Over the years, we've seen so many bogus reports on the supposed "losses" to various industries due to unauthorized file sharing, that it's about time the story was flipped. Reader SteveD writes in to point out the latest research, claiming that in 2007, the dollar value of all unauthorized music file sharing was $69 billion
. The research company that put out the number does clearly state that those numbers are not lost revenue (good), but then goes on to still claim that this shows how damaging unauthorized file sharing is for the industry:
"A $69 billion figure is staggering to contemplate, but it effectively illustrates the impact of piracy on the music industry."
Actually, I disagree. I don't think it shows the "impact" at all. If anything, you could flip this around (as I did in the title) and use it to show how much goodwill
and free publicity
provided by fans the industry squandered
by trying to turn those fans into criminals, rather than learning to embrace that free labor
in a business model
that took advantage of all of that free promotion. Sure, the headline is an exaggeration, but it's no more of an exaggeration than claiming that the $69 billion represents the extent of any problem. If there's a problem, it's in the fact that so many folks in and around the industry view this as a problem rather than a huge opportunity and resource.