Why Won't Copyright Holders Run Studies On The Actual Impact Of Piracy?

from the wouldn't-they-want-to-know dept

A bunch of folks have sent in this recent O'Reilly Radar interview with Brian O'Leary, concerning the data on the impact of ebook "piracy," with many pointing to the following quote:
Data that we collected for the titles O'Reilly put out showed a net lift in sales for books that had been pirated. So, it actually spurred, not hurt, sales.
Of course, if you read the details, he's actually saying this is from a study from a couple years ago, and the focus of his point is that there really isn't enough data to say yet. He's hoping that other publishers will work with him to do more research on this subject, but so far, they haven't.

O'Leary, correctly, points out that there are lot of factors involved and it would be nice to have more data to look at the actual impact. But what really struck me is that line about how publishers simply aren't willing to collect the data and study the actual impact of unauthorized copies. I'm trying to figure out why this is. There are so many copyright holders who whine and complain about the impact of unauthorized copies, that you would think they would be all over the idea of working with some researchers to figure out the actual impact (good or bad), so that they can respond accordingly. That they refuse to do so seems oddly telling. It's as if they don't want to know. I can only speculate as to why, but as a guess, I would imagine that some firms are afraid of finding out that the impact isn't as bad as they think (or, as O'Reilly discovered, that it's positive on sales, rather than negative), and suddenly they've lost their "bogeyman" that they've been able to blame poor sales on.

Filed Under: ebooks, piracy, stats, studies
Companies: o'reilly

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  1. icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), 14 Jan 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re: Ooootie Call.

    My, a most mesmerizing montage of mixed metaphors!

    Morality, being what the majority believes is good or bad, is irrelevant to financial gains/losses due to alleged piracy.

    Most surveys prove you can phrase a question in such a way as to get whatever results you want to get, and that most people do not know what they want. So, surveys are either a waste of time or a method of legitimizing misinformation.
    "Every time someone decides for the owner to give something away without permission, there is cost. Regardless of if the piracy may increase sales or awareness for some, let's make it clear: The ends do not justify the means. The TD mentality of looking at the end result and then dismissing anything that happened to get there are immaterial is really sort of annoying, and very misleading."
    Wow. Just wow. Does your brain really work this way? Let's start with your ambiguous terms:
    Cost: A cost to whom? A monetary cost, temporal cost, opportunity cost? Please try to be specific.

    "The ends to not justify the means. The TD mentality of looking at the end result and then dismissing anything that happened to get there are immaterial is really sort of annoying, and very misleading." - Philosophical/opinion statement, disregarded.

    So, your entire large large post can be summarized as: "it must be costing something to somebody somehow."

    Feel free to try again. Be sure to try a little harder. Really express yourself in a logical and forthright manner which will sway people to your opinion.

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