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
    Paul (profile), 14 Jan 2011 @ 2:06pm

    Publishers are not alone in this

    This is TechDirt, so I know that we are going to worry about copyright more than anything else. Still....

    I have tried to find any data to indicate that Credit Scores are related to risk, i.e. that Banks other lenders REALLY need to charge more interest to someone with a 650 score rather than a 700 score to make the same return.

    In fact, when banks were on the edge, I heard EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE was true, that someone with a near perfect score never pays fees, pays lower interest, and in general avoids all the traps lenders set up to make more money. That someone with a 600 or 650 score is statistically the same risk as someone with a 700 or 750 score, but is going to pay way more fees and penalties plus pay the higher interest.

    So this question is really just as relevant to the public as a whole. Why won't banks do the studies to PROVE their polices actually do account for added risk?? Because they can't, and in fact much of the whole "Credit Score" scam is just a legal way to collude to charge most Americans more money.

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