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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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2011 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ooootie Call.

    No they shouldn't, IP laws are monopolies and are bad at their core with rare exceptions to that rule.

    Copyright holders should have just enough incentive to keep doing what they are doing and to get to that point we can cut a lot of fat that was imposed with the years.

    Do you really thing anybody will stop making music because they can't make a billion dollars and instead are just making millions?

    Do you believe is fair to make it criminal something that is inherently part of the human nature? Something that allowed humanity to grow?

    Which is a great part of a stable society?
    Sharing is at the core of success, not the individual success but us as a group, it is what enables people to work and get pass a lot of things, is what enables knowledge to spread and help the whole group and not just one individual and it is what makes as stronger in the face of adversities.

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