Information Week is reporting on two men who were sentenced to jail
for what is being called the "largest CD and DVD pirating scheme to be prosecuted in the United States." From the evidence, it certainly sounds like these guys were counterfeiting all sorts of music, movies and software, so there's nothing wrong with them being caught, found guilty and punished. What I do find interesting, however, is how the various industry associations have been spinning this story (and how the press is accepting it without question). Since these guys were arrested, the story has been how they had equipment that could
have made 300 million pirated CDs and DVDs. Note the "could have" part. Because, in reality, authorities only seized a bit less than half a million. It's still significant, but it's less than 0.2% (not 2%, but 0.2%) of what's going in the headlines. In theory, any DVD/CD burner could produce millions of counterfeit discs -- but that's not news. Why is it news in this case?
Of course, this is par for the course for the industry. Remember when the RIAA wanted to count high speed CD burners as multiple burners
in trying to boost the size of a bust it made? Or when the MPAA claimed they seized $30 million worth of DVDs when in turned out to only be about $10,000
? It seems they like to blow these things out of proportion with big, totally unsubstantiated numbers. Of course, that lets them make the laughable claim that each of these busts is "a significant blow"
against piracy when nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, as we've seen, all these CD/DVD counterfeiting shops are facing a much more "significant blow" from the competition from free downloads
. Yet, of course, the Information Week piece carries a quote saying that "It cannot be understated how significant it has been." Actually, I'd say it's been significantly overstated.