Some In The Press Realizing That Copyright Industry Claims Of 'Losses' From 'Piracy' Are Bunk

from the moving-on dept

We've pointed to a couple of laughable new reports that were released by copyright industry interests in the past couple months, pushing claims of ridiculously high "losses" due to copyright infringement. The reports have been debunked, but part of the concern was that mainstream press, such as The Australian, were spreading these reports as fact. Thankfully, not everyone in the press falls for such questionable studies. The Sydney Morning Herald recently published a rather comprehensive look at all of these reports and studies, entitled: Piracy: are we being conned? It does a really nice job pushing back on all this industry-backed research, to point out that the story is more complex and nuanced that those fear-mongering claims make it out to be:
The Australian Institute of Criminology for one has been reluctant to take the industry at its word when it comes to piracy losses.

"Although these estimates provide a general indication of the scale of the problem, the validity of the data is open to some debate," the AIC wrote in its latest report on intellectual property crime in Australia.

The AIC has previously debunked claims that piracy was linked to organised crime and in a draft report leaked in 2006 said industry-provided piracy statistics were "self-serving hyperbole".

"The AIC's frustration was largely based on the fact that none of these groups will expose their reports to genuine peer review or analysis," said Kimberlee Weatherall, a senior law lecturer at the University of Queensland, who specialises in copyright law and is highly critical of the industry's piracy reports.

"When the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked into it at the request of US Congress, it expressed doubt about most of the industry-produced figures."

Piracy figures derived by the entertainment industry have also been heavily criticised in the US and Europe. In some instances, the industry has admitted to grossly inflating its numbers.

The article includes a lot more debunking of industry FUD. Nice to see that the press is finally realizing that claims that come from an industry looking for government protectionist laws to be adjusted in their favor can't necessarily be trusted.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Yeebok (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 4:41am

    The SMH put something out that was balanced ? Crikey.

     

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    Yogi, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 4:52am

    Pulitzer worthy?

    These days, if a news outlet actually refers to facts in its reports instead of just rewording the press releases of various interested parties, it should probably be eligible for a Pulitzer.

    Furthermore, here we have reporting that borders on the heroic - the newspaper actually takes issue with corporate press releases!! Who knows, maybe this will start a new trend in journalism...

     

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      DannyB (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:59am

      Re: Pulitzer worthy?

      They seem to be forgetting that their job is to regurgitate corporate press releases and political spin.

      It is the job of the riffraff Internet publications to investigate things and take issue with corporate and political spin.

       

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      Not really, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:20am

      Re: Pulitzer worthy?

      Not really, this was the same publication that ran with the regurgitated press release in the first instance.

      The real investigation was done by journalists at Torrentfreak and Crikey, who called out the organisation, demanded transparency, and exposed the study for what it was.

      This story was simply a (welcome) regurgitation of their hard work, saving face when confronted with a stream of criticism for being industry shills.

       

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      chris (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 7:41am

      Re: Pulitzer worthy?

      it's a partial revolution:
      around the world, some journalists are looking into their pants - and finding something wonderful.
      their balls.
      http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/01/20/

       

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 4:56am

    Self-Servicing Statistics, Inc.

    Start from your intended result and work backwards! Makes every conclusion forgone! Need to find x to support y? We've got all the x you need!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 4:57am

    One more newspaper that is going to be labelled as "pro-piracy".

    Queue smear campaign.

     

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    FuzzyDuck, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:05am

    Judge: LimeWire damages 'Absurd'

    Some judges aren't buying it either: http://mrte.ch/ay3

     

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      Steven (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 8:52am

      Re: Judge: LimeWire damages 'Absurd'

      I can't really get all worked up because a judge came to the conclusion that damages exceeding the worlds GDP creeps into the category of absurd.

       

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    Michael, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:24am

    Wow

    It is scary that it's news that a press organization is actually researching something to make sure it is correct.

     

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      Wabbit (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:30am

      Re: Wow

      My thought exactly. It seems like it's been decades since the major press outlets have done any serious digging/research for reporting that does not involve a political scandal.

       

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    NickMc, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Would be nice if perhaps The WSJ, NY Times, London Times and all the other major mainstream papers were to do something similar.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:40am

      Re:

      "Would be nice if perhaps The WSJ, NY Times, London Times and all the other major mainstream papers were to do something similar."

      The news papers have let go researchers, authors, and support staff. They really don't have the resources any more due competition for advertising from craigslist, and targeted online ads. They are seeing fewer and fewer people buying their paper due to online competition. Plus most papers are leveraged to the hilt due to consolidation. The current demographic that buys news papers is primarily the 45 year old and older crowd. As more and more people purchase "pads" (i or android) the trend to read news online will accellerate. The papers only have about 7 years left +- a couple years.

      Over which time you will see more and more regurgitated press releases as resources become more scarce at the papers.

      So good luck on your wish for them to do any sort of investigative reporting.

       

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    Fickelbra (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:14am

    Wow

    You mean to tell me the industry that stands to gain from reporting exaggerated losses due to "piracy" is in fact, exaggerating those claims?!

     

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    Delboy, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Ha

    $75 trillion WOW works out about 120k from every person on the planet. Hmm me-thinks someone has tampered with the decimal place. heh
    That is quite a few trillion more than what the recording industry has earned since the technology was invented.

    If I were the Judge, I would have laughed heartily in their FACE.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:37am

      Re: Ha

      Considering the average world income is about $8000, that's a lot to pay.

      But, I'd think 75 trillion would only be $12,000 per person.

       

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        Steven (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 8:55am

        Re: Re: Ha

        He's mixing his figures. There were two numbers floating around, amount per person in the US and amount for person in the world.

        $12,000 = world
        $120,000 (or something like that) = US.

         

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          harbingerofdoom (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 10:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Ha

          works out to 241,126.45 per us counted citizen (currently 311,040,116 per census bureau)and 10,857.27 for ever person in the world (6,907,811,402 also from census).


          10 grand per person in the world when there are people that would never see 10 grand as an entire family of 12 in theirs or thier childrens lifetimes combined.

          but no, nothing wrong with those number at all...nope...not. at. all.

           

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    Joe Publius (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    But, I'd think 75 trillion would only be $12,000 per person.

    Wow, they ought to say that to the $0.00 worth of media that I have pirated in my house. Thanks to free software, and cheap and easy to use digital sales, I can say that I haven't had to run afoul of these laws.

    But it is another indication of how ridiculous these allegations from the IP industries have become.

     

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    Not That Chris (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    So should we now expect Australia to find themselves at the top of the next Special 301 Report?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Actually, that story looks like they decides the industry bunk is bad because they decides to print someone else's bunk. I don't think the newspapers learned anything, I think they are just running with press release information done by the doubter side.

    I don't think it is really any more helpful than running industry numbers blindly.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      But the figures given by the VESTED INTEREST were clearly snake oil. These figures may still be snake oil, yes. but with less oil and more snake.

       

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      Lauriel (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 5:23pm

      Re:

      Equitable coverage of an issue is something that has been sadly lacking in Australian media to date. The closest they usually come to covering both sides of a contentious issue is in politics, and that is most often the paper or journalist slanting to one side or the other, rather than an unbiased coverage.

      Just the fact that they have regurgitated the opposing side of an issue is remarkable.

       

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    Kris B, Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:58am

    It all starts here...

    If it weren't for open discussions on the topics in widely viewed blogs such as TechDirt, the 'heroes' in the story might not have had the gumption to investigate and report. Keep the discussion flowing!

     

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    Overcast (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    Would be nice if perhaps The WSJ, NY Times, London Times and all the other major mainstream papers were to do something similar

    Yeah, they could claim that anyone reading news on another site is a 'stolen newspaper sale'. Makes sense...

    To a moron smoking formaldehyde maybe.

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Mar 24th, 2011 @ 6:06pm

    SMH Vs The Australian

    Most newspapers here are owned by Rupert Murdoch, including, I believe, the Australian, but not, it seems, the Sydney Morning Herald. Think about it.

     

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