Industry Suppressed Report Showing Users Of Shuttered 'Pirate' Site Probably Helped Movie Industry...

from the well,-look-at-that dept

We've seen study after study after study after study after study showing, contrary to the claim of the industry and certain politicians that users of file sharing sites are pure "freeloaders" who are "leeching," that the users tend to be larger spenders on media and ancillary products. So it's really not a huge surprise that a new study would come out saying the same thing...

But, in this case, the history of the report, which has not actually been released, is a lot more interesting. As you may recall, in June, law enforcement across Europe arrested a bunch of people for apparently running -- a site that had been listed by US entertainment lobbyists as one of the worst of the worst "pirate sites," out there. So, it sure would be interesting to find out that, before all of this happened, some entertainment industry lobbyists had commissioned research into the type of folks who used and their media consumption habits.

Indeed, as TorrentFreak found out, it appears that just such a report was commissioned and created... and the results matched all those other studies we've seen:
The study, which was carried out by Society for Consumer Research (GfK), found that users of pirate sites including did not fit the copyright lobby-painted stereotype of parasites who take and never give back.

In fact, the study also found that Internet users treat these services as a preview, a kind of “try before you buy.”

This, the survey claims, leads pirate site users to buy more DVDs, visit the cinema more often and on average spend more than their ‘honest’ counterparts at the box office.

“The users often buy a ticket to the expensive weekend-days,” the report notes.
Of course, this report never saw the light of day. The only reason it appears to be getting out is what appears to be disgruntled researchers on the report who are upset it was spiked by whoever commissioned it... though the firm does have a history of working with organizations within the movie industry.

Of course, all of this raises some questions. Considering all of this research -- including some that appears to have been sponsored by the industry itself... why does the industry continue to lie and insist that people who use these sites are pure freeloaders? Do they not believe their own studies? Or do they simply fear the loss of control such a reality would really mean? Either way, it seems that those politicians, law enforcement officials and press who continue to parrot the industry's claims about those who use these services might want to reconsider how they portray these sites.

Filed Under: europe, file sharing, movies, piracy, studies

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2011 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Really?

    Maybe you should come up with an argument that doesn't boil down to "I don't believe it because I don't like it" before you attack others for confirmation bias.

    Here's what we know for sure: the industry has commissioned numerous reports, on top of the studies that have been performed independently. Of these, there's a suspicious trend toward those industry commissioned studies being biased toward their preferred narrative. This may suggest interference either through affecting the research directly or by suppressing those documents that suggest that their strategy is wrong.

    While short-sighted, this is understandable - every tactic they're using from DRM to regional licencing to lawsuits is based on the idea that there is an us vs. them situation, that there are paying customers and "pirates" and that these are separate groups.

    So, here we have a story that suggests that the above is perfectly true, that when a report is commissioned that reaches conclusions the industry doesn't like, it's suppressed. Now, of course, there's no way of independently verifying the story unless the whistleblower is identified or the report is leaked. But it does seem to fit within what we already know. But, you may recall, it was not so long ago that a certain Mr. Murdoch dismissed alleged phone hacking as something to be unconcerned about because the evidence wasn't clear to those on the outside that it happened...

    I'll reserve judgement, but I have few doubts that such a situation has probably happened, multiple times. Meanwhile, nobody seems to be coming up with ways to actually discredit these conclusions. Everything just seems to be a denial because the conclusions seems illogical to those who assume that "pirates" and paying customers are distinct, separate groups, which they are demonstrably not.

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