-school sessions for kids who “don’t get it.”

The big pirates will become a thing of the past. But they’ll all be in jail, dead, or brainwashed into being just like everyone else. So they STILL won’t have changed into big legitimate spenders on content.

My point: you can commission a study that says: how much would these people pay if the world were totally different? Or you can see the hint from existing studies about how a good, cheap, convenient method for getting content might actually improve profits if embraced by the content industries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Er, so? Big consumers can also be BIG PIRATES!

Furthermore, Outta da blue is mixing his apples with his oranges. Revenue does not equal profits. So, even if they did not generate the same level of sales as they allegedly could for charging you for every second you listened to music or watched a video, they could be much more profitable by cutting out the lobbyist, lawyer, politician, law enforcement, and administrative glut.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Er, so? Big consumers can also be BIG PIRATES!

“yet says nothing about how much revenue the industry /would/ get IF these heavy users had to pay for ALL the content that they watch.”

Common sense would say that heavy users are often already paying what they can afford, and are using their “piracy” to make the better choice. If this is true, removing the option to pirate would not gain any more revenue. In fact, sales could actually be *lost* as, for example, people don’t want to take a risk on a potentially crappy movie and so stay at home, whereas with piracy they would know they like the movie an buy a cinema ticket.

I’m certainly not saying this is guaranteed, and support any non-invasive way of removing piracy that doesn’t have disastrous unintended consequences. But, the industry hasn’t presented such a plan as yet, nor have they shown that stopping “piracy” will actually make a blind bit of difference.

“It’s another situation where you’re just blinded by your premise that more piracy = more profits for content providers.”

There’s no evidence that removing piracy would improve sales, beyond an unfounded assumption that people would pay. These studies prove the opposite theory quite nicely. Do you have any studies that show people would pay more if they were forced to, or is that just your own blind assumption?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Er, so? Big consumers can also be BIG PIRATES!

This can be true and yet says nothing about how much revenue the industry /would/ get IF these heavy users had to pay for ALL the content that they watch.

Assuming that they had the money to do it. The fact is that people have a limited amount of spare cash. It gets spent on something – it doesn’t just vanish. The reality is that if enforcement was perfect then these people would watch less not pay more. The money might be distributed slightly differently but there wouldn’t be any more of it. Watching less of course would not do anything for the entertainment industry – in fact the net effect might well be to drive people more to the free alternatives – to the ultimate detriment of big content.

Call me Al says:

Re: Er, so? Big consumers can also be BIG PIRATES!

“This can be true and yet says nothing about how much revenue the industry /would/ get IF these heavy users had to pay for ALL the content that they watch.”

You are missing the point. These people buy the content because they have already pirated it and liked it. If they had not already pirated it then they may not have bought it.

Just as a bit of anecdotal evidence of my own experience – I have a massive stack of DVDs. I buy them all the time and enjoy owning them watching them regularly. In the last few years most of my purchases have been of TV Boxsets rather than films and, with the exception of The West Wing which I saw on TV, all of the others were bought having only seen elements of them from downloads. As a conservative estimate I reckon its about ?750 (around $1,200) worth in the last three years.

For example, I bought all 5 seasons of Boston Legal, a show difficult to find on TV in the UK. I had seen most of season 1 when I downloaded it at University… yes I pirated those few episodes but then bought a much larger amount because I enjoyed it.

TwoWords (profile) says:

Why did they suppress the study? i can only think of one answer.
Society for Consumer Research (GfK): You want answers?
Movie Industry: We think We’re entitled.
Society for Consumer Research (GfK): You want answers?!
Movie Industry: We want the truth!
Society for Consumer Research (GfK): You can’t handle the truth!
Society for Consumer Research (GfK): People, we live in a world that has the internet and the internet needs to be guarded by men with no scrupouls. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Mister Movie Mogul, We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the loss of a few dollars and curse the Pirates; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that the Pirates death, while tragic, probably saved money and that our existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, makes you money.
You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties you want us in the courts, you need us in every court. We use words like steal, cheat, pirate. We use then as the backbone of a lie trying to defend something. You use them as a supeona. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to a poor people who connect and steal under the blanket of saying they don’t have the money, we provide you with a defense and then you question the manner in which we provide it. We would rather you just said “thank you,” and spent on your way. Otherwise, we suggest that you pick up a computer and stand a gaurd. Either way, we don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to unless its more money.
Movie Industry: Did you order the study and suppress it?
Society for Consumer Research (GfK): We did the job you had us do.
Movie Industry: Did you order the study and suppress it?!
Society for Consumer Research (GfK): You’re God damn right we did!

Laurence Bates (profile) says:

If the story is accurate then this illustrates the worst kind of thinking. The point of commissioning a study is to discover the truth. In scientific circles this behaviour would see you ostracised.

We hear about lies, damned lies and statistics. Stats has this bad reputation because much of the time, genuine statistical studies like this are ignored when they don’t conform with the preconceived notions of what the results should be.

I don’t have a completely salient point to make here, I’m just angry that the file drawer effect ends up having such an impact on the data which politicians who create policy base their arguments on.

That Anonymous Coward says:

To accept for the briefest moment that the study was in any way shape or form accurate, would call into question years of the way the **AA’s do things.

It is human nature to continue to do things the say way and expect that they will change to suit your ideal rather than continue how they actually are.

The Government gives out silly amounts of money to help out the less fortunate nations, handing all sorts of things to a corrupt government who then *gasp* acts all corrupt and enriches themselves rather than help the people. And then we give them more help. and more… and we get the same result over and over.

Aid agencies have their “best methods” for assisting in disasters, and they follow their plan and ignore the real issues people are facing or how a local taboo might keep people from coming forward for help. But the plan says! And they do not adapt.

The **AA’s are devoted to the idea that there are kajillions of dollars being lost and that they must be fully reclaimed. They win lawsuits and only after being publicly shamed to they give anything to the artists they claim to represent and are fighting the good fight for. You find the officials of these groups being well paid and compensated for failing to meet their mission goal. They harm the interests of those they represent, waste the resources they are given on silly campaigns, and demand that the world just stop and start paying them.

We waste time, effort, and energy trying to find that new magic bullet law that will not screw over everyone but will take them back to the heady days of everyone having to buy CD’s. It does not matter the consumer hates the other 10 tracks on the 12 track CD, they need to buy it all… and buy multiples so they do not deprive the “artists” their fair share if they listen to it in the car or in their office. Each place needs its own copy!

How different the world might have been had any of them said, well suing them isn’t going anywhere good. How do we get ahead of this and meet consumer demand.

RD says:

Re: Really?

Yes really.

“Come on. An anonymous source says there’s a report that no one can see? Is there any other corroboration of any of the points in this story besides TD’s confirmation bias?”

And 756 THOUSAND other results.

So, yes Mr Snark, there is independent corroboration. In fact, TD is LATE to the party on this story, as most of the above links are from 1-2 days ago.

Time for your mea cupla now, but I’m not holding my breath. I guess its just easier to level snarky criticisms without knowing a shred of what you are talking about than it is to spend 1 minute doing a google search (the amount of time I did posting this) before opening your big mouth.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Really?

Of course, if you weren’t so damn lazy, you’d notice that the Slashdot story mentioned the primary source (German site Telepolis). The Torrentfreak one probably does as well, but that’s blocked from my work PC.

It took me literally 20 seconds to find the original story – – which is obviously not a link to the study itself (since the story is about the suppression of the study, such a link probably does not exist at the moment).

If you spent half your time actually reading the points raised and the evidence behind them rather than making assumptions and trying to attack Mike, you might understand this site a little better.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Really?

Maybe you should come up with an argument that doesn’t boil down to “I don’t believe it because I don’t like it” before you attack others for confirmation bias.

Here’s what we know for sure: the industry has commissioned numerous reports, on top of the studies that have been performed independently. Of these, there’s a suspicious trend toward those industry commissioned studies being biased toward their preferred narrative. This may suggest interference either through affecting the research directly or by suppressing those documents that suggest that their strategy is wrong.

While short-sighted, this is understandable – every tactic they’re using from DRM to regional licencing to lawsuits is based on the idea that there is an us vs. them situation, that there are paying customers and “pirates” and that these are separate groups.

So, here we have a story that suggests that the above is perfectly true, that when a report is commissioned that reaches conclusions the industry doesn’t like, it’s suppressed. Now, of course, there’s no way of independently verifying the story unless the whistleblower is identified or the report is leaked. But it does seem to fit within what we already know. But, you may recall, it was not so long ago that a certain Mr. Murdoch dismissed alleged phone hacking as something to be unconcerned about because the evidence wasn’t clear to those on the outside that it happened…

I’ll reserve judgement, but I have few doubts that such a situation has probably happened, multiple times. Meanwhile, nobody seems to be coming up with ways to actually discredit these conclusions. Everything just seems to be a denial because the conclusions seems illogical to those who assume that “pirates” and paying customers are distinct, separate groups, which they are demonstrably not.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Really?

An anonymous source says there’s a report that no one can see?

An anonymous source within the company that did the report.

Perhaps you should go to the source: Telepolis (Google translation of the original).

That study would jibe with every other study that was done by anyone who is not on the MPAA or RIAA’s payroll… and even some that are.

Nor does it seem out of character with Big Content to quash studies like this. It would not be the first time they’ve been caught lying. For example, in 2009, IFPI produced a report that claimed that file sharers do not by more music. But when questioned, Mark Mulligan, Vice President and Research Director at Forrester Research, who conducted the study for IFPI, told a completely different story: “A significant share of music buyers are file sharers also. These music buyers tend to be higher spending music buyers.”

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Blinding Flash of the Obvious

In hindsight, I’m rather ashamed of myself and how I managed to miss the obvious for so long. Up till now I’d been assuming that all these MAFIAA-bought studies were in favor of their buyers because that’s who was paying for them (based on the fact that studies paid for by said companies contradict essentially every study on the topic ever done without the backing of commercial interests – world governments, universities, that kind of thing). But there was a blindingly-obvious alternate explanation all along: there WERE studies paid for by them that contradicted their conclusions, but these studies were never published (as the commissioner usually has the choice of whether to publish the make the study public). This type of thing is quite common in other fields with which I’m very familiar (e.g. medicine), and I can only be shocked at myself for not realizing it long ago.

Prisoner 201 says:

“Try befor you buy” is a threat to the movie business – if people can evaluate the material before buying it, why would they buy it?

The whole idea of movie business is to spend 20 million dollars on marketing, thus making sure that the movie will profit in the first three days, before word of mouth spreads.

Sites like are and should be utterly illegal, or american jobs will be lost! And children! Also terrorists!

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re:

They don’t spend just $20 million dollars, is more likely to be $200 million, second if the endless stream of leaks showed anything is that word of mouth is better than any over inflated marketing ploy when it comes to actual ticket sales and sales of DVD’s.

If their assumptions were correct, nobody would “buy”(a.k.a. rent in reality) a DVD ever because they already saw the fecking movie before.

What they are saying is that people should be deceived to give their hard earned cash to people who in most cases don’t deserve a dime, because they wouldn’t be able to produce anything good therefore not offering value to the public who pays.

And the fecking politicos keep saying that is an ok behavior, then they wonder why people don’t respect them anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have around a thousand DVD’s which I have converted to a avi and have placed on my media server…I go to every other first run movie. I do download movies from torrent sites and if I like them I take the family to see them if it is still in the theater. If it is not then I quite often buy the DVD if I enjoyed the movie to own the jacket. I can afford to. If I could buy and have it managed for me forever in the cloud then I would do so but I know that is a few years out and will involve in probably having to re-purchase all the DVD’s I own in order to get the service…which in my opinion- sucks. I think the industry wants people who do not enjoy the performance to pay up.

Anonymous Coward says:

“I am begining to believe these organizations hide these studies, not for political reason, instead it is to maintain their profitablity.”

I think the point of the studies is that the companies these organizations represent could be more profitable if they would use the behavior of the people studied to their advantage instead of fighting against it. You’ll get farther swimming with the current rather than against it.

dwg says:

Re: Re:

Just like actual humans, some do and some don’t. I don’t pirate, and I almost never buy. Wanna know why? Because I can’t sample what I might later be paying for. There are record labels, like Scape, that understand exactly this, and make entire albums available for streaming anytime, song by song, in the hope that those who like the songs will buy the albums to have the songs in unbroken succession–I’ve bought 5 albums from Scape, and theirs is the simplest solution imaginable. Imagine if others followed with even more advanced ways of thinking…yeah, well, imagine is all we can do at this point, I guess.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wasn’t it pirates (or their defenders) who claim that they would not have bought the movie / song / book / software anyway, so that pirating does not result in a lost sale?

No, it was researchers who are trying to calculate the actual amount of “lost sales” due to piracy. They were not, and are not, “those who defend piracy.” (Some of those studies were even commissioned by the entertainment industry.)

The reasoning is simple: if specific people who pirate music are only doing it because it’s free, and who would not have consumed the content otherwise, then there is no “lost sale.”

What you’re not getting is that you can be one of those people, and also someone who pays more for music/movies. There’s a very simple reason for this: people don’t have unlimited spending power. Eliminating piracy won’t increase their budget for content.

In the “best-case” scenario, it will make them pay for the content they could otherwise have downloaded – while decreasing the amount they pay for things they could not download (live shows, theater tickets, etc). Or, it will make them spend less on other, market-identical products (e.g. they can’t download a Lady Gaga album anymore, so they’ll pay for that – instead of paying for the new Madonna album they would have bought otherwise). Either way, the net result for the industry is a wash.

However, a more realistic scenario is that even those who spend more money than others on content would not pay for the content absent piracy, but will simply do without the content.

There is also the notion that the ability to pirate increases interest in music or movies. I don’t doubt that this is true. It makes music and movies more ubiquitous; it makes consumption of content more integrated with their daily lives. (That is the entire reason radio stations have ever existed.)

So, decreasing piracy won’t result in more overall sales for the industry, since it will not increase the net amount people are willing to pay for content. However, it may decrease interest in content – which will decrease the amount people are willing to pay for content.

That seems to be the outcome of every independent study I’ve read. In fact, there has been no independent study that shows that people who pirate buy less content than people who do not.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“So which is it: do pirates buy or not?”

Yes. Wait a minute, no. Depends who you mean.

This is the core problem you people seem to have. “Pirates” are not a group of people who act in unison. They have different reasons. Some are self-defined “rebels” who would never pay for content no matter what. Some are people who can’t afford to buy anything. Some buy what they can, but their budget doesn’t allow them to buy much. Some use piracy as a way to decide what to buy, while others buy what they can and pirate that which is unavailable to them legally.

By trying to define it as an “us vs. them” issue where you’d suddenly make fortunes if only the free option is removed, you’re missing the point. If you assume that by attacking “pirates” you gain money, you’re forgetting that the last 2 groups I mentioned exist, who are actually some of your best customers.

yt75 (user link) says:

I don’ know SOPA in details, but for me regarding piracy, if the basic principles are :
1) against piracy centers and not end users (always centers in piracy due to the need for catalogs and search amongst other things, “peer to peer” also a lot of hypocrisy in the terms and everybody knows it)
2) No monitoring at all of end users flow, or collection of their IPs, a formal complaint required from somebody about a user acting as a center
3) All procedures are legal and public
Then it clearly is the right way to do it, not to forget that if piracy doesn’t create any revenues for authors and creators, it does create some (and not a little) for some people :

Note : above more developed below (but in French) :
And “zero piracy” doesn’t matter in anyway (not more than school kids exchanging files), problem is when it becomes the default and easiest access method for works and publications.
But on this, in order to have a real “user experience” added value in buying instead of pirating, and this in a non quasi monopolistic environment (or with just 2 or three “monsters”), clearly something like below would be needed :
And a little cartoon :

Yup says:

I torrent plenty of games, Fallout NV, Borderlands, Torchlight, Super meat boy, Skyrim and the list goes on.

I also own all those games on steam, i tried them out and i liked them, so i bought them so i could get updates and support the people who made them.

Some games i don’t buy, not because i am cheap, but because after an hour of gameplay it’s no fun.

Torrented avengers, liked it… went to the movies to see it twice, i will be doing the same with total recall (they better not have screwed it up) If i like it i will go pay to see it at the movies, if not well, money saved on something that wasn’t worth it.

Oh, i also have about 400 movies on DVD, some box sets of series too, even though i download or stream them i like to own the stuff i like so i can watch it when i want at a nice quality.

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