Useless Studies: Given The Choice Of No File Sharing Or No Internet, Guess What People Choose?

from the what-do-people-do,-not-what-they-say-they'd-do dept

A study by Entertainment Media Research claims that 72% of file sharers would stop file sharing, if sent a letter by their ISP threatening to cut them off the internet. This, obvious, supports the entertainment industry's effort over the past couple of years to get ISPs to act as their enforcers. It also ignores the fact that the EU has rejected such three strikes policies as a violation of users' rights. If someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to do something, plenty of people will probably do it, but that doesn't mean that it's right. Furthermore, what the study is really asking is, which of these two scenarios is preferable: no file sharing or no internet (which, by definition would mean no file sharing). Guess which people are going to say?

Unfortunately, results like this just mean that the industry will probably keep up its campaign to push for ISP enforcement, rather than actually coming up with better business models that embrace file sharing as promotion and a natural part of the market. They'll claim, of course, that this shows such an "educational campaign" will be effective -- ignoring the implicit "gun-to-head" part. However, as we recently discussed, there's little to indicate that the educational campaign has actually succeeded at all over the past decade, and there's little to believe that letters from ISPs will really be particularly effective in the long run. In a survey, of course people will say that they'll stop the activity to avoid getting cut off the internet. But that won't be because they think it's right or are comfortable with it. So the second a new, more secure or more underground method of file sharing comes along, they'll jump on that as well. If the entertainment industry wants to keep pursuing three strikes rules by promoting delusional studies like this one, that's it's choice, but it won't get the industry any closer to solving its business model problems.

Filed Under: entertainment industry, file sharing, studies, three strikes

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  1. identicon
    Michael Long, 13 Oct 2008 @ 12:30pm

    P2P simply less relevant

    Or the numbers could point up the fact that P2P is simply becoming less relevant.

    Apple has sold billions of songs off iTunes. The new iPod Touch and iPhone and many other phones let you download music straight to your device. Amazon sells DRM-free MP3s for less than a buck. And again, Apple has sold millions of TV shows and movie downloads to people watching on their computer, iPod/iPhone, or TV. Amazon and NetFlix also offer downloading services, with NetFlix's service free to subscribers.

    Most major TV shows can be streamed off legitimate ad-based services like Hulu or from network web sites. Music streaming providers abound. Even most cable services offer VOD and PPV.

    The fact remains that P2P traffic is shrinking as a percentage of total Internet traffic, and recent reports indicate that streaming traffic has ECLIPSED P2P traffic in bandwidth use. Every legitimate, convenient, inexpensive (or free) outlet for content reduces the need to waste time and effort "sharing".

    As such, it sounds like the entertainment industry is solving many of its "business model" problems, and most certainly calls into question the rather presumptive assumption that file sharing is a "natural" part of the market.

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