Danish Trade Minister Apologizes For Using Bogus Industry Numbers To Support Pro-ACTA Argument

from the wow dept

One of the things we’ve noted for years is how the debate over copyright issues is dominated by (often questionable) numbers put out by the copyright industries themselves. They get especially questionable when it comes to talking about infringement and the impact of infringement… and apparently some folks are finally calling out those who blindly repeat questionable numbers. Over in Denmark, where the battle over copyright and ACTA has been pretty fierce (Denmark has been one of the strongest ACTA supporters), a group of supporters have been called out for their bogus industry numbers… and (amazingly) they’re now confessing that they used misleading numbers (and even admitting that this weakens their argument for ACTA). You can see both the Danish Trade Minister and the head of a Danish music rights organization (and famous Danish musician) Ivan Pedersen appear on a TV show below (with English subtitles). On the show, a well-informed presenter focuses on how both of these ACTA defenders claimed that 95% of music downloaded in Denmark was unauthorized, and carefully shows how that’s simply false — and then gets both of the ACTA defenders to admit that the numbers were wrong.

What really appears to have happened is that the head of the rights organization used the (already questionable) IFPI report from three years ago that 95% of all music downloads were unauthorized. That number was widely attacked at the time, but even more important, that was a global number, not a Danish specific one. Furthermore, a lot has changed in three years. The TV presenter highlights a variety of research reports that show that actual infringement is almost certainly less than 50% and potentially much lower. And much of the reason why the number is low… is the rise of authorized services.

In other words: why are these people focusing on ACTA? What works is innovation and offering more legitimate services.

And that’s actually really important, because it wasn’t stricter laws that made such things happen: it was the rise of good, useful and convenient authorized services that effectively competed with the infringing offerings. If anything, those updated stats should raise even more questions about why new laws are needed. Instead, we should be asking why the legacy entertainment industry continues to make it difficult for new authorized services to get off the ground — holding them hostage with ridiculous licensing demands, as well as demands for huge equity chunks. If they let innovation flow and authorized services grow, it seems like “infringement” as a problem would shrink tremendously.

It’s nice to see these two pro-ACTA folks admit that they were wrong — and even admit that it weakens their arguments, but both still argue for ACTA. They sort of brush off the wrong figure while both admitting that it was “given” to them by normally trustworthy sources. Of course, this really raises significant questions about how much they really understand what’s going on vs. how much they’re simply repeating the talking points handed to them by legacy entertainment industry conglomerates.

But, still, they can’t back down on their support of ACTA. Pedersen says it’s still needed because of “dramatic” amounts of infringement, while the Trade Minister is even more aggressive in claiming that ACTA is still needed. She says “it’s unfortunate” that she had bad information and it’s “a pity” that the 95% number is so wrong because now it makes her argument look bad. That it does. But she’s not willing to let go or rethink her position. She immediately jumps into the ridiculous comparison of how it’s “just like” the fact that “you may not steal an orange in the supermarket.” The second anyone (especially a politician) argues that making a copy of a file is the same thing as physically stealing an object from a store, it shows that they have no business taking part in such a debate, because they clearly don’t understand the issues at play. She then insists that no matter what the percentage of unauthorized downloads “it’s still too many.” If that’s the case, then why even bring up the bogus 95% issue in the first place? And if any percentage is “too many” does she support shutting off the internet? Because that’s the only way you stop all unauthorized downloads (though it won’t stop infringement through other means). Bizarrely, after all this, when the TV presenter confronts her about the numbers again, she says “we need to have real numbers” in the debate, and that’s “very important.” Indeed. Kind of tragic that she didn’t bother to actually bring any to the debate, isn’t it?

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Comments on “Danish Trade Minister Apologizes For Using Bogus Industry Numbers To Support Pro-ACTA Argument”

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:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

The Value of a Lie

In a word: priceless.

For example, see: Religion.

So long as your lie is believed, you have control of a person’s thoughts (on at least one subject) which means you have a measure of control over that person’s actions and conclusions, based on their “informed” reasoning–which is, in part, based upon your lies.

Lies which are widely believed often change the worlds so it resembles the lie, or at least it will in people’s minds.

Examples: Napoleon was 5’6″, tall to average height, always depicted as short. George Washington was 5’1″, and is never depicted as short.

You use you whole brain all the time–yet the “10% of your brain” bit has been touted as true for decades.

Snake Oil was an effective Chinese joint pain remedy–who’s name in now synonymous with scams due to a smear campaign by Bayer.

“We the people” on the Declaration of Independence was actually short form for: “We, the white, male, land-owning wealthy people”…

Anyhow, I could continue typing examples all day, but have other things to do. Look around, there’s tons of examples as the the value of a lie.

PaulClarkSaintJohn (profile) says:

They Do Not Even See the Freight Train Coming at Them

The worst thing is that the industry does not even see the freight train coming at them. USB sticks have a maximun capacity of 256 Gigs. That is 48,000 MP3 or 250 movies.

Pretty soon, you will be able to walk into a bar and buy a USB stick with all the music or 250+ of Hollywood’s movies published in any given year for $50. It will be physical transaction with no electronic records. Good luck stopping this trade.

The USN sticks exist. They just need to come down in price when they are massed produced.

awbMaven (profile) says:

Apples& oranges, how to combat it.

the Trade Minister is even more aggressive in claiming that ACTA is still needed. She says “it’s unfortunate” that she had bad information and it’s “a pity” that the 95% number is so wrong because now it makes her argument look bad. That it does. But she’s not willing to let go or rethink her position. She immediately jumps into the ridiculous comparison of how it’s “just like” the fact that “you may not steal an orange in the supermarket.” The second anyone (especially a politician) argues that making a copy of a file is the same thing as physically stealing an object from a store, it shows that they have no business taking part in such a debate, because they clearly don’t understand the issues at play.

Presenters and interviewers should pull out their smart phones, take a picture of an apple/orange, and then ask the pro-ACTA interviewee whether the presenter/interviewer has just stolen an apple/orange and for their reasons.

I visual demonstration of the absurdity is very quick to accomplish and would demolish the copying is stealing argument quite quickly, and would hopefully educate/embarrass others into stopping use suck a stupid argument.

Baldaur Regis (profile) says:

Where is the moral conviction of these people?

One thing has become clear in all the debate about SOPA/PIPA, ACTA, TPP and all the other copyright enhancement efforts: the people who are FOR these acts get their information from the content creators, make a conscious decision to support it, but back down at the least amount of public pushback.

Time after time, politicians “rethink their position”, or amazingly, admit to civic absentmindedness and apologize. No one, it seems, does their homework and study the issues; they just parrot the talking points handed to them.

They advocate a position from ignorance, and act surprised when ordinary citizens call them on it. There is no strength in their arguments, and no conviction.

bendy says:

The Value of a Lie

Must be a sad, sad life you live, lobo, to be trapped in one of the biggest lies of all. Easy enough ’cause we’re all masters of self-deception, and we’ll convince ourselves of anything as long as it means not believing what we don’t want to believe. You list these things but, like our maximalist troll friends, give no empirical evidence to support them. I bet you don’t even realized you just described yourself with your first paragraph, do you?

You see, the key to getting someone like you, who believes he is above all this, to believe a lie is to not sell it outright, but rather mix it with enough truths and half-truths to make it sound true. That’s why the myth of a creatorless world sells. But what you think supports your argument actually condemns it if you look at it apart from your obsessive need to to pretend you weren’t created. Why you have that need, I don’t know, but I’ll bet it runs deeper than any intellectual front you might show us. Anyway, I’ve taken us on enough of a tangent, don’t want to derail us any further.

Rikuo (profile) says:

The Value of a Lie

I must object to what you are trying to pass Lobo Santo off as. Especially when you try to ridicule away his non-belief in religion.
In fact, that is a very good point to make, the fact that the concept of religion has become blurred. To me, the concept of religion means following an organised belief system, with specific rituals and ideals. At that level, it has nothing to do with whether or not the world was actively created by a divine being of one form or another. What Lobo was saying that religions have been created by humans expressly to control other people.
One doesn’t necessarily have to be a believing member of a religion in order to believe in a world created by a divine being. That’s what I am. I believe in a supreme being (what his/her/its attributes are, I do not and cannot know), but I don’t follow any religion, because that would mean subjecting myself to the religious beliefs of other people.

saulgoode (profile) says:

The later survey (KODA 2010?) apparently determined that half of the music downloaded by Danish Internet users was not paid for. This result is misrepresented as 50% being done illegally. The wrong question was asked and the response was then misinterpreted.

There is a great deal of freely downloadable music on the web — and since people are free to add it to their collection merely by clicking on a webpage, it is not unreasonable to think that such activity comprises a large portion of unpaid downloads.

As for myself, I have never paid for a music download, and yet I have about 30 gigabytes of music from bands that freely share their music and zero bytes of illicitly downloaded music.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Value of a Lie

Wow – even 2 seconds of Googling brings up strong evidence to back Lobo’s statements – something that doesn’t occur on trollish statements.

Granted these are wiki articles, but they actually cite their sources.




Anonymous Coward says:

Got links to that “variety of research reports”? So far, the numbers I am seeing are high 80s to low 90s. Perhaps if you count the number of files downloaded, not size, you might get a lower number (because a linux distribution has many more files than a single dvd rip), but really… what is out there seems to indicate otherwise.

So, any links?

Anonymous Coward says:

They Do Not Even See the Freight Train Coming at Them

You keep missing the point. Hollywood has little intent on stopping piracy, most of that is just a pretext. What they want to stop is competition.

Megaupload offers artists an alternative efficient distribution channel and a nice way to get paid for their work. That’s what Hollywood fears. They want to be the gatekeeper to efficient distribution.

USB sticks maybe great for spreading around popular content, but it’s too expensive and inefficient for up and coming artists to get their start. If that weren’t so, CD’s, DVD’s, and cassettes and VHS’s would have taken off as a means to such distribution a long time ago. Why do you think Hollywood was initially against this technology? To stop piracy? Maybe in part, but mostly because at the time they didn’t know that such technologies were inefficient at distributing independent content. Now they’re much more comfortable with these sorts of technologies because there is a lot of history indicating that these sorts of manual peer to peer technologies aren’t efficient for the distribution of independent, non-established, content. Peer to peer, in general, is not good at this sort of thing. Centralized Internet servers, like Youtube and Megaupload, serve much better and have given many artists a better opportunity to gain recognition and get paid for their work without Hollywood.

In order for artists to get their start they need quick, easy, and cheap mass distribution. For instance they need to go to a restaurant and perform in front of an audience so that people can experience the artist together and build culture. That’s what Hollywood doesn’t want, which is why they have wrongfully made it too legally risky and expensive for many restaurants and other venues to host independent performers (and even for bakeries to allow children to create custom drawings on cakes). Government established cableco and broadcasting monopolies have made it almost impossible for independents to get their content distributed through these channels. So what’s their alternative? The internet? They’re working on that too.

This isn’t just about piracy, that’s a pretext, what they want is to ban competition. Look at America in general. The government establishes all sorts of monopolies. Taxi cab monopolies, mailbox delivery monopolies, electricity delivery monopolies (and the electric companies don’t even pay taxes), etc… This isn’t about piracy alone, it’s about maintaining and advancing plutocracy. Nothing more.

Anonymous Coward says:

They Do Not Even See the Freight Train Coming at Them

and one reason why it’s difficult for new up and coming artists to distribute their content through peer to peer (there are a few reasons) is because peer to peer, at least if it’s being implemented via cassette and VHS tapes and DVD’s, makes it harder for a community to evaluate the quality of content and express their evaluations to other potential viewers before they view (since those others only have so much time to view content).

You go to Youtube and people can collectively rate content and then sort content according to ratings and page views. People who like content can link to it, which causes good content to be spread and bad content not to be spread, and so good content gets more page views which allows Youtube to sort content by page views as well (and other means) which gives good content a larger audience and filters out the bad content. When someone links to content that usually indicates that they give it a good evaluation, or are at least indicating that there is a good reason for this content to be linked to and hence viewed.

You go to a restaurant to perform the restaurant can try you out for a while and if they and the audience likes you, they keep you. Those that are no good get booted out. Collectively, we can better evaluate content and select those who people tend to collectively like. Then those people can continue to perform in front of new audiences and get recommendations, etc…

But with a manual peer to peer distribution system the evaluation and filtration process is much less efficient.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

The Value of a Lie

Spiritualist, kinda into just plain ol’ self realization.

I believe wisdom is where you find it and truth is true regardless of the source.

My belief structure is largely a matter of convenience, pragmatism, whimsy, Occam’s razor, and scientific method–not particularly in that order.

I am always ready to revise or discount something I believe when faced with evidence said belief is wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

They Do Not Even See the Freight Train Coming at Them

(now, with modern technology, perhaps one way we can overcome this is to do something like bitcoin, create a peer to peer evaluation system … but that has its drawbacks as well because then people can fabricate evaluations and something like that would have to be considered. Or maybe people can donate something like bitcoins to an artist as a means of decentrally evaluating them and the system can sort artists based on how many bitcoin donations they get. Something like that would be much more robust the overall effects would be good).

Anonymous Coward says:

for someone to be in the position that she is in, i would have thought that it would have been in her best interest to make sure the information she has been given and subsequently used is 100% accurate. she holds, perhaps, a deciding vote on something that affects every citizen, not only in Denmark, but perhaps in Europe and maybe beyond. at least do people the honor of forgetting your own personal opinion and base it on facts instead!

what a shame that the UK has totally ignored all the independent evidence, including that from the government’s own study via the Hargreaves report, to start this ball rolling there. they would have been prudent to watch this video and realise how the BPI etc are making complete pricks out of them by using totally false numbers. also strange how, when the DEA was first proposed by the last government, almost every conservative MP voted against it. funny how a change of seat position can also accompany a change of hat as well, isn’t it?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

They Do Not Even See the Freight Train Coming at Them

“That’s what Hollywood fears. They want to be the gatekeeper to efficient distribution.”

The entire content industry is conflicted. You have to many organizations, with to many hands in the pie. On top of that you have the middlemen to the middlemen, the **AA’s, who have their own agenda’s which are different than those of the studios, distributors, and licencing agencies. Fixing a single agenda to the entire industry is impossible.

To understand them you have to picture them as an old money trust fund baby having a fit, striking out at anything that will actually make them do work or change.

Raybone (profile) says:

The Value of a Lie

h8 to nitpick there, Lobo..but even Franklin who was 6 ft.. mentioned that they let George precede them because he was the tallest of them..Washington’s letters and orders for suits support his being over 6’2″..he was constantly complaining that his 6’2″ tailored suits still had legs too short..so..your main point stands..just..accuracy helps. cheers

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m going on a limb here and say that piracy will never be proven just because it is impossible to separate legal activity from illegal activity so those people pushing for more IP laws will never produce any reports based on reality because there simply can’t be one, we can see people trading data, but nobody can go there and just look at it and say if it is infringing or not, people can suspect something but they can’t prove anything without a court of law and evidence and there are not court system in this world that would be able to deal with the volume to be checked so the a-holes just want to use a whitelist and control everything.

Now people should push back on what really matters.
Nobody should ever be granted a monopoly on anything it is bad for everybody and if those other people say they can’t do it just point to open source, open science and show them that there is no guessing on what would happen, there are people right now working and thriving in an open environment that doesn’t have to have any exclusionary rules and they get paid regardless.

Thomas Hurlimann (user link) says:

The wrong in the wrong

Telling an amount of unauthorized downloads and use wrong numbers is just one thing. But before you claim a loss based on that numbers you also have to take in account that 1 such download is not equal 1 lost purchase!

In fact studies have shown (and you also may use your own experience) that only a small part of downloads would have been a purchase if unauthorized free download is not available. Most people just try out or they find it is not worth any money (as most cheap pop and movies nowadays are) – you watch it and throw it away.

But if something proofs worth it, many downloaders go and buy. In fact, its a kind of propaganda, and artists who use the web to spread their works for free have earned more money this way then the industry has ever paid them. All the piracy claim is just a cover up of the fact that the entertainment industry is obsolete.

crazylilting (profile) says:

The Value of a Lie


ahhh i see what you’ve done there. You are crafty, but this demonstrates a fundamental truth about our brains. When we are told a lie, the brain immediately believes this lie, it takes another step to disbelieve. This is why in politics so many lies are passed on, even if they admit that that it was a lie or they themselves were misled to believe something, the damages has already been done, and it is up to the opposition to do the hard work of undoing the belief that has been created by a lie. Of course the opposition will be seen as extremists for having to work so hard to undo the damage of the lair, which they will use as a weapon in their fight to keep the believers on their side.

All religions are myths with no proof, so calling disbelieving a myth is a crafty play on not believing in the original myths. As clever as that little play is, it deflects the truth that a creator of the world is a myth to begin with. You further attack the intelligence of the person you are trying to indoctrinate, there for increasing your own authority on the matter, regardless of how faulty your authority is. Then you deflect the whole argument by saying that you don’t want to derail things any further, showing that you are taking the high road and deferring to popular argument at hand…. You’d think you were an expert on NLP with how little words you used and how well you used them to illicit a response to make Lobo seem like a bad person for having an opinion and then look worse by having to defend his opinion….

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