Another Day, Another Study That Says 'Pirates' Are The Best Customers… This Time From HADOPI

from the damn-that-data dept

We’ve pointed out that a whole series of studies have all suggested that the biggest infringers of content online also tend to be the best customers of content, rather than just “freeloaders” who refuse to pay for content. Critics of these studies brush them off (without any evidence) by simply saying if that were true, then sales of content wouldn’t have dropped so much in the music industry (other industries, it should be noted, have not seen such a drop-off). But that’s misunderstanding (or misapplying) basic statistics. No one is saying that this means that file sharing automatically leads to more sales. But it does suggest that treating those people as just “freeloaders who just want stuff for free” is absolutely the wrong response. It shows that these people are willing to pay money if they’re given a good reason to buy. The problem is that they’re not.

From a strategic standpoint, this impacts how one responds to increased “piracy.” If you realize that they’re merely underserved customers, the correct response is to come up with better business models. If the problem is that it’s “free, free, free!” then perhaps enforcement could make some sense. But… all of the studies seem to suggest it’s the former, rather than the latter… and thus the enforcement/stricter copyright responses won’t help at all (as we’ve seen).

Joe Karaganis, from SSRC, points us to the news that there’s been yet another such study… and this one is from HADOPI, itself. Yes, the French agency put together to kick people off the internet for file sharing did a study on the nature of unauthorized file sharing, too. Not surprisingly (and consistent with every other study we’ve seen on this topic), it found that those who spend a lot of money on content… were much, much, much more likely to also get content through unauthorized means. HADOPI released the results in a somewhat convoluted way (perhaps trying to downplay this result), but Karaganis reformatted the results to make this clear:

Karaganis suggests, then, that HADOPI’s method of dealing with this — threatening people to stop their file sharing, won’t do very much to help the bottom lines of the entertainment industry:

If piracy is a sampling and discovery tool for high spenders, then suppressing piracy could depress legal sales. If?as I?ll argue at more length in a subsequent post?we?re in a mostly zero-sum market in which consumers are maxed out on discretionary media expenditures, then enforcement won?t significantly expand but at best just cannibalize one media sector for another. Music, games, and movies, let?s say, competing for the same discretionary dollars?and all of them competing with rising, increasingly non-discretionary internet access and data charges. If we?re in this type of market, then HADOPI is just in the business of eliminating its best customers. Good luck with that business model.

And suppressing the means of communication at the same time — collateral damage for no good purpose. Brilliant!

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Comments on “Another Day, Another Study That Says 'Pirates' Are The Best Customers… This Time From HADOPI”

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125 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It all comes from the same root, which you never want to consider:

Pirates are the true fans. Without piracy, they would likely buy even more. The pirates may be big buyers as well, but would they have been even bigger buyers in the past, when they couldn’t get everything for free?

After all, music sales are dropping every day, yet the number of comsumer music player devices goes up. Hmmm.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh yawn. How do you decide to buy a certain brand of cereal over another? Someone tells you, you try it, or you get a discount coupon / free sample / victim of advertising / whatever.

Music plays on the radio, on various online services. It is easy to get exposed.

After all, I am assuming you don’t just pirate random stuff. I am assuming you do it because someone recommended it to you. That would work equally well for actually buying it, or checking out a 30 second sample online, or watching the music video on MTV9 or whatever channel actually plays the videos now.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m only going to comment on your 30 second sample comment, which is absolutely false. The last song I bought (which is also the last song I’ve even acquired) was several years ago. The reason I haven’t bought anything since was because the 30 second sample sounded like it was the song I wanted, but it turned out that it wasn’t. So screw it, if I can’t know for sure that the song I want is the song I’m getting, then I’m just not going to buy music. Now it turns out that I’m not a big music guy so I’m perfectly fine with not buying more music (nor pirating it) as there are lots of other things I am willing to buy. So the recording industry has caused me to put all of my discretionary dollars into other industries.

Another anecdote: I did recently consider buying several movie soundtracks for movies that I’ve seen, so I knew I liked the music. But all I could get was a 30 second preview of all the songs. Movie soundtracks are notorious for some parts of any given song be awesome and other parts be just filler. So if I listen to the 30 second preview, is the part I’m listening to the only good part, or perhaps it’s the only so-so part of an otherwise awesome track? I don’t know. Am I going to buy those soundtracks. Maybe, but only after I hear the whole thing. In comes youtube. When I’m done listening to those tracks, I may or may not buy, depending on how much I like the full tracks. Now youtube could be legit, or it could be that I end up listening to some non-legit uploads. I don’t care. If the recording industry wasn’t going to be bothered to put up the songs on youtube and at least get the advertising revenue out of it, that’s not my problem. Somebody else will do their job for them.

30 second samples are garbage.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

When I was younger a long time ago and had no money to speak of, I taped everything and that kept the things I liked on my mind and the lust to have the “original”.

Today, after I record it form an legal streaming service and heard it repeatedly several times and didn’t get bored after a couple of plays only them I got to a store to see what they can sell to me, I don’t really want the CD I want to be dazzled by imaginative coffe mugs, t-shirts that will show to the world my preferences and if possible a CD box that have some very cool art in it, the music I can get from the radio for free or some legal streaming service why would I bother to get the CD since I don’t even own a CD player I don’t have a use for it, it will become as many others a problem if it is not to be used as a visual piece art.

Now the important part I do never ever buy anything from creeps that are part of the big labels or even indies that don’t release their music under a CC Commons Sharealike type license, now I shop for liberal licenses that is more important to me than the music itself which I can live without it and been doing that for more than 10 years now, no money to the pricks of the recording industry.

Steven says:

Re: Re: Re:

I disagree with you there. In the days of DOS/C64/amiga/ect, piracy still existed and was rather common. Back then it was just as simple as copying the files to another floppy/cd. There are plenty of people who are far more willing to spend money on a game they have tried, much like being more willing to buy a dvd if you’ve seen it at a friend’s house. Plus, what about the people who buy legit versions, and then download a pirated copy because the legit version has drm that breaks the game? Also, as has been shown with spore, and many other games, DRM encourages even more people to just pirate the game rather than buy it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many games I have pirated to try, and then turned around and bough when i could afford to.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There’s a fundamental flaw in your comment. Music sales are not dropping. It’s the habits of the consumers that are switching to alternatives that do not include the labels. They are going to live performances and buying merchandise, they are donating directly to the artists, they are getting more stuff from indies and from free legal sources. And while the CDs got a hit in their revenues, the digital market is skyrocketing.

The labels might be the losing side in this shift of habits but this is no reason for them to push for draconian laws.

As for the citation needed comments, please, feel free to use Google and search for sources that include all the parts and not only the MAFIAA figures. I’m posting out of my own readings from articles here, at TF and from figures presented by the labels and other companies. If memory serves Nielsen had a quite comprehensive data set on this.

Qritiqal (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So, how do you explain people like me?

Before all this anti-piracy nonsense, I used to buy 5-10 CDs per month and I used to download everything I could get my grubby little internet fingers on. I also had XM radio that I paid something like $10/month for.

Now, I don’t download music at all and I certainly don’t PAY for it. I canceled XM radio, so now I just listen to free radio and accept the crap that comes to me via that avenue. My joy for music has evaporated. I think I’ve bought about 3 CDs in the last 5 years.

Alien Bard says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is a scenario I hear over and over again and again. This is the true effect of the current ‘anti-consum er, ‘anti-piracy‘ efforts of the Mafiaa. I don’t mind fights against people or groups with huge warehouses of counterfeit cd’s. I don’t even really object much to stings against individuals selling pirated cd’s on the street corner. But this new direction of hunting down ordinary citizens with open wifi connections is just ridiculous. It is also proving to be self destructive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Pirates are the true fans. Without piracy, they would likely buy even more.

Citation needed.

This is the latest in a long line of reports that used, you know, actual data. The conclusions presented are based on data, not wishful thinking. If you want to contradict the conclusions it draws, you need to provide data to support your assertions.

Simply saying “a group of people would likely do something” is not data, it’s just a petulant child saying “nuh-uh!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Citation needed?

Oh come on. Open your eyes and look. How come recorded music was an $XX billion dollar business, and today it’s only half of that? At the same time, the number of people with devices to play recorded music has taken off, from computers to MP3 players to Ithing enabled cars, and all of them are walking around with memories full of music.

Did it just magically appear there?

The people who are pirating hard and buying some are very likely to be buying more without piracy, they want music. If they cannot get it for free, they would spend for it if they really wanted it.

Ninja: Please. Music sales are way down, only barely covered by increasing concert ticket prices. Recorded music sales are way, way off, and any reader of Techdirt knows it, because Mike repeats that face often enough. If you are going to make shit up, at least try to do it in areas that are up for debate.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Recorded music was an $XX-billion dollar business back when distributing recorded music was an $XX-billion dollar undertaking requiring millions of shiny plastic discs. Now distributing recorded music is free and easy. Are you really surprised that the people who built their businesses around the shiny plastic discs are in trouble? Better shed a few tears for telephone switchboard operators while you’re at it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Dude, citations please. You claim that the music business is hurting, but I don’t see a damn thing.

We have more music now than we ever had before (take your eyes away from the mainstream and look at how much Jamendo has grown). If anyone is hurting it is the labels: the parasites that feed off the artist with their “creative accounting”.

But you are correct on one point: music sales are down. That is easily explainable: people are tired of paying for non-tangible goods. I don’t mind paying 60? for a music player, but why the %&*+! would I pay that much for one CD? It’s insane. I’d rather pirate it at that price. Who wouldn’t? You had to be completely retarded to pay that much.

But artists (yes THE artists, not the labels) are compensating by making money out of things that you cannot copy or rip-off: concerts, merchandise, etc.

So, yeah. The music business is healthy. It’s going through a minor cold, but they’ll tough it out.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That. I’ve read twice to check if there was any doubt in my original post (that the AC referred to) and turns out I mentioned free legal sources. And MAFIAA gets money from those sources that isn’t necessarily sales but it certainly is revenue (from ads, clicks and so on). I also mentioned direct donation to the artists (which I doubt that are even accounted) and now flattr comes to mind.

Labels might have their revenues cut by half (MIGHT, please post their latest results and say that with a straight face, I dare you won’t) and that’s one big emphasizing might. But the money is flowing and the MUSIC market is more alive than ever. Except that it’s much more independent from the labels.

“Music sales are way down, only barely covered by increasing concert ticket prices.” The first part of this phrase cannot be true if the second is. Concert tickets are music sales. And while the mega hits (Lady Gaga, U2 and merry friends) are increasingly expensive there are plenty of alternatives of pretty cheap and good music. So maybe it’s a crisis in the big businesses only while many smaller players are making much more? If I’m making this shit up I think I need to check if I’m still living in planet Earth because that happens to me on a pretty much weekly pace.

Or maybe you are living in your own Neverland unable to see reality.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh come on. Open your eyes and look. How come recorded music was an $XX billion dollar business, and today it’s only half of that? At the same time, the number of people with devices to play recorded music has taken off, from computers to MP3 players to Ithing enabled cars, and all of them are walking around with memories full of music.

You answered your own question.

The money went elsewhere.

20 years ago, very few people had computers. Almost no one had a mobile phone. Video games were for kids, and certainly not all of them. Practically all discretionary entertainment spending went to recorded music and movies.

Now. Almost everyone has a computer. There are more mobile phones in the world than there are people – and many are now smart phones. Most males under 40 have some game console or pricey computer to play games – and gaming among females has risen dramatically. The amount of discretionary entertainment spending is the same (if anything, its less as the wealth disparity in this country has increased significantly in the same time period). So recorded music now has to compete with all those other things for the same amount of money. And as we’ve seen in the past, the amount of money spent on music related things has actually increased – its just that spent on recorded music is dropping rapidly.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

>> The people who are pirating hard and buying some are very likely to be buying more without piracy, they want music. If they cannot get it for free, they would spend for it if they really wanted it.

Studies and common sense suggests that you are more likely to buy after sampling. And a very practical reason for producers not offering more samples of scarce goods is the cost associated with each sample. “Piracy” is sampling that doesn’t cost the producer anything in overhead.

Many have embraced “piracy” to greater profits than they ever had before. For example:

[wikipedia] >> Paulo Coelho is a strong advocate of spreading his books through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. A fan posted a Russian translation of one of his novels online. Sales of his book jumped from 3,000 to one million in three years, with no additional promotion or publicity from his publishers.

So believe what you want. Your beliefs are weak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Incorrection! Music sales go up every day. Single sales skyrocket (especially digital singles), while, yes, album sales fall. Can we say “crap filler tracks”? Sure, I knew that you could.

What happened to the days of Aerosmith or Michael Jackson selling 10 tracks on a 12 track album as singles? If a band doesn’t have that many good songs, make an EP or don’t make an album at all until they have enough to fill an album. Plenty of huge touring acts get away with only releasing a studio album every 5-10 years.

Radio and later tape trading drove sales for years. They gave up trying to find a way to prosecute tape traders as pirates because they saw how it improved sales, not sure why they’re hanging on so hard for digital piracy. The options as I see it :

1) Go back to vinyl. (Fine by me.)
2) Adopt the same attitude to older methods of sharing and look the other way as they rake in album and single sales.
3) Pressure the radio stations to play a bigger variety. The more people hear there, the less they need to pirate to sample.
4) Glen Danzig model, where you offer the downloads free on your own site, and sell CDs with awesome inserts and lyric and art booklet, and even more awesome stuff in limited edition boxed versions. Shift the perceived value of the CD sales off the music that can be gotten elsewhere and sell them something else they can’t resist buying with the CD.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

After all, music sales are dropping every day, yet the number of comsumer music player devices goes up. Hmmm.

I don’t know about anyone else, but since I already have my music library in digital format (ripped from CD’s) I don’t need to repurchase it for my new devices. So, yeah, it makes sense that revenue from repurchasing music in different formats has dropped.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Digital music sales are rising every day, physical media music sales are dropping.
Consumer music player devices (Digital media devices that is) sale are increasing.
Oh look, hand in hand, non physiccal digital music sales going up.

Old technology physical media sales going down.

Look what happened is simple, CD’s brought in digital media in a physical form and they were able to bump up the price over vinyl to pull down extra profit. Where did they pull it down from? Here and now, that’s where it came from.

This new change from physical digital media to non physical delivery devices has none of the upside for the industry that vinyl to cd did. People are not having to replace their entire collections, why should they, they already own the digital media, they just have to format shift it so that’s what they’ve done.

The drop in demand for physical media, is a blessing for the musicians. The vast majority of the cost of their music for the consumer was for the physical media, the transportation, breakages, staff costs etc etc.
Now if they sold tracks for 20c and albums for a dollar, they would be able to make the same money as they did before but their consumers could buy so much more of their and other creators music.

Obviously if the industry itself was insane, you would see a ridiculous situation where they try to charge roughly the same for the non physical media as they did for the old physical media with all it’s extra and very large costs.

Oh…

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

> The pirates may be big buyers as well, but would
> they have been even bigger buyers in the past,
> when they couldn’t get everything for free?

No. They would buy less in the past if they could sample first and find out what is crap and what isn’t crap. It is probably a safe bet that they would only buy the non-crap.

> After all, music sales are dropping every day,
> yet the number of co[n]sumer music player devices
> goes up. Hmmm.

Yeah, Hmmmm.

Because people buy only the non-crap.

Even without any ability to listen before you buy, the internet makes it much easier for word to get around about what is crap.

Oh, right. But you want to get rid of “rogue sites” that might be “enablers” and “facilitators” rather than go after the actual pirates. Now I see why.

drew (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry the flaw in your argument is that back in the music industry’s heyday music was the big thing. Now people’s dollars are split between a wider range of entertainment formats (games, dvds etc).
People only have so much money to spend, the content industries need to work harder to attract that cash. At the moment, a lot of them are failing to recognise that their true competitors are not just in their own markets, they’re the whole entertainment business.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re:

Quote:

would they have been even bigger buyers in the past, when they couldn’t get everything for free?

Probably not, because most people are annoyed at the industry and are making a point at evading it.

And because those same pirates would never find themselves in a world where they couldn’t get what they wanted for free, in the 60’s 8-track tape sales exploded do you think people where using those things for legal purposes only?
BASF, 3DM and others made billions of dollars selling cassette tapes, VHS tapes and other recording medias, do you truly believe all those sales were to people obeying the law?

Piracy is and was massive. The thing before was that nobody could see it in real time happening.

Somehow you people keep ignoring these facts.

The industry sued everyone and their sales vanished, most of it in only one year, coincidentally the year the RIAA decided to stop suing others.

Piracy has occurred in a massive scale long before the internet but somehow now it is a bigger problem.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“Pirates are the true fans. Without piracy, they would likely buy even more. “

With what money? People who stopped spending money on music didn’t just stop spending that money. They spent it on other things instead. If you want that money back you’re going to have to compete for it, and right now the recording industry is doing a terrible job of that.

As an aside to that, one way to guarantee people won’t buy from you is to do things that people hate you for. That’s one thing the recording industry is doing very well. It doesn’t matter how justified you think these “anti-piracy” actions are, only the opinion of your potential customers matter. If I won the lottery tomorrow I still wouldn’t give the big labels a single dollar if I could help it. They simply don’t deserve it.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

music sales are dropping every day

I don’t know how many times it needs to be repeated:

Music purchases are increasing.

Music profits are decreasing, but that’s because the type of sales that have skyrocketed (online purchases of MP3’s) are not as profitable as the type of sales that have plummeted (purchases of CD’s and other physical products).

However, there is this:

Without piracy, they would likely buy even more.

That is a very real possibility – but so is the notion that piracy increases interest in music overall, leading them to value music more, thus increasing their willingness to pay for it.

It is impossible to prove what people would have done, so the only possible way to even judge this is to ask them. And when surveyed, the data actually support both conclusions – people say they would have bought music if they couldn’t pirate it, but also that they have bought more music since they started file sharing.

Since the amount of music purchases (though not profits) has increased at roughly the same rate as piracy, I’d guess the latter has a larger effect, though of course correlation does not equal causation.

But even if what you say is true, it shows how certain responses to piracy should be avoided. For example, kicking them off the internet, or restricting their internet connection, will remove their ability to pirate. But it also removes their ability to purchase. You turn them from pirates and purchasers, into neither. Your customer base, then, consists only of those who don’t pirate – who are the ones who spend less.

Of course, removing piracy won’t make anyone’s discretionary income go up – so any sales gained due to lack of ability to pirate, will also be lost in either competing industries (games, DVD’s), the same industry (they’ll buy a CD and not have enough to see the live show), or even the same business (they’ll buy a Lady Gaga album instead of a Madonna album). That’s not very important if you’re interested solely in the recording industry, but it is important when considering the effect on the industry as a whole, and the economy overall.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

i can attest to piracy being a wonderful method of exposure to and a facilitator for the love of music. were it not for piracy, i would not have a single song (aside, possibly, from the old tapes my sister left behind when she moved out). rather than that being the case, however, i now have a library of some six thousand songs (and counting). most of this was built up during high school, before i started working and had any source of income. in preparation for college, however, i took up a job and now avidly purchase merchandise and make donations to authors i never would have known existed were it not for file sharing. in fact, i am currently wearing a shirt that i payed $45.40 and waited 30 days to have shipped across the atlantic ocean. i also have several cd’s which i bought solely for the purpose of having the booklet insert (huzzah for protomen!) and go to concerts fairly regularly.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

most of this was built up during high school, before i started working and had any source of income.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the story of everyone who loves music, myself included.

The sad part is how many of the artists who are anti-piracy actually benefited from this. The classic example is Metallica. Their first two albums cracked the Billboard Top 200, despite the fact that there was a media blackout on the band. How did they do this? Through word-of-mouth – which means kids trading tapes of their records. Flash forward to 2000, and they’re up in arms about Napster and those same kids “stealing” their music. To “steal” a phrase from Roger Ebert: “I’m safe on board. Pull up the life rope.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Piracy IS reducing sales, in a way, because now people can try before they buy, and that makes a lot of people realize there are things they do NOT want to pay for.

On the other hand, it increases sales for a lot of niche stuff that people would never have risked their money on before, because now people can give it a shot before they drop their money on it and discover new things.

So really, what piracy does is that it makes people spend their money on QUALITY instead of BRANDS. Yeah, this causes some losses for the big boys, but if they just put more work into their products, maybe this would change.

David Kindler (profile) says:

Anonymous Coward 2 has a point. If you consider the biggest infringers the biggest fans, just think how much more they would have bought if they had never even heard (or heard of) the bands they downloaded. The advertising power of downloading is understated. I bet that the music industry would be far better off if people didn’t know about any other artists beyond Beyonce, Metallica and Lil’ Wayne. There’s something there for everyone.

Zadion says:

Re: Re:

That’s it exactly. Maybe sales are dropping severely for popular artists, but the more underground bands or even styles of music can and are flourishing a lot better now than they could ever have hoped to in the 90s. And it’s not even just the bands – small name record companies are fairing far better now (not surprisingly) than they used to as well. What this shows, if anything, is that piracy is encouraging more thoroughly divided sales instead of everything going towards mass producers. Of course, those mass producers are unhappy with this, and find the only repair being destroying online sharing. That way, we’re back in the 90s, where bands like Metallica are getting all the sales, while smaller death, progressive, or folk metal bands are unheard of. Maybe this is also why smaller bands seem to be a lot more ok with people downloading their music (some even encourage it) than bands like Metallica, who’d be happy suing everyone who does.

Wizz (profile) says:

Well, were do you find something that proves that
“After all, music sales are dropping every day, yet the number of comsumer music player devices goes up.”

Cause Nielsen seems to know that’s not the case
http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/broken-records-music-sales-for-albums-and-digital-tracks-up-in-first-half-of-2011/
And that’s not even considering the growth of Concerts, and all the micro economy from Youtube/etc users.

But yeah, iPod sales are going up since 2001, and guess what? Since 2001, the record industry still thinks a CD can physically fit into an iPod.

Well, big news: IT CAN’T.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’ve got a metric shit ton of CDs and LPs. Half the CDs duplicate my favorite LPs. They’re all now gathering dust in the garage. ALL the family music is in ones and zeroes on our laptops or the Droid – or via Pandora (paid subscription). Can’t remember the last CD I bought. Sony? EMI? They just don’t know they’re dead yet

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Hadopi FTW

If HADOPI succeeds…then the potential customer has no internet connection. They can’t get at any music, legal or otherwise (short of using someone else’s internet connection…question: if HADOPI disconnects you, does the agency have the power to inspect your iTunes or whatever account, in case you make a music purchase while being banned from net access?)

Anonymous Coward says:

Did it just magically appear there?

No. But a great deal of us bought hundreds of CDs in the last decade and have decades of cherished music in legal digital format now. My mp3s didn’t magically appear in my player; I PUT them there after legally copying them from my CDs.

Being the cranky old man that I am, I haven’t heard hardly any new music I wanted to buy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, it isn’t. Blaming the victim is an epic fail and always will be.

And polls don’t trump stats. Recorded music sales got cut in half in ten years since Napster, yet iPods kept filling up. Why? Piracy.

All the propaganda on this site will never change that fact or have any effect. That’s why laws and enforcement are aggresively moving forward.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So I suppose if it were up to you, the U.S. would still be “enforcing” alcohol prohibition to this day, and the fact that everyone continues to drink would just be evidence that more enforcement is needed.

You see, when you prohibit something that virtually everyone does, you create a really crappy situation: black market access becomes big business, and enforcement becomes big business. Those two businesses feed off each other, constantly pushing each other to greater heights, while the legitimate businesses get absolutely nothing out of the deal.

Your moral argument is meaningless: attacking piracy accomplishes nothing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That’s an epic fail also. Prohibition took something that was legal, and tried to make it illegal.

The other reason your thoughts fail, (besides the fact that not everyone pirates, not even close) is that they could be applied to any law. If people did the right thing all the time, every time, we wouldn’t need any laws at all.

But that’s not how life works, is it?

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Last I checked nobody cared about piracy in the public space in the form of people sharing things and that was not to long ago.

So no, some people believe they can mandate conformity in the public space and change how people behave, not only that they want to change human nature, there is nothing more universal than sharing it tranverses cultural, ethic and religious barriers all over the world and those crazy people blinded by greed and self entitlement believe they can change the very thing that enable the human race to thrive.

Yep that is happening…only in your dreams LoL

BeeAitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“The other reason your thoughts fail, (besides the fact that not everyone pirates, not even close) is that they could be applied to any law.”

Just for fun, name some other laws where >50% of the general public ignores said law.

When the majority of the public ignores (disobeys) a law, that law should never have been passed.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So lets arrest everyone who is pirating, except it appears to be to many people to jail. So the easier thing to do; we take everyone who is against piracy, lock them up far, far away so they can keep their IP safe from the other 90% of the population that believes in sharing and only supporting creators who make things they like and they can sit around selling there crap content to each other.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And then iTunes came along and the sales started rising again.

And that’s the FREAKING POINT! Change the business model, and you’ll see revenue growth again, from a lot of people that are not not paying *at all*, just as how iTunes made many Napster users to pay, because it was easier and convenient, and they didn’t have to buy full albums to get the songs they wanted. It was a dramatic change of business model, but it still worked!

It seems the labels simply don’t understand basic economics. A lot of people simply don’t see the value in a “digital” song as they do anymore. So either adapt to serve these people, or don’t get surprised when they pirate the songs. A few lawsuits here and there won’t change anything. They’ve been trying for a decade this strategy, and what did that give them? More piracy.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Your conveniently forgot to mention that very very sharp drop in sales that occurred the same year the RIAA dropped the lawsuits right after it got the sales report.

It was something like 10 billion dollars from one year to the other LoL

Not even piracy could explain that, but public backlash explains why the industry is so desperate to find proxies to do their dirty work for them.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re:

Exactly that behavior is so natural and happens at every social bracket that it can’t be good right? more impressive it happens independently of what race, faith, age, sexual orientation, country or community you are in is that scary or what? LoL

Did you also noticed that the more people spend the more they pirate?

Anonymous Coward says:

I used to pirated/downloaded movies all the time as a kid under 18. I didn’t have money. I wasn’t going to buy anything because I couldn’t.

I had since grown up, went to college, and got a good job.

I continue to watch almost every single movie released. However, now that I have a job and a different lifestyle. I use Redbox, Netflix, Hulu a lot. I also go to the movie theater almost weekly, albeit it might be $5 during weekdays or Saturday morning and not the $10-15 primetime costs. I haven’t downloaded a movie in over 4+ years. I am a huge spender of movies nowadays.

I ask people who aren’t really into movies and those who are.
All my friends who are big into movies, have pirated movies in the past and bought movies or go to theaters.
Those who aren’t into movies, have not ever downloaded movies, yet they never purchase a movie or tickets.

I ask them if they simply don’t like movies, and they say they do, but can’t afford it or never really got into it because they couldnt afford to watch many. They also admit they don’t know how to download movies off the internet.(though this reason is dwindling with more and more easy & available sources)

I can’t honestly say its a direct cause and effect, as it could simply be the personality type. But Id like to think that downloading movies made me develop a habit of watching new releases and enjoying movies that it turned me into a big spender nowadays.

Chriscoats89 says:

This is why the Playstation 2 was so successful

Almost everyone i knew had “chipped” versions of the original Playstation. It became the most popular console because there were no other alternatives on the N64.

When the PS2 came out, a LOT less people could chip their machines, but the brand loyality was there after years of playing their playstations.

Terry Hancock (profile) says:

The graph could be a lot better

I found the graph really hard to interpret w.r.t. the subject.

It emphasizes relatively unimportant facts — a histogram showing the distribution of “licit” media consumption. The secondary element is a histogram of “illicit” media consumption. Neither is what the article is about.

The thing you _wanted_ to communicate was that the percentage of illicit to licit use is increasing as we go to the right side of the chart.

To figure _this_ out, I have to mentally divide graphical bars of varying lengths (which may even be subject to optical illusion). As a result, the chart really doesn’t help your point much. Just tabulating the numbers would probably be more effective.

But what would be a much better representation is to use a simple bar chart of the _percent illicit/licit use_ against the existing independent axis. This would normalize out the distribution information (which isn’t very important), and make the relevant point (bars get bigger to the right) leap out at the reader.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The graph could be a lot better

LOL, there’s nothing to refute. Your statement is so vaguely worded as to have virtually no meaning from a statistical point of view.

“What it shows is that those that spend zero on music pirate more than those that supposedly spend the most on music”

I guess what you mean is: “there are more people who spend no money on music and also pirate than there are people who spend lots on music and also pirate” but that is a nonsensical comparison because the group that spends no money is already so much bigger than the group that spends the most money.

Basically it’s like saying “There are more two-legged murderers than one-legged murderers.” True, but not a very useful observation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The graph could be a lot better

No, as usual, you boneheads try to either misdirect, change the subject or use moronic analogies.

It says what is says: more people that spent zero on music pirated than those that spent the most on music.

The exact opposite of what the world-class buffoon Mike Masnick said.

And you can’t refute that.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The graph could be a lot better

Wow. Okay dude – you really need to learn a little bit about statistics.

What you are saying is true but completely meaningless. I’m not sure how to explain it to you. It’s exactly like what I said: you are not accounting for the comparative sizes of the groups, so you might as well be saying “there are more two-legged murderers than one-legged murderers”

Is it TRUE? Yes. Does it tell you ANYTHING about the relationship between murder and number of legs? No.

If you can’t grasp that, it’s no wonder you can’t understand the sort of stuff Techdirt discusses.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The graph could be a lot better

Haha wow. Yes I will refute it, because you are entirely wrong

You have literally just said the exact opposite of what this graph shows.

It shows that those who spent the MOST pirated the MOST, and those who spent the LEAST also pirated the LEAST. You see, it’s about proportions not totals. If you make it about totals, you draw totally specious and meaningless conclusions.

It’s astonishing to me that you don’t understand this.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The graph could be a lot better

Please read this carefully, because you really should try to understand this simple concept:

Let’s say you take a room full of 100 people, and divide them based on whether or not they are wearing a red sweater. Let’s say that 10 of them have red sweaters on, so you move them over to one side of the room.

Now you ask everyone in both groups what their favourite colour is. A lot of the people in red sweaters will probably say red: let’s say 7 out of the 10 say red.

Now, of the other 90, there are going to be plenty of people whose favourite colour is red too, even though they aren’t wearing a red sweater that day. So let’s say 15 of those 90 people say that red is their favourite colour too.

We now have 7 out of 10 people in red sweaters saying red is their favourite, and 15 out of 90 in other colours saying red is their favourite. What conclusion can we draw? That there is a correlation between liking red and wearing red.

By YOUR method, we wouldn’t conclude that. Instead, you would say: “There are twice as many non-red-lovers wearing red! Thus NOT liking red causes you to wear more red!”

Do you see now how stupid that is?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 The graph could be a lot better

I told you above that your moronic analogies don’t work with me, or any other thinking life form, so please spare us your attempt at half-assed Jedi mind tricks.

It shows that those who spent the MOST pirated the MOST, and those who spent the LEAST also pirated the LEAST.

The people that spent the most accounted for a mere 7% of the total surveyed. So just because they pirated more than they bought, means a whopping zilch in the aggregate. The people that spent nothing, still pirated more than those that bought the most. That’s where the problem lies.

Try this; you’re Canadian, it might help you a little:

http://piracy.ssrc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/HADOPI-high-spenders.png

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:8 The graph could be a lot better

yeah that graph shows what we have been explaining to you. More people in gneral don’t buy music. But the more music you buy the more likely your a pirate. Pirates buy the most music.

Yes there are more people that pirate that dont buy than spend over 100euros a month. So? There are more people that dont buy music than people spend more than 100euros a month. But the % of those people that are pirates goes up the more people spend.

The majority of people that don’t buy music are not pirates. The majority of people that spend a lot of money on music are pirates!!! get it?

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:8 The graph could be a lot better

you keep saying “people pirated more”, we dont know how much these people pirated. Some may pirate a lot some may pirate a little, that information is not in this graph or study. We do know that more of the paying customers are pirates and more people who dont buy any music are non-pirates

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 The graph could be a lot better

Hahaha…

It’s not an “analogy” dude – it’s a statistical example to attempt to get you to understand a basic statistical principle. I’m am not trying to draw any connection between red sweaters and piracy (that would be an analogy) I am trying to show you how hilariously flawed your understanding of statistics is.

The fact that you still don’t get this is utterly flabbergasting. A seventh-grader could read my example and understand the point I am making about the graph – but you continue to ignore it. But then, a seventh-grader would understand how to use the word “analogy” properly too, so I guess we know where we stand with you.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 The graph could be a lot better

Look at it this way, with your method, you could take any two groups completely unrelated to piracy, where one represents 25% of the population and the other represents 7% of the population (or any other large split like that), and you would get the same results.

– There are more brown-haired pirates than red-haired pirates.
– More pirates vacation in Las Vegas than in Toronto
– There are more two-legged pirates than one-legged pirates (discounting of course real pirates, since then we’d have to adjust for peg-legs)

When your method of analysis can result in virtually unlimited false correlations, it is not a very good one.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The graph could be a lot better

it doesnt show that in the slightest. We dont know how much they pirates but it shows that more people who spend a lot of money on music are pirates than not pirates.

It could be that the non-spenders only pirate 1 album a year and the major spenders pirates hundreds, or the inverse could be true but this graph does have information to make a guess or inference either way.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The graph could be a lot better

To put it simple so you can understand.
If the number of people who expend make up 5% of the total 4% pirate and then buy something and 1% never buys anything in that bracket, which clearly shows that the people who expend the most is using piracy as a way to find what they want.

Which means you either don’t understand what the statistical numbers there mean or is trying to distort them.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The graph could be a lot better

Try looking at it this way:

Piracy aside, this study shows there are more people who spend zero on music than who spend the most on music – significantly more. You are ignoring the proportion of those who pirate, and focusing on the absolute number.

When you do that, you can draw all sorts of wacky conclusions. It’s likely that, in terms of gross number of people, the group that spends zero on music also includes more people with red hair, more people with bad backs and more people with pet snakes than the group that spends the most – but none of that means anything.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The graph could be a lot better

his point is that of the people pulled 9% spend no money and pirate and 5% spend over 100euro and pirate so therefore pirates are freeloaders.

He ignores the the opposite lesson 16% of respondents dont pirate and dont but anything only 2% of respondents dont pirate and spend over 100 euros. So non-pirates are people who don’t buy or listen to a lot of music.

See what you are missing AC? More none-pirates buy no music than pirates. Less none-pirates spend money on music than pirates. Also the vast majority of the people that do spend a lot of money are pirates! Every time you go into a higher category of music purchasers the % of pirates increase!

That graph says the more music you buy the more likely you are a pirate and people who don’t pirate and LESS likely to buy music. Therefore pirates=music lovers AND the industries best customers. Ask your math teacher to explain it to you if you still don’t get it. The conclusion you draw is meaningless.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The graph could be a lot better

yes, but looking at the non-pirate category the same way it says more people that dont pirate dont buy music than do. We are not trying to see which category is the biggest we are trying to see the % of pirates to non-pirates in each category.

the percentage of pirates in the non-buyer category is 8 out of 25 =~30%

the precentage of pirates in the people who spend the most category is 5 of 7=~68%

The % of pirates in each category increases as more money is spent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The graph could be a lot better

the percentage of pirates in the non-buyer category is 8 out of 25 =~30%.

No. You’re not even coming close to reading that correctly. Look at the graph I posted. Each of the 3 bars is a *separate* percentage of 5 percentages that add up to 100% and are unrelated to each other.

This is a hilarious conversation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 The graph could be a lot better

No, you’re a freetard that can’t explain this piece of nonsense: “the percentage of pirates in the non-buyer category is 8 out of 25 =~30%.”

But you’re too stupid to run and hide like the other tards did because you swallow whatever you’re told here without thinking first.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re:8 The graph could be a lot better

that wasnt me that was just someone else who realizes your being really stupid either on purpose or because there is something wrong with your brain function .

Its quite simple. If you look at that one category(people who don’t buy), according to this graph that category was 25% of respondents. Of that 25% 8 or maybe 9% are pirates the rest are not. 8% is ~ a third of 25% so pirates make up a 3rd of that category. The category that buys the most is either 6 or 7% of respondents the majority of those are pirates. Its not that hard to understand.

Your graph shows that 18% of the people that were polled that are pirates dont buy any music, while 32% of non-pirates don’t buy music. But does not allow for a comparison between groups because as you said each set of bars adds to 100 and we don’t know how big the two groups are in proportion to each other.

Either graph, any way you slice it, pirates are more likely to buy music and the more music you buy the more likely your a pirate. And if you don’t buy any music its more likely that you are a non-pirate than are one.

Ask your math teacher when grade school starts up in few weeks, I’m sure he can explain graphs and statistical analysis to you.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: The graph could be a lot better

What it shows is that those that spend zero on music pirate more than those that supposedly spend the most on music.

No. It shows that people who pirate more are more likely to spend money across all spending ranges than people who do not pirate.

For example: licit users are equally likely to spend 20-30 Euros/moth, 1-19 Euros/month, and nothing at all. On the other hand, illicit users are more likely to spend 1-19 Euros/month, and even more likely to spend 20-30 Euros/month.

The number of illicit users in either the 19-20 range, the 20-30 range, or the 30-99 range, are larger than the number of illicit users who spend nothing. That is not true of licit users.

Considering only the number of illicit users, the only range that is smaller than people who purchased nothing, is the range of people who spent >100 Euros/month. And within that range, the percentage of persons who are also pirates is greater than in any other range.

There is no question: people who pirate spend more on music. That is the only conclusion you could possibly reach from this data.

Darius Smith says:

Here?s a fact. Theft doesn?t only happen when a consumer robs the corporation of their ?hard earned profit?. It also happens when that corporation feels the need to keep inflating their costs. Now, we all know that the national average on inflation is about 7% ? what corporation have you ever heard of that will give you a 7% raise to keep up with inflation ? not a single one I?ve ever heard of … yet, their prices certainly manage to keep up with it. Every corporation in America is robbing people, … they are laying people off yet, the executive?s bonuses keep getting bigger and bigger. Do you think the pirates really feel bad that they are hurting their bottom line? No ? the better they get at preventing piracy, the better the pirates become at getting it ? that?s just the way it works. I?m in 100% agreeance that they need to change their business strategy. I wouldn?t mind buying stuff more often if they weren?t always trying to rip me off. Let me provide you with an example ? you go into Best Buy to buy monster cable ? a 6 ft cable is like $80 ? if you worked there and you got your discount .. you?d pay less than $5. How on EARTH is that fair? It?s not. Therefor, ? I don?t care if I affect their bottom line because they don?t care about affecting the bottom line of my pocket. You want me to buy more ? be more reasonable. Until then ? I?ll hand you a spoon so you can eat my ass.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Self-supplied data

Yes, the way to address this is to simply ignore studies that contradict your preconceived notions and assume the people surveyed are lying. This means that no study of “pirates” can ever be deemed credible, and so the entertainment industry can keep on attacking its own customers and blame “pirates” when they continue to lose money. Well done.

Komm says:

Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jul 28th, 2011 @ 8:08am

Problem is most consumers have very limited amount of money to spend on media. So no i dont think they would spend more.
Because internet is such good source of information, consumer now dont want to spend money on potential c**p.
Producers should think more quality of their movies and not wonder why moviesthat have number 3 4 5 etc in them title dont sell as good.

Komm says:

Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jul 28th, 2011 @ 8:08am

Problem is most consumers have very limited amount of money to spend on media. So no i dont think they would spend more.
Because internet is such good source of information, consumer now dont want to spend money on potential c**p.
Producers should think more quality of their movies and not wonder why moviesthat have number 3 4 5 etc in them title dont sell as good.

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