Are Entertainment Industry Tactics Working?

from the or-is-it-a-dead-cat-bounce dept

It's been somewhat amusing over the last day or so to see a bunch of our usual critics all submit the same exact story with some sort of triumphant "I told you so!!!!!" (usually in less friendly language). It's a report that music sales are up in Sweden following the strict anti-piracy law that went into effect earlier this year. The claim is that this is proof that the RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BPI/etc strategies work. To them, this is clear, irrefutable evidence that draconian measures to crack down on unauthorized file sharing really does make people buy. That would be quite interesting if true, but our friends employed by these companies might want to wait a bit before breaking out the champagne over a dead cat bounce.

First, there are some who are questioning the actual numbers. So far, the only numbers have come directly from the IFPI, who hasn't provided much in the way of detail (and have a long history of publishing questionable, fact-challenged numbers). In fact, the very lack of detail would likely indicate that there are extenuating circumstances here. And, when we're talking about Sweden, it has to also be noted that services like Spotify (which dragged the labels kicking and screaming into the modern world) were just launched at the very end of last year. So, it could be that it was one of these more modern services that helped convince people to buy music rather than any crackdown. But, of course, the bigger question is whether or not any boost is sustainable. It was reported that there was a drop in file sharing after the Swedish IPRED law went into effect (though, again, many argue that the "drop" was simply because more people started using encryption and those who measure file sharing traffic had no way to deal with it, so pretended they all stopped). Yet, it didn't take long for the traffic numbers to bounce back up.

And that's the issue. If your entire business model is based on whacking people with a stick and telling them what they can't do, you may get brief moments of compliance, but at the first chance they get to go back to a more consumer-friendly system, they will. So while our friends in the entertainment industry will likely misread this situation into believing that its strategy of pissing off pretty much everyone makes business sense, let's wait and see how this works out in the next year or so. Dead cat bounces can fool lots of folks, but there are very few industries that succeed by basing their future on such things.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:20pm

    You know, as someone who makes a living off of bouncing dead cats, I feel it's only right to lend my expertise to this most valuable subject. For an effective bounce, I would suggest using a large cat, a large dead cat, of course.

    The bigger they are the harder they bounce, as my grand-daddy, also a cat bouncer, used to say.

    I'll share one last piece of advice; the secret to successfully bouncing a cat is to stuff them full of rubber, once they're dead. Of course.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    there are some who are questioning the actual numbers.

    I wish Mike that you would apply the same diligence to stories that point in the other direction. You are only too happy to claim all sorts of things (like the UK music business expanding), when a good look at the numbers shows otherwise.

    It's an interesting article that shows perhaps that not everything is as you wish.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    You can say anything you want with any statistics that you have but trends rarely lie.

    And the trends state that copyright will be rendered obsolete in the near future.

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Are Entertainment Industry Tactics Working?

    To push people further underground where their infringing can't even be counted?

    Absolutely....

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Are Entertainment Industry Tactics Working?

    Yet all that pushing is resulting in more sales?

    I think you missed the point.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    i live in sweden and nobody i know quit file sharing. everyone just got a cheap encrypted vpn connection. even people who don't file share have also done this because of the fra surveillance law. if the AA's choose to believe they won so much the better.

     

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  7.  
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    rami (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

     

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  8.  
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    Doctor Strange, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:31pm

    One of the perennial problems with the "pirates buy more" studies is that they never seem to answer the real question: why do pirates buy at all?

    I am sure everyone here has their favorite hypothesis and is eager to share it (sans data, naturally).

    It would be interesting to know how much "fear of getting caught" plays into the equation. This Swedish phenomenon seems to be consistent with the idea that it's a factor, but we don't have enough data to correlate or say how much of a factor it might be.

     

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  9.  
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    Brian (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:47pm

    Re:

    "Pirates" as you refer to them buy because they care about the artist and want to support them. They buy because you can't download a concert and NEVER can you download the experience. There are numerous reasons as to why they download but only a few solid reasons why they buy and supporting the artist by buying CDs, going to concerts, etc is because they enjoy the music and want the ARTIST* to make money.



    *Note I said artist not the collection agencies which loose the checks and are unable to "find" the artists and treat all but the top dog like crap. Because who cares about the other 99% of the artists when you have three top artists making money for themselves and everyone else making money for you.

     

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  10.  
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    Headbhang, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

    Re:

    Quite a few people are actually fond of the shiny plastic discs and the accompanying physical cover art and notes. Digipaks and the like make pretty nice collectible items.

     

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  11.  
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    Johnny Canada, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:07pm

    All my downloaded music is paid for.

    Thanks 'All of MP3"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:14pm

    Are Entertainment Industry Tactics Working?

    Working to make me want to vote against Obama's second term and also change things around in 2010?

    Why yes. Yes they are.

    Don't forget to call/fax/write/email your representative about Obama's ACTA Tent Party this Thanksgiving!

    Be sure to ask for more transparency!

     

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  13.  
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    Mark, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:16pm

    Sweden..

    Sweden's strictness has shown a sway in performance of music sales and that's good because it keeps the entertainment industry alive.

    But in saying that it probably won't be long until people revert back to other ways or find out you can download the tunes from YouTube for free and without being noticed as a file sharer on the well known illegal DL sites.

    Anyways it's all speculation until the stats say differently. :-)

     

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  14.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Re:

    Dude! I find it amusing that you posted this comment exactly one minute and forty-five seconds after posting a comment on another thread mocking me for totally ignoring this story (despite the fact that it was actually posted about half an hour earlier).

    You were saying that there was no way I'd ever post this story, and then I did, and you don't even admit that you were wrong. You amuse me. Now I know why you're anonymous all the time though. Can't take being called on your actions...

     

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    Bill Pickett, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

    Linky Please.

    I may be wrong but would not making "Spotify" a link not only allow Google's algorithm to locate them more easily but also if you consistently did this establish yourself as more of an authority in that same algorithm with the hope that it would drive secondary searches to you? Maybe I'm getting a little wishful in thinking here, after all, I'm not an engineer but I've read stuff.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Linky Please.

    I may be wrong but would not making "Spotify" a link not only allow Google's algorithm to locate them more easily but also if you consistently did this establish yourself as more of an authority in that same algorithm with the hope that it would drive secondary searches to you? Maybe I'm getting a little wishful in thinking here, after all, I'm not an engineer but I've read stuff.

    We rarely link directly to company websites, as that leaves us open to search spam situations.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Mike, once again, you are confusing your anonymous people. I made the post in the other thread, this thread had yet to appear for me (cached).

    So sorry, you need to start paying attention, because you are confusing your posters.

    so DUDE, get it right next time, okay?

     

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  18.  
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    Bill Pickett, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Linky Please.

    Moderation is the price to pay to harvest those few who would give you their value freely to improve our lot. But I see where you're coming from - artificially inflating the ranks would be detrimental to all. However, what else would prompt Google to innovate and improve the algorithm?

     

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  19.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, once again, you are confusing your anonymous people. I made the post in the other thread, this thread had yet to appear for me (cached).

    No, no confusion at all. Identical IP addresses. Same person 1 minute and 45 seconds apart.

    And, no, it wasn't "cached." We do use caching on the site, but nothing will cache for more than 60 seconds. You were nearly half an hour late.

    So sorry, you need to start paying attention, because you are confusing your posters.

    I can reveal the image of the two comments next to each other with the IP address revealed if you want proof. Just give me permission to display your IP address and I will do so.

    so DUDE, get it right next time, okay?

    I did.

     

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  20.  
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    Dude, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Dude

    Maybe you are forgetting that Mike can mine your IP address so maybe there are two of you sharing (as if!) your connection.

     

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  21.  
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    TW Burger (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:13pm

    The Numbers Could be Honest

    It could be that the music industry has finally gotten the message and is producing albums people would like to buy. I have noticed a small improvement in the quality of the offerings (if you ignore stuff like Hanna Montana and the Jonas brothers). Labels seem to be seeking out talent instead of creating 'fake' groups.

    The numbers could be honest, the question is if they are relevant.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    DUDE, seriously not me. I don't care what your system says, it ain't me. That other anon doesn't even write like me.

    You got it wrong, sorry. I suspect you may have an anon faking IPs or something.

    (hint: I use caching on my browser - that way I avoid having to reload all the stuff that crowds up the page... learn about technology, it's your friend)

     

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  23.  
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    Doctor Strange, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Remember kids: when someone we don't like, like the RIAA or their agent, uses IP addresses to identify an individual, the technique is suspect and unreliable for a whole host of reasons. But when a Techdirt admin does it, it's "proof."

     

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  24.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    DUDE, seriously not me. I don't care what your system says, it ain't me. That other anon doesn't even write like me.

    There are plenty of other anons -- including one who is our "usual troll" which I know you are not. But this was you. You posted a series of comments in a row, including two right in a row, a minute and 45 seconds apart. The first one mocked me for ignoring this story, the second one then attacked my take on this story.

    You got it wrong, sorry. I suspect you may have an anon faking IPs or something.

    All faking from the same IP address writing in the same style?

    Um. No. It was you.

     

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  25.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Remember kids: when someone we don't like, like the RIAA or their agent, uses IP addresses to identify an individual, the technique is suspect and unreliable for a whole host of reasons. But when a Techdirt admin does it, it's "proof."

    No, of course not. Don't be an idiot. An IP address by itself would not be proof of who a person is (what the RIAA claims). But, if a single person is using the same IP address to post multiple comments one after another using the same writing style, you can make a reasonable assumption that they are the same person. That's all I did. I did not say I know who the guy is (I have no idea). I did not say that I can specifically identify anything about him. But there is significant evidence that he posted two comments less than two minutes apart, first mocking me for not being willing to post this story, and then complaining about how I did post the story. I find it quite amusing.

    I'm surprised you wouldn't understand the difference. Odd.

     

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  26.  
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    Doctor Strange, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No way. Someone is probably running an open wireless access point and multiple people are posting from it. Or they're both at Starbucks together. Or maybe the second anonymous poster installed malware on the first one's computer and is using it to impersonate the first poster. Or maybe they're both on the same anonymizing VPN.

     

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  27.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No way. Someone is probably running an open wireless access point and multiple people are posting from it. Or they're both at Starbucks together. Or maybe the second anonymous poster installed malware on the first one's computer and is using it to impersonate the first poster. Or maybe they're both on the same anonymizing VPN.

    Yes, you know that might be sort of amusing if we had ever made any of those arguments AND we were discussing a case in a court of law where establishing exact identity had grave consequences.

    But we haven't and we're not. So you just look like a dick.

     

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  28.  
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    Bill Pickett, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    They are working!

    To turn opinion against them that is. Most people don't understand the issues enough to be truly annoyed by the actions of industry associations like the RIAA. However, for those of us who do see their mouthpieces chipping every advantage incrementally away from us it galvanizes us. What they don't realize is that no matter how conniving they are there are other agents out there. We have agendas. And they have pissed me off. I influence my friends and family, I have actually started to educate them about the situation. Its a small start but it is one. Perhaps the RIAA and MPAA will live to rue the day they stirred up the court of public opinion. That is, if normal people organize around what is right.

     

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  29.  
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    Bill Pickett, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 7:04pm

    Debates are Good(tm)

    I apologize, sometimes I get a bit ahead of myself and forget to elucidate fully. I'll provide you some background information on my setting. Where I live, Newfoundland, Canada, there is a province wide radio station: its the same broadcast for the entire province. Every single day they have a radio program called Open Line. It runs three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. It is insanely popular here. Everyone listens to it and a good amount of people call into it to voice the issues of the day that get under their skin. It has enough influence that high-ranking ministers in our provincial government call into it all the time, sometimes they are the immediate caller after a gripe is voiced towards their domain. They massage the issue and it enables functional change. This is a form of feedback I would love to see emulated elsewhere, accountability with the people who vote for you does mean something when they can be organized in a heartbeat to take you to the nearest tree and hang you. Figuratively of course, we're a democracy. Imagine if politicians everywhere had to contend with ordinary people constantly pointing out where they lie, cheat, and steal? It is a noble system and it deserves to be shamelessly copied everywhere. This is how you force change: through consensus and to your common likings. Learn from us in this respect.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry guy, but you got it wrong.

    You know me, I don't have any shyness to post my comments and stand up for them (even when you are mocking me). There is a a "new" coward that has been posting on here for a little while, and that one tends to go all over the road. I have called him out a few times already, mostly because he writes like a baiting teenager rather than someone of experience.

    Yes, I called you out for not posting this article (you had it since yesterday), but I certainly didn't make the post in this thread.

    Sorry to disappoint you.

    Oh, BTW, you are aware that my ISP uses gateways an asymmetrical routing, right?

     

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  31.  
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    Bill Pickett, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Debates are Good(tm)

    See, I got ahead of myself again. Open Line also has a very balanced and intelligent moderator running the show. He takes people to their task and makes them justify to the point of passion. Once someone reaches passion it becomes just a game of head count. Unless he points out why the compromise needs to be made from another perspective. I'll stop spamming now, I have to go to bed anyway its late here because of the time difference.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dude, my ISP uses gateways and asymetrical routing. You never know what they are up to.

    Also, remember this: if you spend a little time looking at most chat boards, you can force an IP address in with the post string, such that you can have any IP you like (appearances).

    All I know is in this case, Mike is very, very wrong. Too bad he won't admit it.

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why not just get an account and remove all this confusion? It would also give your statements a bit more weight.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    what, and spoil my main point? Debate ideas, not people, that is where this all comes from. Mike is so busy trying to play pin the tail on the donkey, it's classic. He stopped debating ideas a long time ago, and since started debating ME. The funniest part is that someone else has jumped in and started playing anonymous too, and they are sending Mike into a tizzy. I really didn't do it, but hey, it's funny to watch.

    See, now, what was this post about again?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I do have to add to the discussion this little nugget:

    And the trends state that copyright will be rendered obsolete in the near future.

    Since I don't think that copyright will be rendered obsolete, why would I post that?

    Sorry, but you seriously got your anonymi mixed up.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I am not me? You are me! I am you! And we are all us. It's a shame about copyright going the way of the Dodo.

    Good luck in the future!

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're an idiot. Where's my mommy?

     

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  38.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 11:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I called you out for not posting this article (you had it since yesterday), but I certainly didn't make the post in this thread.

    I didn't say it was in this thread. It was in the thread for the previous post. And, yes, it was absolutely you as you just admitted.

    Oh, BTW, you are aware that my ISP uses gateways an asymmetrical routing, right?

    Yup, that's obvious. I don't know who you are, but I can tell when it's you posting, because your writing style and the gateway.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I said, yes I called you out in the other thread because you hadn't posted this. I didn't make a post in this thread (as you claim).

    Sorry, but you are wrong Mike. I would go to court and sewar to it. Sorry that you are wrong. Perhaps you will learn something from this experience.

    As for my writing style, you need to be more observant. The person you think is me in this thread isn't anything like me. Too bad.

     

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  40.  
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    TPBer (profile), Nov 26th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Working very well..

    at showing me all of the other alternatives :)

     

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  41.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I said, yes I called you out in the other thread because you hadn't posted this. I didn't make a post in this thread (as you claim).

    Dude. Read. I said "on another thread." Literally, I said: "I find it amusing that you posted this comment exactly one minute and forty-five seconds after posting a comment on another thread mocking me for totally ignoring this story."

    Go. Scroll up. Read it. Then maybe apologize.

    I never said this thread, I said another thread, and now you've admitted it.

    But, of course, you still haven't admitted you were wrong in saying that I "ignored" this story. Some people never learn.

    As for my writing style, you need to be more observant. The person you think is me in this thread isn't anything like me. Too bad.

    I know your style quite well, and I wasn't confusing you with anyone else in this thread. I was correctly identifying your comment in this thread and the previous one in another thread that said I was ignoring this story, even though I had already posted about it.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh anonymous cowards, how we muddle up the issues by hiding behind a veil of privacy. Yet, copyright maximalists would rather have that anonymity stripped away, because then the stealers and thieves couldn't hide any more.

    Oh anonymous cowards, we're so confusing. Yet, copyright abolishionists would rather have that anonymity dressed up, because then the copyright infringers could hide some more.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re: Working very well..

    Then I trun around and show these alternatives to all my friends and family; the circle of copyright infringement continues.

     

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  44.  
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    wvhillbilly, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike

    Just a friendly technical comment here...

    Naked IP addresses are usually unreliable indicators of identity because many - maybe most ISPs use DHCP, a protocol which assigns IP addresses to users from a pool of addresses on a rotating basis. When a user logs on, he is assigned an IP address. When he logs off or when his lease is up, that address is released back into the pool to be assigned to another user. This applies more to dialup than to broadband, because a broadband user typically is always on, with the IP assigned to the cable or DSL modem. So while IP addresses for broadband users are more stable than for dialup users, they can change.

    However, if the same address appears multiple times over the space of a few minutes, I'd say in all likelihood they're from the same person. Most people don't log off and on every couple of minutes.

    I'd say you got him.

     

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  45.  
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    wvhillbilly, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Are Entertainment Industry Tactics Working?

    I disagree with most of your comments, but this time I think you hit the nail on the head. The more they grasp, the more their grip slips.

    Did you see the story about "Nasty Old People"? Instead of loading their movie up with DRM and threatening to sue anybody who dared to pirate it, they put it out on Pirate Bay for free download to all and sundry, with buttons at the bottom for anyone wanting to make contributions. Now as a result, an Indie movie that probably wouldn't have made it past selling DVDs to a few locals is now getting worldwide exposure, and the producers have recouped a significant portion of their investment.

    A slap in the face for the MPAA!

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:16pm

    Re:

    Fund your own study.

    It would be interesting to see the entertainment industry figure out what 'pirates' really want. It would be less costly than lobbying for draconian laws and suing people of modest means into poverty.

     

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  47.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 27th, 2009 @ 8:31pm

    Re:

    " I would suggest using a large cat, a large dead cat, of course."

    Actually you need a very dead cat.... one thats very dead, bloated, and ripe. This way you can advertise before hand telling people how high the cat will bounce. You can claim that the bloated cat and the trampoline you set up are not the reason the cat bounced so high.

    Dead cats dont really bounce ... they tend to hit the ground hard and then get all maggot ridden because no one wants to pick them up afterwards ....

     

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  48.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 27th, 2009 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re:

    By the way that was about dead Cats not the recording industry ....

    ... Big Ole GRIN

     

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  49.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 28th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    One of the perennial problems with the "pirates buy more" studies is that they never seem to answer the real question: why do pirates buy at all?

    It would be interesting to know how much "fear of getting caught" plays into the equation.


    Not at all. Fear of getting caught motivates people to not infringe copyrights. It doesn't motivate pirates to buy music (or anything else).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Jeffrey Nonken, Nov 29th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Why buy when you can download?

    I prefer to buy content for all the reasons previously mentioned, many times over the years:

    - In the case of music and movies, you get all the liner notes, nice professional case and silkscreened medium, and so on. The medium is likely to last longer, too.
    - If it's software I can usually get support.
    - The quality of downloads is often compromised in the case of A/V. Compressing the snot out of the files makes the files nice and small, but they're lossy compression techniques. The result looks or sounds crappy.
    - Any time you download illegally you take a chance on getting something that doesn't work, that's not what it says on the label, that contains malware. Yes, I realize that's possible buying legitimately, too, but much less likely.

    And last but not least:

    - If it's worth using, it's worth supporting. If somebody makes something I enjoy I prefer to encourage them to make more. Call it enlightened self-interest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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