Is There Any Value In Cracking Down On 'Piracy' If It Doesn't Increase Sales?

from the just-saying... dept

Hadopi, the organization set up in France to administer its three strikes law (kicking people offline based on accusations — not convictions — of copyright infringement), has put out a new report looking at how things are going 17 months after its creation. It highlights a bunch of benchmarks to suggest that infringement is dropping and that people are no longer visiting file sharing sites. The report links to a bunch of reports showing a decline in traffic to those sites. They even include some data on traffic to sites like Megaupload — despite the fact that cyberlocker downloads are not covered by Hadopi. However, as the TorrentFreak link above points out, it’s worth noting that even if this is true, it hasn’t turned into revenue:

For more than a decade the entertainment industry has claimed that digital piracy is the main cause for the gradual decline in revenues. So if piracy is down massively in France, one would expect that the revenues are soaring, right? But they’re not.

If we look at the French music industry we see that overall revenues were down by 3.9 percent in 2011.

Likewise, the French movie industry is still going through a rough period with revenues dropping 2.7 percent in 2011. Ironically, an industry insider even blamed online piracy for this drop.

To sum it up. in 2011 online piracy was slashed in half according to the Hadopi report, but despite this unprecedented decline the movie and music industries managed to generate less revenue than in 2010. If we follow the logic employed by the anti-piracy lobby during the past decade, this means that piracy is actually boosting sales.

Now, we’ve been pointing out for years that spending so much time and resources on reducing infringement is pretty pointless if it doesn’t lead to an increase in revenue. And it appears that such a revenue increase isn’t magically appearing (just as we predicted). Now, of course, there was that report that was trumpeted by Hadopi supporters claiming that there was an increase in iTunes sales, but the details showed that was correlated to new releases in Apple products (and Christmas) more than three strikes. And this new report actually shows just how little the iTunes boost really was. It has a chart showing different music services and how their usage has changed in France during Hadopi’s existence:

What you see… is kind of a mixed bag. iTunes usage increased just slightly — but not that much at all, considering the numbers the reports brags about concerning decreases in infringement. You do see a big jump on two services: Beezik and Spotify, both of which allow for the ability to listen to music for free. You also see decreases in traffic to Deezer and Universal Music. If the industry was right that reducing piracy would magically boost all of these alternatives, there would certainly be a more noticeable trend. This really raises significant questions as to what’s the point of all of this. Implementing Hadopi cost French taxpayers quite a lot of money and if it’s not actually helping the industry, what good is it?

It just comes back to that same important question: which is more important? Reducing infringement or increasing revenue? The industry has acted for years as if the former is the most important (and when we ask this question, they insist that the former would lead to the latter). Yet, now the evidence doesn’t appear to support that. If anything, Hadopi’s report, while patting itself on the back for reducing infringement, really highlights just how useless Hadopi has been and what a waste it’s been for both French taxpayers and the French entertainment industry that has supported it so strongly.

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Comments on “Is There Any Value In Cracking Down On 'Piracy' If It Doesn't Increase Sales?”

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117 Comments
:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

New Coke

The parallels between the ‘war on drugs’ and the ‘war on piracy’ keep increasing.

The results aren’t the relevant portion. What’s relevant is “they” are doing “something” for which your money needs to be taken and spent–allegedly in your best interests.

Stopping piracy isn’t the point, they just want to put on a good show.

John Doe says:

Re: New Coke

It is about more than just putting on a good show, it is about control and monitoring. The war on drugs, terror, piracy, insert “problem” here, is really an ideal way for the government to intrude on peoples lives through laws, control, monitoring and fear. If it happens to actually prevent drug use, terror or piracy in any way then it is just a bonus on top.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: New Coke

Through the war on piracy/drugs we have:

Allowed wiretapping onto the masses.
Created a crony capitalist state.
Allowed a coalition of private business and government.
Found no good reasons for either “war”.
Allowed the state to conspire against its people.

Allowed the state to seize property without merit.
Instill laws that go against the public 97% of the time.

I could go on, but it’s absolutely ridiculous how many laws and statutes (of the 4500 in the rules now) have been used against innocent people to justify a growing war that has no effect on the people other than making the politicians richer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: New Coke

By converting any problem into some kind of ‘moral’ problem what generally happens in societies is that actions taken to defend against immoral action may be successful or unsuccessful but there remains no question that action must be taken.
The misuse of drugs can cause problems, the actions we take may fail to address those problems, they may even make the situation worse but as long as we seek to stop the activity we are doing the right thing.
The same obviously applies to piracy, child abuse and terrorism, we may be doing exactly the wrong things to achieve what we claim to be attempting to do, the actions we take may make things so much worse than they could be but the only alternative is moral approval of the thing we detest, despite that not being true for one instant.

The major difference between digital piracy and all the other problems listed is that there are no actual problems needing to be dealt with. Piracy exists, but studies show it has no net effect on sales at all (what studies disagree; seem to show it has a positive effect on sales) whereas the other problems actually have victims, people who become addicted, children who suffer abuse and of course people who get killed.

Ironic that the copyright maximalists seek to copy the counterproductive failed approaches to real problems for their fake problem.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 New Coke

“The misuse of drugs can cause problems, the actions we take may fail to address those problems, they may even make the situation worse but as long as we seek to stop the activity we are doing the right thing.”

Strictly from a moralistic perspective your conclusion is exactly the conclusion used to continue the “war on drugs” despite over a century of evidence that it’s an abysmal failure. I’d argue that based on the evidence it’s immoral to continue it, pour money down the drain to continue it and just start to work on the root causes.

Just to be picky I’d point out that the most dangerous and frequently abused drugs are perfectly legal, as in alcohol and prescription drugs. I’d also point out that many banned drugs do have legitimate medical uses including pot.

Let’s move to “piracy”. As you say the “war on piracy” seems to have the polar opposite effect that IP maximalists insist will be the outcome should they “win”. Mind you, they’ve been at this and saying this since the development of the player piano to little or no effect or evidence. Casting infringement as a moral issue doesn’t change that while I’m more likely to cast the increasing scope and length of effect of IP laws is immoral.

Incidentally I’d argue that the current focus on child (sexual) abuse and how it’s being done is making the problem worse by ignoring the fact that the overwhelming majority of it occurs in family and not by the “pedophile” we’re told about constantly. And that I do consider to be immoral as it neither addresses the real problem or the cause.

Keep in mind that I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict. I’m also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. With all that you’d think I’d be in favour of existing laws. Nope. The reasons are simple. They not only don’t work, they make things worse by focusing on the wrong things.

Piracy, as the “content” industry has cast it the evidence indicates the polar opposite of what they claim it does. Naturally it has nothing at all to do with declining demand for their products or the marketplace getting tired of the junk they produce and ceasing to buy in any form. We’re called freetards and worse by our AC trolls as well as overweaning “entitlement”. They’re the entitled ones. Just because you make a movie or tv show, write and/or publish a book, take a picture, making a sculpture or painting you are not entitled to make any money from it. In that sense they’re as bad or worse than the “pushers” or “dealers” or “bootleggers” I dealt far too much with while I was in active addiction and alcoholism only they lie even more than pushers ever do.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 New Coke

*sigh* The US started the wars on ideas a long time ago. The war on drugs was started by Nixon and is his most damning legacy. He ignored the facts of Congress with his moralistic view that he knew what was best for the country. And look where it got us. Bad laws that are unconstitutional, and death in the war on drugs for the middle class. The police are militarized and have lost all reason in the name if fighting the one enemy they once served: the public.

Then we get into the piracy wars… What has changed? These publishers and gatekeepers are fighting the public and losing. Meanwhile, the government goes along because with these complaints, they grow ever stronger in suppressing dissent.

And does this help the artists? No…
Does it help the public? No…
Does it even help the music/movie industry’s bottom line?

We know the answer. Yet, this war on ideas continues because the ones that profit from this totalitarian regime are the ones best able to exploit the crazy system of laws we have in an unjust system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: New Coke

I agree, the government has too many laws seeking to control things the free market, environmental regulations, labor standards, minimum wage (which many studies have shown increase inflation and actually decrease the number of open jobs. Isn’t that what people want, jobs? Lets do away with all these burdensom regulations which cause businesses to raise our prices and lead to layoffs. Let’s put America back on the right track. Stop the government from “intruding” on American businesses and lets get some people back to work.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Does it account for the sneaker net?

The bigger/better question would be was piracy ever as rampant as they claimed, and these numbers just show its the same as it ever was.

Or see if there was a spike in the sales of the routers used to build PirateBox’s.
http://wiki.daviddarts.com/PirateBox
Oh hey the new build is working towards a self assembling mesh network.

Hulser (profile) says:

Re: Does it account for the sneaker net?

I doubt that piracy was actually reduced, what probably happened is it went further underground.

Given that revenue is down, HADOPI is in a no-win scenario. If they’re right that piracy really is down, then it’s proved that they’re ineffective at the industry’s stated goal of increasing revenue. And if you’re right that piracy is the same, but just driven underground, then it’s proved that they’re ineffective at their own organization’s chartered goal, decreasing piracy. They just went with the option that sounded most up beat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course there’s a value to cracking on piracy if it does no good, it makes you look STRONG and MANLY. No one wants a weak sissy in charge!

Just look at Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he’s tough on crime, especially illegal immigrants! People love America’s toughest Sheriff! And he loves humiliating criminals and making their lives hell!

And what does America’s toughest sheriff have to show for his tough enforcement of laws and harsh crackdown on anyone who even LOOKS foreign?

The answer HIGHER crime in his district over the last decade, despite the fact that crime has actually DROPPED quite a bit in every other district in his state over the same time period!

But we can’t have some weak sissy as our sheriff who would actually LISTEN to crimes reported by illegal immigrants, instead of just throwing them in jail where they belong!

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You left off his department getting slammed for not investigating sex crimes.

https://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/08/143355817/arizona-sheriff-joe-arpaio-under-fire-for-mishandled-sex-crime-cases

Hes got time to check to see if Obama is a citizen, but a raped 2 yr old… no time to look at that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes I know I didn’t mention Sheriff Joe not investigating sex crimes against illegal immigrants, that’s what I was vaguely referencing in the last paragraph of my comment. I almost posted something along the lines of “Get your priorities straight people, stopping brown foreigners from entering our country is more important then catching sex crimes & violent criminals & murderers”. I figured that would sound too controversial to basically call him a racist.

(Response to comment #11)

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So when is he gonna deal with that illegal immigrant, John McCain? I mean, he wasn’t even born in any of the states of the United States of America!

Then there are all those freeloading foreigners who clog up your nation’s history. You know, people born as ‘British’ colonists, not ‘true’ Americans, like Jefferson, Washington, Adams, etc?

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Obscurity is a bigger problem...

You are right about obscurity, though I have heard of a lot of the acts. Might be overdosing on CBC Radio One that I have. The more obscure the better for the Mother Corp particularly when it comes the the “whining” class of music known as singer-songwriter.

Then again, when I do listen to commercial radio as most do, most of these acts are nowhere to be found. Rightly so in many cases.

Then again, it’s in the Canadian nature of things to celebrate failure rather than success and then complain about American and British cultural imperialism. 😉

PS: I’m Canadian so I get to say those sorts of things.

PPS: There’s an effective boycott of the Junos by recording acts from Quebec and Acadia because there’s a real absence of acts in French by the awards except of one token classification even if those acts outsell most of their English performing counterparts.

The “Two Solitudes” are alive and well!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Obscurity is a bigger problem...

Lets see here… Justin Bieber, The Sheepdogs, Adele, Michael Buble, Feist, Arkells, Dan Mangan, Dallas Green, etc. You seriously haven’t heard of the majority of these acts?

Perhaps your taste in music is the bigger concern here? All of these acts are pretty well known (other than the Sheepdogs, they are pretty new).

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Obscurity is a bigger problem...

Justin Bieber, The Sheepdogs, Adele, Michael Buble, Feist, Arkells, Dan Mangan, Dallas Green, etc

I’ve heard the names Justin Bieber, Adele, and Feist. The rest? Never heard of ’em.

And I don’t possess a single song by any one of them, even the ones I’ve heard of.

Why would I? There is tons of new, exciting, and vibrant material being produced outside of the usual big media monopolies. I don’t listen to Jamendo artists either, really, but if I surfed that website right now, I’d hear tons and tons of people who perform the same style of music they do, except better.

What possible motivation would I have to listen to any of this rehashed pop pablum?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Obscurity is a bigger problem...

I’ve heard of Beiber, Adele and Buble, but none of the others. I know of the first two because they have a corporate machine behind them who push them into all aspects of media, something not available to the majority of acts, and Buble because my Mum listens to him. I have honestly never heard of the other acts you mentioned.

Do you have any recommendations as to who I should check out, considering that your comment has done more to market them to me than anything their labels are doing?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Obscurity is a bigger problem...

2/9 so no I havnt heard of the majority of them. One of the 2 I have only heard the name I wouldn’t recognized a track. The industry did a really good job of pushing me away I listen to NPR in the car and local bands mostly, or acts recommended by friends, or when I spotify stalk them.

Anonymous Coward says:

and still other governments introduce the same thing, using the same excuses for doing so, knowing full well that the outcome will be just as big a waste of time, effort and money, with just as little benefit to anyone! the taxpayer always foots the bill trying to protect a dying industry that wont adapt. internet companies foot the bill for implementing procedures that do nothing to help that same dying industry that wont adapt. those same internet companies pass the costs on to customers that eventually get pissed off and look to other, cheaper services. how much does the dying industry that wont adapt pay out itself? absolutely fuck all! how many more sales do they make? absolutely none! how many customers do they lose? almost all! good strategy, guys!!

fogbugzd (profile) says:

I think it is likely that cracking down on piracy actually hurts music and movie sales. Fans are less engaged and less likely to explore new music. Then on top of it there is an increased sense of unease in having music on your computer at all because of fear of being charged with piracy. And of course fans who have received penalties or threats of penalties are probably no longer fans.

Piracy has mainly been an excuse for poor performance by RIAA and MPAA companies. It has never really been the problem, but it was something that they could appear to be doing something about. What those organizations may not have realized is that in many ways piracy was actually good for their businesses.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

> Fans are less engaged

This is exactly what is happening to the UFC. There was an initial rush, but 2011 PPV sales were down 60% from 2010. The reason is there are few ways to see MMA besides PPVs. This lack of exposure is going to kill MMA. Sure, UFC signed with Fox, but I think it is too little, too late.

Exposure is always a bigger problem than piracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

So, to recap:

– Piracy is (allegedly) down
– Revenue of “Creative Industries” is down
– The situation of the legal alternatives is ‘shaky’, with some gaining audience in detriment of others.

Given these facts, we can conclude with a high degree of certainty that we are winning the war on piracy on every front.

/s

Anonymous Coward says:

I don't understand...

Here’s something that baffles me…

We have an article from Mike providing facts and data. It’s been posted for over an hour, and there is not one single post calling him “Marcus”, pirate, shill for Big Search, or any other ad-hominem attempt at poisoning the well.

Where did the trolls go today?

Overcast (profile) says:

There is value for the lawyers, yes.
Value for the court system perhaps in terms of more money.
Perhaps some value for special interests.
Value for politicians taking the kickbacks, sure.

Value for consumers? No.
Value for the RIAA/et al…? Naaa, just a cost in legal fees. The chances of them actually collecting from ‘Jon/Jane Doe’ is pretty much nil.

Most people, if they got a 100,000+ judgment on them would just discharge it in bankruptcy.

avatar4d (profile) says:

Devil's advocate

I first want to point out that I am not an apologist for the media extortionists, but I want to make a point from a business perspective. Also, I am sure they have made these claims despite a lack of reference, but I doubt they believe that by simply eliminating piracy outlets, etc. that revenues will magically increase.

Rather by eliminating free alternatives they are trying to reduce the loss of revenue by keeping their current revenue stream in tact. In other words, reducing piracy is more likely to maintain revenues than increase them. While this logic may not hold true in the long run it makes business sense in the short term so they can (in theory) make innovations in tandem that will hopefully increase revenues.

So I would say yes there is value in cracking down on piracy to some extent. That being said, the view posited by this article would be true if the above was not the case. In addition, they need to realize that technology has empowered the consumer as well as the artist and they are no longer the gatekeepers. If they want to survice they need to add value themselves rather than trying to continue being malignant dictators.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Devil's advocate

It should be pretty obvious by now they aren’t really trying to eliminate or even reduce piracy. None of the actions they take have made progress to that effect at all. Piracy is already illegal, so no new laws would be needed to crack down on it. What they want is to expand what is considered piracy. They just want to make sure the law says *they* get to say which alternatives are legitimate, and *that* definately will maintain their revenue since it keeps the musicians from being able to leave them.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Devil's advocate

“Rather by eliminating free alternatives they are trying to reduce the loss of revenue by keeping their current revenue stream in tact.”

This can only be believed if it is a 100% verifiable fact that a business DOES lose money when the act of copyright infringement is committed.
At best, there is a potential loss of sales (not money) when someone infringes copyright. Even then, you can never be sure, because the downloader may just be ‘format shifting’ or getting a copy of something already paid for. I’ve downloaded content then later paid for it, and paid for content then later downloaded it (most often to get past onerous DRM or because its easier or quicker for me to download a movie than it is to rip it myself from a DVD/Blu-ray).

In the real world, the closest analogy is having a store with physical stock on the shelves (copyright maximilists love to use this analogy). If there was a physical HADOPI, the store would have draconian over the top security at the front door (most likely a full strip search) as well as accepting that you are guilty upon accusation from a third party. In the physical world, anything taken would represent a loss in a physical paid for product. However, this falls apart when applied to the digital realm. I could be downloading a movie using a magnet link I found on the Piratebay: it doesn’t mean that suddenly iTunes has lost a product, because what I did did not involve anyone other than myself, the seeders/leechers and Piratebay. What is on iTunes servers has not been touched in any fashion (and even if it was, its a copy, its not like the file gets deleted off of their servers).

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the question isn’t one that can be answered by looking at short term numbers. That is to say that there isn’t any direct correlation that will be found between cutting piracy today, and sales tomorrow or the next day.

People who pirate, who pirated a lot, probably have a lot of material in already burned to disk or on hard drives. They have a long time to use up that material before they are going to be looking to get any new stuff. It could take quite a while before these people are really back in the market place looking for new material.

Where you might see it more is in online sales of music, and in attendance at movie theaters – but all over time, not some sudden shift.

You also have to consider there is a period of time where the ex-pirates are all butthurt for getting caught, and won’t buy anything from anyone. That will last until there is a movie they just can’t resist, or a song they just have to have… and then it will shift.

So no, cutting piracy today doesn’t mean instant sales – but then again, the arrival of piracy didn’t mean and instant CUT in sales on the other side either… it took years to get to the current situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think the question isn’t one that can be answered by looking at short term numbers. That is to say that there isn’t any direct correlation that will be found between cutting piracy today, and sales tomorrow or the next day.

Now if we can just get the industry lobbyists to admit this, we can put our lawmakers back to work on other complete wastes of time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So, your stunning conclusion from looking at the numbers is that slashing piracy in half is not going to have any immediate impact in sales?

When should we expect sales to increase then? In 5 years? 10? 50? Bear in mind that these programs are costing the government a lot of money, during a recession, and that the “industry” isn’t contributing in any way for the enforcement.

Also bear in mind that technology doesn’t stand still, and that, perhaps, in the next 5, 10 or 50 years, some technology will come along that will make these laws completely obsolete.

Is the (alleged) benefit of these laws and enforcement mechanisms really worth it then?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That is to say that there isn’t any direct correlation that will be found between cutting piracy today, and sales tomorrow or the next day.

Which goes against most of what the legacy media industry has been saying about the effects of piracy.

People who pirate, who pirated a lot, probably have a lot of material in already burned to disk or on hard drives. They have a long time to use up that material before they are going to be looking to get any new stuff./blockquote>

This actually made me laugh out loud. The really heavy pirates don’t work that way. For the most part, they are either “collectors” who simply want the most comprehensive library possible, or they are “distributers” who get value (monetary or status) in sharing. Neither of those kinds of pirates are the least bit concerned about “using up” what they already have before getting more. They are always looking for new material.

Where you might see it more is in online sales of music

Online sales of music have been skyrocketing, but this is not correlated to piracy at all.

You also have to consider there is a period of time where the ex-pirates are all butthurt for getting caught, and won’t buy anything from anyone.

What pirates are butthurt? None that I know about.

So no, cutting piracy today doesn’t mean instant sales – but then again, the arrival of piracy didn’t mean and instant CUT in sales on the other side either… it took years to get to the current situation.

This is the industry’s “out”, the way that they can claim — whether true or not — that cracking down on piracy has been “effective”. If the legacy industries start making more more money in the next decade, then it will obviously be due to anti-piracy, not the arrival or acceptance of new ways of doing business. Just like how the industry’s current problems are obviously due to piracy and not any of they other rather huge changes that have taken place.

It’s far from clear that piracy has such a huge effect of sales. Most reputable studies show that the effect is minor, some show that it’s large, but that there is so much uncertainty demonstrates one thing for certain: a lot of significant variables are involved in why the industry is where it is today. That’s a lot of noise, and the “piracy” signal in there is a minor enough component that it’s hard to nail down.

It seems to me to be patently obvious that piracy is very far down on the list of the business problems the legacy industry has, but I could be wrong — it’s too hard to tell.

But they way you’ve described the situation here is pure set-up: no matter what the fortunes of the industry, your argument lets you say that cracking down on piracy has been effective.

From a scientific/statistic perspective, this isn’t even a hypothesis as it is not falsifiable. It’s technically called unsupportable bullshit.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

ah yes, the “piracy didn’t hurt sales” delusion.

Which of course then equals the “less piracy won’t help sales” delusion.

The “piracy has hurt sales” delusion is one that has never been accurately demonstrated in any peer-reviewed study. Most studies that do show losses, do not share their data, or how they came up with it (e.g. how they came up with the conversion rate), and none even consider the potential increases in sales due to piracy (e.g. widespread distribution, word-of-mouth advertising, or consumer surplus spending).

But, even if piracy does hurt sales, it doesn’t follow that “less piracy will help sales.” If fighting piracy results in losing customers, then the increased sales would be more than offset by the loss in business. Since people who pirate are the best customers – the ones who buy most of the content that is sold – this is a real possibility.

Not to mention the economic costs to the rights holders of fighting piracy (lawyers, lobbyists, etc). Or the tremendous damage that “fighting piracy” could do to society in general (e.g. SOPA-style laws).

Less piracy will help sales only if those pirates then become paying customers. You can only do this by giving potential pirates something of value: convenience, better quality, social connectivity, “added value” products, etc. Valve’s Steam is a good example of how to do this.

But simply decreasing the amount of piracy means absolutely nothing in terms of sales. Were that the case, then you could increase sales by not releasing the content at all, or just putting it into the public domain. The first won’t make you any money at all. The second one might, but if you can make money from public domain works, you obviously don’t have to worry about piracy either.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Go take an econ class, you fucking buffoon.

Please, tell me where in “econ class” it says that products with a marginal cost of zero will not eventually reach a price of zero.

Tell me where any “econ class” has said that a government-enforced monopoly has resulted in a more efficient allocation of resources.

Tell me where any “econ class” has claimed that driving customers away was a good business move.

In fact, tell me where any “econ class” has disproved (or even called into question) anything I said in that comment.

You can’t, because you have absolutely no clue when it comes to economics. Or anything else, for that matter.

What is with you, anyway? You have not once engaged in any discussion on here; the only thing you do is post crap on this site, all at once, and do nothing but insult everyone here, without actually making a single coherent argument. You’e not even as creative about it as the most ridiculous /b/tard troll. Do you get paid by the insult, or something?

Seriously, I’m actually curious. You’re nothing but an asshole, but even most assholes go away after they spray diarrhea all over the walls. But you keep coming back, day after day, year after year. What’s up with that?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We who infringe copyright a lot are also the biggest customers. I’ve got four seperate 2 terabyte hard drives, of which I’ve used about 5 TB. That’s a lot of content, most of which I’ve never even looked at.
Doesn’t matter, because I still want more and more content. Sometimes I buy, sometimes I don’t. While it would be logical for me to do it, I doubt that one day I’m gonna wake up and say “Ya know what, I’m not gonna download anything anymore. I’m gonna watch/play everything I have now”.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Main problem is that they are not even trying at all to cut down on piracy. Although they always claim they are to get their way, what they do instead is change law, change the parameters of what is considered legitimate usage (always so that less things are considered legal and they have tighteer control over what is and isn’t legitimate usage). And assign responsibility onto uninvolved third parties so they can scam money out of google and such. That way piracy stays the same and they make money off the third parties by pretending it’s their fault that piracy is still staying the same.

Would eliminating piracy eventually increase revenue? Not for the RIAA, their problem is that musicians all hate (with damn good reason) and they don’t need them anymore. They are trying to fix the “don’t need them anymore” part. They have no genuine interest in stopping piracy unless they fix that first.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree, a decrease in pirating today doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in sales tomorrow. These things take time.

That being said lets face the facts. Today’s pirates aren’t happy with the current legal offerings, this fact is unlikely to change in spite of these laws. Also worth considering, pirate offerings will shift much faster than industry offerings (which is really the heart of the matter). Chances are pretty good the pirates will come up with a method of circumventing this long before the industry makes a more appealing offer.

At best the tax payers bought a temporary decline in infringement rates with a negligible benefit to the industry. At worst the tax payers just threw a bunch of money down the sewer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Today’s pirates aren’t happy with the current legal offerings, this fact is unlikely to change in spite of these laws”

That is correct, but that is in part because they have the pirate alternative. They got use to getting instant gratification at no cost, and of course, they aren’t going to be thrilled to going back to actually having to (eeek!) use legal means to obtain content. While they get over that, they likely won’t be buyers… and more than likely will have an ax to grind, at least for a bit.

Unless they intend to live like hermits or spend their lives enjoying only Nina Paley movies, they are very likely to find themselves back in line to see a movie, or PPV, or rent, or whatever. But that isn’t going to happen overnight, they have to get use to not having at all, first.

“At best the tax payers bought a temporary decline in infringement rates with a negligible benefit to the industry. At worst the tax payers just threw a bunch of money down the sewer.”

I don’t think so. I think that enforcing the rule of law is never a really bad thing, and the long term effects may actually be positive. The internet needs to find it’s footing as a valid commercial system as well as a simple freeloader system, and that is slow coming. In the western world, where more and more of the money is made on intangible goods (such as IP) it becomes critical to handle that, otherwise we could find ourselves in a very long term economic spiral.

silverscarcat says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“That is correct, but that is in part because they have the pirate alternative. They got use to getting instant gratification at no cost, and of course, they aren’t going to be thrilled to going back to actually having to (eeek!) use legal means to obtain content. While they get over that, they likely won’t be buyers… and more than likely will have an ax to grind, at least for a bit.”

You *DO* realize that MANY pirates first DL stuff to see if it’s worth getting, THEN buy it, right?

I’m not going to shell out 40 to 60 bucks for a TV series, 20 bucks for a CD or 15 bucks for a movie unless I KNOW it’s good ahead of time.

And since I can’t usually find the stuff legally, I have to, *gasp*, download it for free, illegally.

If I can’t obtain stuff online, then I’ll do without.

I can live without television, movies and music, I’ve got video games, the internet, fanfiction and other stuff to take my time up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“You *DO* realize that MANY pirates first DL stuff to see if it’s worth getting, THEN buy it, right?”

yeah – now they are going to be stuck with only movie trailers, songs on the radio, streaming media, and 101 other ways to get to check stuff out for free ahead of time.

The “DL to see if they like it” is possibly one of the biggest bullshit points ever made. If I downloaded a movie and watched it, I wouldn’t exactly be lining up to buy a copy after I have finished.

Remember: The copy you buy isn’t any different from the free pirated version. There really isn’t an upgrade here anymore.

silverscarcat says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“The “DL to see if they like it” is possibly one of the biggest bullshit points ever made. If I downloaded a movie and watched it, I wouldn’t exactly be lining up to buy a copy after I have finished.”

If it’s so BS, then why is it that most people that I know who buy stuff, DL it first?

BTW, you are still a moron, trailers always lie. Ever see Epic Movie? The trailer made it look good. Watching it SUCKED! Seriously, it’s why I don’t go to the movies anymore, trailers ALWAYS lie.

“yeah – now they are going to be stuck with only movie trailers, songs on the radio, streaming media, and 101 other ways to get to check stuff out for free ahead of time.”

Radio doesn’t play any international music, nor do they play indie music, so, you lose out there as well.

Internet is a joke in most places in America. Streaming isn’t possible in some places. Heck, my home town barely had dial-up in 2008, and it was a business that had it. http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-internet-access-in-america-disaster/ Read to find out more. Course, that was from about 8 months ago, but it’s doubtful things have changed everywhere around the country.

“Remember: The copy you buy isn’t any different from the free pirated version. There really isn’t an upgrade here anymore.”

Yeah, no difference, none at all… Except that a television is generally bigger than a computer screen and a game system/dvd player makes it viewable to more people in the house…

Hmm…

Sorry to say, but your “argument” really falls flat on its face so easily it’s not funny.

There are 3 kinds of pirates

1: Those who would never have bought the stuff anyway.
2: Those using piracy to “preview before buying”.
3: Those without income/access to the material.

If the media companies would focus on the 2nd group and the 2nd half of the 3rd group, they could make a lot of money easily. But, no, they’re focusing on the first group and everyone else just leaves in disgust.

Say, how is the reputation of the American Auto industry? Oh yeah! They needed a bailout just to stay afloat, didn’t they? Why is that? I thought American cars were awesome?

Oh wait, that’s right, the 1980s happened and they cut *SO* many corners that people got sick of American cars and how shoddy they were that, unless you had money to burn on a car that would break down every few months, you went with a foreign car.

The Auto Industry learned its lesson, but people still haven’t forgiven them for it.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

When I go to a restaurant, I do not pay until I have finished the meal. If the meal is not to my standards, which is a pretty low bar when it comes to food, I will speak to the manager about removing the item from my bill.

You must frequent a lot of fast food restaurants to have forgotten that you rarely pay for food without trying it first.

I wonder how paying for a movie only after you have seen it, and if you are satisfied with the movie would affect piracy.

silverscarcat says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

YOU are the stupid one if you think that’s stupid.

Very, VERY rarely do I buy a television series or a movie without watching it FOR FREE FIRST!

You know the series Family Guy?

It was on Fox, before it got cancelled.

But it was brought back to the air.

Why?

OH! Right! Because ratings on Cartoon Network were topping the charts and DVD sales were through the roof!

Oh wait, that means… *GASP* They watched it first, before deciding to buy it!

Horror of horrors!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Quote:

Unless they intend to live like hermits or spend their lives enjoying only Nina Paley movies, they are very likely to find themselves back in line to see a movie, or PPV, or rent, or whatever. But that isn’t going to happen overnight, they have to get use to not having at all, first.

I like to live like a hermit, I also stop downloading my favorite TV shows since I can’t get them legally I also don’t watch I don’t know what is hot anymore.

For more than 10 years I didn’t buy one CD, rented music, got to a concert, bought merch or anything from a musician signed with a label what makes you think I am ever going back to paying those idiots?

Books? there is thousands of years and I don’t believe I can read them all.

The Smithsonian Channel free for all and it appears to not have geo-bs-blocking.

Geek & Sundry just got released, I don’t think you people really understand what is happening, you are not the center of the world anymore, there is an entire network of tubes with wonderful things that people just need to look at it to find cool things everywhere for free and legally.

People will go back to paying douchebags for them to turn and piss on them?

Right. Fuck that, screw those artists, producers and to hell with their copyrights, profits and IP, keep it all where the sun don’t shine, I found something better and Nina Paley will always be in my heart and mind, you people on the other hand I only will remember when flushing the toilet.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“The fuck is it with you and Nina Paley?”

She represents somebody who has been independently successful with her work, and he didn’t like her movie even though he watched it for free. He also objects to the way in which she became known around there parts (she didn’t decide to pay an extortionate ransom for licensing music that by all rights should already be public domain). So, in his tiny mind, nothing can ever be of higher quality and everything has to be made by corporations.

It’s basically a slightly evolved version of the “if movies don’t cost $300 million then all we get are cat videos on YouTube” bullshit, only slightly evolved to allow for his beloved personal attacks as well.

techflaws.org (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Unless they intend to live like hermits or spend their lives enjoying only Nina Paley movies

Apart from the fact that pretty much everyone I know would take Nina Paley movies over abysmal crap like Transformers 3, it’s really funny to see you actually believe people would live like hermits just because they don’t consume your bullshit.

The internet needs to find it’s footing as a valid commercial system as well as a simple freeloader system, and that is slow coming.

Keep dreaming. The Internet has alreay founds its footing as THE communications system. The fact that you merchants of boredom think you can leech on an bend it to your will is just further proof of your delusions of grandeur.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Unless they intend to live like hermits or spend their lives enjoying only Nina Paley movies, they are very likely to find themselves back in line to see a movie, or PPV, or rent, or whatever.

There’s nothing wrong with Nina Paley movies, something everyone might soon find out.

But that isn’t going to happen overnight, they have to get use to not having at all, first.

And once they get used to not having it all, they’ll soon discover that they didn’t need it in the first place.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Goodwill is an intangible good that the content controllers are throwing away at an alarming rate. Also, creating imaginary turds doesn’t stop them from being turds… or imaginary.

For their next trick, the content controllers will declare the leaf as legal tender. Because of the rampant hyperinflation this will bring (three deciduous forests equal one Golgafrinchan ship’s peanut), their solution to their ‘money’ being ‘stolen’ by inflation will be to burn down the forests.

Can we get another Ark B for the **AAs?

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

People who pirate, who pirated a lot, probably have a lot of material in already burned to disk or on hard drives.

Here’s where that theory falls down: if they already had a whole bunch of stuff burned to hard drive, and were satisfied with that, then they sure wouldn’t slog through the terrible ads and inconvenient crapola on pirate sites in order to get new music.

And they sure wouldn’t be motivated to buy music – which they are: every independent survey shows that people who pirate are better customers than people who don’t.

You also have to consider there is a period of time where the ex-pirates are all butthurt for getting caught

Well, if your best customers are feeling “butthurt,” then they’re certainly not going to be inclined to buy anything. That’s true.

But, would these be the same people who were “butthurt” when Napster, Grokster, or Limewire shut down? Because none of that resulted in increased sales. They did, on the other hand, result in the RIAA being possibly the most hated corporation on the planet, meaning everyone felt completely justified in “stealing” music from them.

it took years to get to the current situation.

Years of lawsuits against every single entity that tried to enter the digital music space. Years of telling customers they were “thieves.” Years of punishing legit customers with crippled products that pirates could get, uncrippled, for free. You don’t think this has anything to do with the labels’ current situation?

If piracy is eliminated, the most that would happen is a couple months of better iTunes sales. In the long term, music would stop being ubiquitous in peoples’ lives. They will lose interest in music, and just zone out while playing video games instead. That’s already happening; is this really the future you want?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“They will lose interest in music, and just zone out while playing video games instead. That’s already happening; is this really the future you want?”

Truth, 10-15 dollars a month for a mmo can provide me more entertainment than an equivalent amount of money spent on music or movies. Let alone all the indie games and humble bundles that provide months worth of entertainment for less than going to a movie theater. 5$ for spotify 8$ for netflix and 10$ video game budget a month is more entertainment than I could ever take advantage of. Why they fuck do they think I am gonna spend 50$ a month on movies and another 50$ on albums?

PaulT (profile) says:

To my mind, this was a depressingly predictable result. One of the major reasons why all the attempts to “crack down” on “piracy” fail is because they don’t want to listen to their own customers. They have latched on to a single factor (“free”) as being the only driver toward piracy, presume that this cannot be competed with directly and attack that without considering alternatives. They seem to forget that in the world of supply and demand, you can’t merely address the supply end without knowing why the demand exists.

Of course, if they listened to what people have been trying to tell them since the first “pirate” discovered Napster, they’d know that there’s a multitude of reasons why such material is demanded. “Piracy” not only offers free downloads, but it offers value above and beyond legal services. You have a choice of content that’s not artificially restricted, accessible without arbitrary bundles. No DRM, a choice of formats and quality levels. Easy accessibility to pretty much everything ever recorded. Easy ways to preview content, and to share the content you love.

Most people are willing to pay for all of the above, but either they are not offered what they’re willing to pay for, or the price is just too damn high. “Piracy” could literally disappear overnight, and they wouldn’t see any more revenue because they’re still not offering what people wish to pay for. Even when services appear that are willing to do this for them in a legal manner, they still fight.

They’re trying the carrot and stick approach, but have forgotten the carrot and are wondering why the donkey is balking at being beaten with the stick.

Doug D (profile) says:

To my mind, it *is* important to crack down on piracy if it doesn’t increase sales, because it destroys the free word-of-mouth and network effects illegitimately enjoyed by the stakeholders, which then hopefully drives our culture towards stuff that doesn’t have as much control exercised over it.

What happens when essentially nobody talks about Hollywood movies or top-ten musical artists anymore?

Piracy provides a sort of “safety valve” of sorts that lets those things influence our culture more than they ought to. Perfect IP enforcement would, I think, drive people towards CC-licensed stuff over time, eventually *destroying* the legacy entertainment industries.

Or so I believe.

Scott (user link) says:

Adapt or Die

Many successful businesses have found themselves insolvent because they failed to change with the times. Look at Blockbuster and other retail video rental outlets. They had all the money in the world and failed to see the writing on the wall.

Whether it affects sales or not is not important. The smart and savvy will adapt to find new ways to make money with their art. God forbid people would have to rely on ticket sales for live events to make their money.

You cannot stop change. The more you resist the harder it becomes, you are only delaying the inevitable at your own peril.

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