The Ridiculous History Of The Job And Dollar Loss Numbers Cited By IP Proponents
from the pulled-out-of-nowhere dept
The 750,000 job number actually dates back to 1986, when then-Commerce Secretary Malcom Baldridge, in promoting a stronger copyright bill from the Reagan era, mentioned to a newspaper reporter that infringement cost anywhere from 125,000 to 750,000 jobs. That quickly morphed into "up to 750,000 jobs" and eventually just became "750,000 jobs" with no actual backing data. It's almost surprising that the industry hasn't tried to expand that number since, surely, infringement has become a bigger issue in the intervening 22 years. Of course, doing that might require actual proof, of which there is none, so that might present a problem.
As for the $250 billion, well, that's even weaker. It's gone through a number of versions of the game "telephone," and while it's often attributed to the FBI, they don't do studies like that. Instead, Sanchez eventually tracked it down to a brief aside in a 1993 Forbes article, where it wasn't even talking about losses in the US. Hell, it wasn't even talking about losses. It was talking about the size of the counterfeit market (which, as you know, does not equal losses) in the world. But, the number has been passed around over and over again -- and has been included in various government publications, so the industry (and politicians) take it as fact.