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.
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?