back to article US gov cries foul on MPAA piracy claims

That massive amount of money that business groups such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) claim is being lost due to piracy and copyright infringement? Well, fuggedaboutit. Such is the conclusion of a 37-page report (pdf) by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    hardly news

    I mean, nobody is really surprised by this are they?

    1. Jerome 0


      Surprised that a branch of the U.S. government has displayed some common sense, and actually publicly admitted what we've known all along? Why yes, as it happens, I'm very surprised indeed.

      1. Quxy

        GAO: Sensible, but irrelevant?

        Unfortunately, while the GAO is usually independent and sensible, and is supposed to serve as a sort of financial conscience for the Congress; members of Congress have developed excellent mechanisms for ignoring their personal consciences, and are nearly always successful at doing the same with the GAO. Given the vast amounts of money that the BSA, MPAA, and other "intellectual property" organisations have pumped into Congress, it's unlikely that this GAO report will have the slightest effect on proposed copyright legislation.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good on you GAO

    The problem with the MPAA and RIAA's findings are they have so many assumptions that are plainly wrong. I do hope that more people report on the findings and it becomes a highly known news item. Although I wish it came out before this "Digital Fail Bill" was forced upon us due to Mandleson having free luxury holidays with music industry cronies.

    The findings in this place: is so much more useful and I have to agree with it.

  3. Geoff Mackenzie

    Great stuff

    "The GAO states up front that their review is mostly the result of interviews with a few 'experts,' the Copyright Alliance's response sniffed, "many of which were academics who have not been professional artists or creators or ever worked in a creative industry."

    Unlike the Copyright Alliance output, which studiously avoids stating that it's based on the opinions of a few 'experts', many of which are not academics and have no understanding of statistics or cause and effect.

  4. some vaguely opinionated bloke

    Statute of Anne

    Section 4 allows redress if a book or books are deemed (by any of quite a list of people) to be priced too high.

    If that bit had stayed in subsequent Acts, we might have avoided some of the issues we have now...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    I commit copyright infringement

    I proudly commit copyright infringement. Never commited an act of piracy though - always respecting my fellow seafarers - besides, they never did carry much treasure worth my time to steal and murder.

    Back to copyright infringement. I don't infringe the copyrights of music. I am very specific about the music I like and most of the stuff out there is crap anyway. I do however infringe the copyrights of the movie industry, and I do that proudly for 3 reasons:

    1. To sample a film. A lot of films out there are pure rubbish. You cannot believe the advertisements, magazine reviews, television reviews or even internet reviews (on commercial entities like Amazon etc) because I find that their reviews are unreliable. If I think the film is decent I will consider buying a copy, but ...

    2. Price. The film is not worth £10+. I am not interested in the extras. I will wait until it comes down in price before I buy it. Plus I am starting to get things on Blu-Ray and hae to repurchase things once again at extortionate prices - well, I don't because I wait until the price is really low, and only keep them if the quality is exceptional (ie, not DVD ports!).

    3. A lot of the stuff is UNAVAILABLE IN THE UK. And due to the MPAA's insistance on region locking it makes it difficult for me to get it. I have unlocked my DVD but so far cannot unlock my PS3. Plus, by buying from the USA I am helping their economy more than ours! Release all films in all countries at the same time and their sales will go up.

    Simple really. 1 & 3 are the main reasons I commit acts of copyright infringement. But if they reduced the price and made a lot of the stuff available in the US available in the UK AT THE SAME TIME then I would buy more.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Some films that are 'pirated' are just unavailable

      Take the spaghetti western 'The Big Gundown', for instance. The studio will not put out a new version so all versions out there for sale are pirated. I would very much like to buy a non-pirated version, re-mastered with perhaps some bonus material, but they just won't do it. So, am I supposed to just forget the film exists and buy something I don't want to buy?

      If they want people to buy non-pirated versions of their products, then they should sell the products people want with the extras that people want at a price that people want. It's called a business model that works.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Misleading advertising and high prices

        Advertising: The film industry, the same people who advertised Norbit as "Hysterically Funny"

        Price: Some time ago I went looking for "The Cruel Sea" (1953) on DVD, high street price €22.00 for a 50 year old film with no extras. I eventually got a copy free with the daily mail for €0.50 (I only kept the paper so the dog could piss on it).

        Can you imagine it, honest advertising and realistic pricing "Norbit, total shite, wait three months and but it from Tesco for 2.99"

      2. Anonymous Hero

        @AC - Some films that are 'pirated' are just unavailable

        I had the same problem with Forbidden Plant. No kosher DVD to buy in the UK and no release date (at the time) so I bought a (very good) pirated copy for four quid.

        I rarely download movies because I'm happy to just rent, or if the film is exceptional I'll buy. But Blu-Ray releases are just far too expensive so I stick to renting.

        The studios/labels are as usual their own worst enemies. Music and films I will happily pay for if they don't piss me about on price and that region coding crap.

    2. PirateSlayer
      Thumb Down


      " If I think the film is decent I will consider buying a copy, but ..."

      About the only thing you DO consider. How magnanimous. Perhaps you should 'consider' the fact that your selfish actions have brought about the Mandy bill!

      Why is it that all freeloaders are A/C? You say you're 'proud'...proudly step up and identify yourself!

      1. Circadian

        @Pirate Slayer

        To pirate a phrase from our dear leader (the moderatrix that is), ODFO.

        No, I do not condone piracy outright, as I believe that creators deserve payment for entertaining me - if they can make a living out of it, they will create more, and I will get more entertainment.

        However, the present system is so unbalanced that usually the buyer gets poor value, the creator gets little remuneration, and a whole bunch of middle-men cream most of the profit.

        If you believe that everyone should pay for everything they have taken, then I want a system where the crap stuff not only refunds your money, but pays for the chunk of life stolen from you by false advertising. (What do you mean, asking if I am still bitter about "The Phantom Menace"?)

    3. Matt Newton

      Agreed entirely

      After Battlestar Galactica finsihed its run, I really wanted to get the soundtrack to season 4. So I looked around for months after it finished airing to find it would come out on a specific date - January last year IIRC.

      When the date came, I searched on Amazon and found it - I could pre-order it - it was $16.99. $16.99, i thought? That can't be right - I live in the UK. Oops, I'm on .com instead of Silly me!

      So I went to amazon and searched for it. Sure enough, it was there - albeit with a release date 1 month later and the price was £27.99.

      Nearly 3 times the price (once currency conversion was taken in to consideration plus the conversion fee of course), and released a month late?

      So I went to .com again and tried to order it from the US. But I wasn't allowed to because "this content is not available in your region" and gave me a helpful link back to the UK websites.

      So I downloaded it for free v0v

      I was quite willing and prepared to buy the damn music with real money - money that'd go to the studios - that's why I was on amazon to begin with.

      But then I thought fuck you, when I thought about it.

      If they hadn't tried to fuck me over with the pricing and the wait, they'd have got some money, but now they don't, and I have the music.

      They do this to themselves.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh there's a surprise

    What? The entertainment industry lied and inflated claims of piracy to press home its point? I'm so shocked and bemused, I thought I could trust their integrity and honesty, the same as they trust mine not to steal their product....

    What's more upsetting is that the politicians believed them and changed law to suit these lying fkin bastards. I stand by my idea of shooting every fifth politician if they're caught lying or failing to deliver on manifesto pledges, in fact, let's just shoot every fifth one anyway because we all know they're going to sell us down the river anyway.

    Paris, she's used to getting screwed..

  7. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Film Industry loosing money?

    If the film industry is looosing sooo much money, why is it that the actors in the films are paid more than the total income of everybody in my town?

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    So thos "$200Bn" figures

    Were POOMA.

    Thumbs up to GAO for identifying that these figures have *no* defensible basis.

    What's quite astonishing is you would think that these bodies would have *some* loose idea of how to link the amount of illegal goods with the amount of legal goods produce.

    It would seem not.

  9. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Up

    Owners v's creators?

    Once the idea got round that 'intellectual property' could be bought and sold and vastly overpriced just like physical property the trough had to be widened for the even bigger snouts to fit.

    But the snouts keep saying that the trough should be bigger and (it seems) the less work they have to do to get to the trough the more they should be able to feed.

    Ramp up the 'recommended' price that the product is never sold at and base all your calculations on a non-existant value then scream that you're being robbed. It's no different from bumping up an insurance claim - adding a bit more value here and there until it bears no resemblance to the real value.

    For once someone seems to have said 'HOW MUCH? you must be joking'.

  10. Velv

    Incentive ?

    "undermines the incentive for authors and artists to create"

    You don't sit down and say "I'm going to make money by writing songs" (or creating anything else artistic)

    The majority of artists have natural talent and it is their own love of what they do and their powerful ego's that drive them to create. And we've certainly seen some extremely large ego's over the centuries.

    Artists absolutely deserve to be paid, and handsomely where appropriate, but to say money is the incentive is just so wide of the mark. Let's not forget that the VAST MAJORITY of the cash involved goes to the record label, studio, publisher, gallery etc, so it is their greed that is related to a monetary incentive.

    Piracy is wrong, but let's make sure we control it for the right reasons.

    1. Tom 35

      Dead artists

      How much incentive do they need to get dead artists to create?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Dead incentive

        That reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon - where they used the dead founder (spinning in his grave) of the company to make electricity.

    2. Andrew_F

      Re: Incentive ?

      "You don't sit down and say "I'm going to make money by writing songs" (or creating anything else artistic)"

      No, but you might say "I wish I could afford to quit my dead-end job and pursue my dream of being a full-time artist". The monetary incentive affects artists too.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Priacy is not the problem, the MPAA is the problem

    The most creative aspects of human culture are generally free (or low cost). Look at the stuff people put on YouTube, Fdo for OSS etc. If it is good, and if the public feel they are getting value for money AND directly supporting the creator, they'll pay (yes, people do pay for FOSS - shock, horror!).

    If the public feel they are getting taken for a ride/only supporting some exec's drug habit, then they'll rebel.

    I will confess to committing certain "criminal" acts to be able to watch what I want. It's only criminal because some ass-hat came up with DVD region locking and I now have to play silly-bastards to view LEGALLY PURCHASED material that would not normally play on my player (and that is not available here). How does RESTRICTION OF FREE TRADE help the creators? Eh, ass-hats?

    I don't torrent copyrighted material or anything, I buy the DVD/CD and then bang my head off the keyboard when the latest "anti-piracy" measure gets on my tits (actually, I have considered torrenting AFTER purchase just to get a non-DRM copy!)

    Every anti-piracy measure will be broken. Unless people start heading down the route of personally encrypted copies delivery only of secure connections, it will be broken (and even then, one could just shove a recorder with hacked firmware on the end). Better (and less exhausting) to just play fair, give people the service they want at a price they can afford.

    Sure, that won't stamp out piracy; but billions will be saved from stopping trying to kill the unkillable. I'm not defending piracy, but the current situation is untenable, pisses of customers and is actually detrimental to the creators it is trying to protect (it doesn't protect creators one bit, it protect the big labels and they have created jack-shit).

    1. zedenne
      Thumb Up

      i like to pay for foss

      We make extensive use of Debian so every year i buy some random merchandise or send them a donation.

      In fact you're just reminded me that I haven't yet this year. I will do so now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I volunteer...

        ...but that's because I am skint.

  12. M68H

    Wise Words

    "Sometimes what's right isn't as important as what's profitable" - Trey Parker and Matt Stone

  13. chr0m4t1c

    I wonder

    If there's a case for splitting copyright into corporate and personal?

    I can understand why a corporation like Disney want copyright extended, but if they could be granted perpetual copyright for the Mouse, would they "care" so much about other stuff?

    Separation could allow for gradual reduction in the case of unused works (e.g. If there are no products manufactured and made available for sale in say 15 years, it reverts to personal copyright under the original author for 10 years or life+10 years, then into the public domain).

    Such a separation would allow us to deal properly with the different demands of artists and big businesses, although you'd probably want some safeguards to prevent things like recording companies writing perpetual copyright assignment clauses into artists' contracts.

    The big media companies /tell/ us that money is being taken away from the artists, but artists are often getting single-digit percentages from sales, if copyright reverted to the artist after (say) 10 or 15 years, then the artist would be in a position to take their works elsewhere, which might mean a more equitable solution all round, (e.g. A personal work cannot be changed into a corporate work, it can at most only be granted a fixed-term exclusive license.)

    Conversely, a salaried team creating the next Pixar movie might only produce corporate copyright works that belong to Pixar. Those works would then be business assets that can be sold on or traded against.

    Workable solution or fatally flawed in some way that I haven't thought of?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Corporate and personal copyright are already treated differently

      It would be better to treat them the same way. Copyright should last for about 30 years from first publication in all cases. (And publications should have a copyright notice that includes a date, and perhaps there should be a requirement to adequately reference earlier editions of the same work.)

    2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      An interesting idea.

      Your point about 'perpetual copyright' for Mickey Mouse is a little off the mark though. IMHO, things such as MM should be treated as a corporate trademark. Disney should own the right to profit from commercial ventures using that trademark, such as T-shirts and silly hats.

      They shouldn't retain the perpetual right to prevent others from creating new works based upon MM, such as new cartoons. If they want to continue making money from creative works, they should create some new ones, I fail to see why they should continue to draw revenue from the works of someone who is long dead.

      The distinction here is between copyright and trademarks. IANAL, but I believe these are treated in fundamentally different ways. Lobbyists deliberately conflate them, in order to extend the length of copyright (which is the area where they can draw the largest profits from what is essentially protectionism).

      I have no problem with a corporate entity protecting its trademarks, in order to stop others passing themselves off. If for example, I were to make a cartoon and sell it as a Disney cartoon, in order to up my sales, Disney would be quite rightly able to sue the pants off me.

      What I see as unreasonable is the situation where someone might make a short film about Mickey Mouse, and Disney sues them because they are using a copyrighted image. What they are then doing is essentially preventing others form producing creative works.

      1. chr0m4t1c


        I'll admit, it was just something that popped into my head rather than a fully formed working solution :-)

        Maybe MM was a bad example, how about something more specific like, say, Casablanca or Citizen Kane? They're likely to remain profitable in a small way to the studios for some time and I can't say I have a particular problem if they wish to continue producing DVDs or whatever for the next 200 years if people still want to buy them.

        To coin a phrase, IANAL, so I have no idea if something else protects them, but if I understand things correctly (and I probably don't), once the original print it out of copyright someone else could master a DVD/Bluray/H.294/whatever from it and start selling it.

        In fact, that already happens with books, you can buy a recently copyrighted version of 1984 at lots of book stores, even though the work itself is in the public domain (ok, not everywhere in the world).

        Essentially we lack balance, I don't really see a problem with MGM or whoever being able to continue to make money from Casablanca and I've no real problem with them being able to control derivative works to prevent the dilution of that market, but they're not doing that then the work should be treated as abandoned to let someone else have a go.

        All that happens at the moment is everything gets stupidly long protections *in case* they turn out to be lucrative, which feels wrong to me. If it's not making money, let it go and help enrich our cultural heritage. Damn, I think I've been watching too much Star Trek.

    3. A J Stiles
      Thumb Up

      Another way

      Copyright lasts 25 years, or until death, whichever occurs sooner, and is non-transferrable -- except that it can be used one time as collateral for a loan.

      An impoverished but talented person can create some content, then borrow money to pay for its publication and distribution. The lender then gets to stipulate how the work can be used, and what royalty is payable for each use, until the loan is repaid in full (which normally would be when the first pressing sells out). At which point, the artist is then free to publish again via the same or other channels. There would need to be a law in place to ensure that the mortgage was not prolonged unnecessarily, so rights would revert to the creator as soon as possible.

      No exclusivity: Merely making a copy is no infringement, as long as the appropriate royalty is paid (to the artist, or to the lender if copyright is mortgaged).

      There are business opportunities at all levels here: full-package-management services where all the work -- recording, mastering, promotion, distributing, royalties collection -- is done for you; bare-bones services; and everything in between.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Another way

        "Copyright lasts 25 years, or until death, whichever occurs sooner, and is non-transferrable -- except that it can be used one time as collateral for a loan."

        I'd rather make it just 25 years and transferable in a will. Otherwise you've just created an incentive to kill the author. More seriously, since I can sit in a desk job and leave a pile of cash to my children, why shouldn't an author be able to leave the fruits of their labours to their children?

        On a more general point, I have to say that if you can't recoup your creative investment within 25 years in the modern world, you've failed. 25 years *might* have been sufficient in the 18th century when there was no mass market to plug into, but not any more. The majority of "creative" works can be distributed/published over the internet at very low cost these days. There just aren't the economic barriers that existed 300 years ago, so the copyright period should be *shorter*, not longer.

  14. Marty


    "You don't sit down and say "I'm going to make money by writing songs" (or creating anything else artistic)"

    not unless your artistic tallent is creating £20 notes

    just checking my pockets !!!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Video killed the radio star....

    Video Games killed the DVD..

    Mobile phones killed the CD..

    etc etc...

    (With respect to where the 'youth pound' now goes!)

    about time they stop blaming the pirates.

  16. Alex King

    Yes, but...

    It's all very well the GAO pointing this out but it'll have little effect until newsmedia starts doing its job and does that critical appraisal of its sources thing that we all learn about in school.

    While they continue to regurgitate press release figures based on the ludicrous assumption that one illegal download = one lost sale, the entire picture is skewed and the argument fatally flawed.

    Unfortunately this critical assessment will never happen, because every significant source of news belongs to a conglomerate with a commercial media arm that has a vested interest in inflating these figures (yes, especially including Auntie Beeb).

    So, really, we're screwed.

    Oh, and don't get me going on that "piracy is stealing" crap. No it isn't - if you steal something then you deprive somebody else of rightful ownership.

    Until they stop lying and ripping people off to support their flawed argument, I reserve the right to ignore them and rip them off in return.

  17. PirateSlayer

    To all of you 'proud' copyright infringers...

    "It also goes out of its way to recognize that piracy and copyright infringement do, indeed, have negative effects upon US companies and citizens. However..."

    Oh look...your actions have consquences.

    You can bandy excuses and figures back and forth, but it is YOU who have forced a draconian bill upon us in the UK. Your greed. Your lack of respect. Your overinflated sense of entitlement. Don't pretend it's anything else. So you're all up in arms that figures have been INFLATED...not that there is a genuine loss to people and to companies who are entitled to the fruits of their labour...but keep believing that there is nothign wrong with what you're doing...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Slay Away...

      So you are ranting that other people's piracy has enforced a bit of UK legislation which is draconian in how it restricts piracy?

      What was your issue with this again?

    2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

      You wouldn't happen to ba a shill for the record industry would you?

      "it is YOU who have forced a draconian bill upon us in the UK"

      To coin an anlogy, that is akin to a kidnapper saying, "If you don't pay the ransom,. it;s your fault when I post bits of your daughter to you in a jiffy bag".

      It is the lobbyists for the record companies, which represent corporate entities, not artists, who have forced this legislation upon us. Failure to change their outmoded business models has resulted in them no longer being able to draw a pension against past works.

      You will always get people who do want stuff for free. However, there are a lot more people who do not wish to pay for dross, or over the odds for a couple of hours' entertainment. Home taping didn't kill music, and downloading isn't either.

      Your ad-hominem attack against anyone who opposes your viewpoint is not only childish and ill-considered, but smacks of a comment coming from someone with a vested interest.

    3. Eradicate all BB entrants

      actually PirateSlayer.....

      ....tis you who fails

      I bought Jaws on VHS in 1994. Buy purchasing said item I was granted a copyright license. This license lasts until the copyright holders term expires.

      Jump to today, I can no longer purchase a suitable device in order to exercise my rights to make use of said copyright license. So I ask the copyright holder if they can, for a nominal fee to cover costs, send me a copy on modern media. I am quite happy to pay for the dvd, a cd sleeve and the postage costs. They say no, you must purchase another license. The license on the back of the media does state that the license in non-transferable, meaning I cannot pass those rights to another individual but does not list any restriction on my rights as the original license purchaser.

      So therefore I have to use alternate methods in order to make use of a license I have already paid for. Remember a cd/dvd/BD is only a medium to initially transferring the license to you.

      The mandybill was not caused by so called pirates, it was caused by an archaic business model desperate to keep control

      1. PirateSlayer
        Thumb Up

        No relation

        @A/C - it has implications for law abiding citizens too!

        @Others - I am in no way a corporate shill...I am just someone with a modicum of morality. I just resent the bullshit romanticization of grubby theft as some kind of moral or intellectual vanguard act. Speaking as someone who buys media after careful consideration (instead of ripping it off in the first instance) I resent those who bypass the market.

        My brother pirates plenty...he has the decency to acknowledge (with no ranting or prompting by me) that what he is doing is wrong and he would be bang to rights if caught.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re To all of you 'proud' copyright infringers... → #

      oh do calm down..

      The uproar isnt just those with 24/7 50mb (note to Labour the 'b' is small!) who are downloading the collected 'works' of now thats what I call, well, pretty poor regurgitated trash 174.

      If you want to make people liable for their actions you've got a hell of a lot better places to start than with people downloading tv episodes of shows that are not available here.

      Am I defening these people, no, am I a serial downloader, nope but downloaders are a convenient and "most likely" excuse for the BPI et al to use.

      There are NO confirmed, validated, impartial (that last one is important) reports or published works that confirm that downloading (for which read bittorrent which is the most public trading medium) is killing music, dvd, movies, executive drug habits or small fluffy bunny rabbits.

      Totally self-interested pieces BY the BPI and their fox-screeching representitive Fergal "one hit wonder" sharkey on the other hand see a huge decrease in sales and a distribution model not locked to their every whim and king-making ideals and grabbed the nearest politician for hire (Mandelspanner / Geffen anyone?) and started whining into their bottles of Bolly.

      I've studied this change in IP licensing for nigh on 11 years in my 20+ years in the IT and Coms industries and, if anyone bothers to look, they'll see that the KPI on purchased IP media (that's your CD,DVD,BluRay etc) is probably up 5-10% it's just not in the same place. There's been paradgm changes in allocation to games with huge production values (compare ZX81 Night Gunner with God of War 3 / your favourite game / platform of choice) ring tones, on line downloads. Sure an album doesnt sell 4 million copies anymore at £13 an album, that's for many social reasons including but not limited to different spending patterns, variety of choice, perception of value, yes - probably an aspect of people having free access, deciding track 1 only will do them and not buying the other 14 turgid remixes - and, the BPI will really hate this one, the fact that a lot of output is now "manufactured" x-factor tripe with a shelf-life of 21-42 days tops.

      The DEB is a tragedy, its an abomination and it will only "work" if its used to its full draconian ability to cut off anyone even vaguely thinking about sharing a file - and not just by bittorrent - leading to a staggering number of false positives, unfair suits and disconnections and most likely a few referals to the human rights legislation which is, at present, incompatibile with it (are you listening France?)

      In the event the DEB did "work" it may stop on line P2P trading. It wont stop file sharing with 2 TB (see the big B there, gee its not tricky at all) portable drives having LAN parties and will start mesh wifi networks springing up and thats without new developments springing up.

      Even so, if the DEB was expanded and expanded and expanded and file sharing stopped, overnight do you know what would happen to music / movie sales?

      No, neither do I and nor does the BPi, Fergal, the MPAA, RIAA, Geffen or Mandelspanner but if/when (take your pick) filesharing is proved to not be the culprit the BPI will just start campaigning for a levvy on computer games / music in movies / whistling in toilets to bolster their "flagging" model.

      I'd like to see a real self-publishing an promotion portal (not the scam sites we know are another variant on the back-alley recording studios of old) get somewhere to break the stalemate but whilst we keep getting into an us and them, paytards vs freetards, everyone vs the government (guess who's more tech-savvy in that one) teeth gnashing war no one is going to win except, as always, the lawyers and the politicians bank accounts.

      1. PirateSlayer
        Thumb Up

        @A/C do calm down

        Thanks for that. A very enjoyable post.

        I worry that people extrapolate their grievances with the music and film industries onto any industry that procues stuff that can be technically ripped off. Most important to me personally is the PC games industry. While PC gaming has adapted to some extent it is never going to be good enough for those who just need the hint of a shaky excuse (e.g. they disagree with anti piracy measures) for them to rip off the games producer...thus depriving me of high quality games for the PC (noticed in Game how the PC games section is ever decreasing in size). Maybe it's because PC gamers are more savy and get their games online. Maybe it's because fewer developers are developing for the PC. I would just prefer it if people supported the inustries they enjoy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          oddity in ditribution

          An interesting point.

          However I've got to say that in the past 5 years I hardly ever buy a full price DVD, CD or Game from the high street. Sometimes the odd bargain disc from HMV, Game et al but mostly I've pre-ordered on line.

          So why the reduction in the PC games area? Mmmm, well the purchasing figures (which I dont have in front of me so some of this is based on memory) would say that its not the industry going under. I think its a maturing market meaning merging companies who are grouping together to afford large production costs. Ah, but why are the consoles sections so much larger then? you ask.

          I'd say its because there's 1 section for PC but one EACH for the WII/XBox/PS3/PS2 etc and that's before you get into the quagmire that is shops refusing to have second hand PC games but hapilyy accepting second hand PC games.

          But thats a debate for another thread :)


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            or even...

            shops refusing to have second hand PC games but hapily accepting second hand console games.

            (stupid htc keyboard / big fingers!!!!)

            Reg, can we have an edit button, pretty please?

        2. Adam Williamson 1


          "noticed in Game how the PC games section is ever decreasing in size"

          Heard of Steam?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          The PC section in Game has decreased because in part to DRM causing there to be zero chance of a trade in, partly due to the massive take off of digital distribution on the PC and in part the sheer profitability and wider market of the consoles.

          Primarily, it's because the most profitable part of Game is the second hand market of which 100% of the sale goes to Game and not a single penny to the games studio. It also reduces the incidence of twunts taking home a copy of the PC game, ripping it and then handing it back. On this disgusting act you can blame the appearance of those little stickers saying "no quibble money back if sticker not tampered with".

          Personally, I'd be very happy if people stopped buying second hand games and bought first hand - you're actually supporting the industry then.

    5. Rattus Rattus


      "Now look what you made me do."

  18. burberry00

    Thank you...

    ...Mr Spokesperson...

  19. Giles Jones Gold badge


    They probably judge their losses based on RRP and selling a copy to every citizen in the country.

    How can you judge if someone will buy music or not, are you really telling me they can guestimate the popularity of a film or music artist?

    It's all part of a deception to earn more money than they would make doing it the hard way by selling, marketing and distributing music.

    Why bother making a CD/DVD, selling it and waiting for a few pounds profit to come back when you can sue a pirate for £100,000?

    Hollywood itself was formed by people fleeing to get away from paying patents for film equipment to Edison.

  20. Winkypop Silver badge

    Thank God* say the MPAA and RIAA

    "we haven't lost nearly so much money as we had feared" **

    * Insert make-believe deity name

    ** Not a real quote, but I thought it funny...

  21. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @An interesting idea.

    And Disney should be free to take a Hans Christian Anderson story for free, turn it into a cartoon and own the copyright for ever?

    Or should HCA's (or Shakespear's) publishers still have rights to the works?

    1. Ned Leprosy Silver badge

      @@An interesting idea

      "And Disney should be free to take a Hans Christian Anderson story for free, turn it into a cartoon and own the copyright for ever?"

      Yeah, this is something that really sticks in my craw: "we got rich off other people's copyright-expired IP, but we don't want anyone else doing the same". I dunno what I think is worse, Disney's "copyright expiry's for me but not for thee" attitude or the fact that so many people have grown up thinking that Disney's crassly saccharine retelling of old tales are the genuine article.

      As an aside, who's been downvoting every response that calls for a modicum of balance? Own up!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        who's been downvoting every response that calls for a modicum of balance?

        A bunch of dweebs who think that IP stands for IN my POSSESSION.

        Go ahead and down vote this post. Most of the arguments for piracy are whiny and childish.

        [Please note that there are some good arguments for cutting lengths of IP (Patent, Copyright, etc) based on somewhat reasonable economic issues. Those are worth listening to.]

  22. Anomalous Cowturd
    Thumb Up

    Perhaps you should tell Mr. Orlowski he talks shit!

    My comment is above.....

  23. Ray Simard

    Treat people like criminals...

    ...and they'll behave like criminals.

    The industry alarmists' attitudes annoy and insult the many who ride the fence between the temptation to pirate and the willingness to pay the bucks out of a sense of integrity. It's pretty hard to quantify the extent of piracy triggered by such irritation, but I'll bet it amounts to a pretty fair chunk of change.

    What really chaps my hide, though, is the industries' attempts to effectively grab regulatory power over the design and functionality of consumer electronics, demanding limitations aimed ostensibly at frustrating the transfer of material by users to their own systems and media, but with no regard for legitimate kinds of copying and the cost imposed on consumers whose equipment would no longer work because of them. The idea of an industry with no accountability to the public acquiring de facto regulatory control of another industry's designs and innovations is pretty scary, the more so when they're choking off useful features because they might--MIGHT--be used for piracy--sometimes.

    I have a goodly number of purchased items which were purchased because I first grabbed a pirated copy for a preview. I can't be the only one. The numbers might not be all that impressive, but has anyone considered that--that some purchases came about because of interest triggered by a pirated copy of something they might otherwise not have considered interesting enough to buy? Yes, there's a temptation to just keep the illegitimate copy and pass on the purchase, but when there's the willingness to buy what can be pirated, there's at least some willingness to buy what has been pirated.

    I also see a bit of irony in one case of my own, an Italian movie I "stole" via Bit Torrent. I had first combed the net in search of a copy, and found only one for sale--from Italy. Region 2. Useless.

    1. A J Stiles

      Never heard of multi-region DVD players?

      Why not just buy a multi-region DVD player?

      On the Continent, where region-locking is considered illegal, they are all multi-region. You'll need a TV that can sync at 50Hz, and possibly a replacement PSU; though modern switched-mode jobbies seem to be able to work OK from 110V. Go in via RGB SCART and bypass the whole PAL / SECAM / NTSC minefield.

  24. Big Catastrophe

    Every side shouts from their own standpoint of motivated self interest

    I buy CD's/DVD's/Games etc, where I believe they represent good value for my hard earned money and where I have an understanding of the content and of it meeting my tastes.

    I use many factors in determining what meets my taste, and one of these is the opinion of friends. Some of those slate some products and I will as a result avoid them, others recommend and I may therefore spend.

    In my opinion, most of the above products when first released are rarely worth the price they are marketed at: £12.99 for a CD; £17.99 for a DVD; £45 for a game. So I often wait just 3 months and see prices plummet. If you wait 12 months, the prices plummet further.

    The record industry often said since the 1970's things such as: home taping is killing the industry/CD's are expensive to produce/We change a fair price that the market is prepared to pay. All of these are untrue. Home taping has gone and the record industry is still here; CD's earned the industry both more as a % of sale price and more in terms of £ per copy that either records or tapes ever did; the advent of torrents has simply served to more openly demonstrate that the market is not prepared to pay the prices being charged. Only a small percentage of the market is content with the existing price structures.

    What we appear to have is a series of industries which managed a long time ago to create a cash cow: Little effort and a lot of profit. I suspect that the majority of creative people by their nature are not structured thinkers in terms of contract negotiations and long term market views. The industries that are supposed to however are. The result is that with an exception of a few creatives, the majority are screwed over and receive a far smaller percentage of sale revenue that in my opinion they should.

    I think that like many people, I would love to be able to pay the artist directly in order to receive the product of their creativity. Slowly (far too slowly) this is starting to be possible, however the Music/Film industries are railing against this and unfortunately have the money/power to influence people to support their continued existence.

    At present an average artist (music) I believe gets around 11% of the sale value of a CD/song/mp3 or whatever. If they could receive let's may 50% for example, with the seller and a middle man making up the rest, then to get the same earning as they do now, they could in theory reduce the selling price from99p per track to 20p. I'm guessing that if the cost of music changed that dramatically, they'd sell one hell of a lot more and a great number of those currently obtaining music for free would be encouraged to pay for at least some music.

    I don't think we can address this overnight, but we must beat down the entrenched and out of date positions of scared industry middle-men in order to both support creatives and ensure the market if offered products which genuinely represent value for money.

  25. relpy


    So, that 250 billion that's lost, given that there aren't 250 billion sitting in peoples savings accounts (there isn't you know, it's kind of off the other end of the scale), where exactly is it supposed to have come from anyway?

    Beer, because, well, I know where my share went :-)

  26. Anonymous Coward

    An anecdote

    Some people have far too much time in their hands, judging by the frequency of their "contributions"... but anyway :)

    Years ago I used to refrain from copying music and other works of art, thinking that I was somehow helping the artists by so doing. That only lasted until a good friend of mine, who is a professional career musician published an (at the time was his latest) album with one of his bands and guess what... he very sternly *forbid* me from buying it under any circumstances whatsoever, offering to provide me with as many so-called pirated copies as I wanted instead.

    After he explained how much they get from each CD sale I understood exactly why he wasn't keen on people buying them CDs. On the other hand, the wider distribution of his music, notably by way of unpaid copies and downloads, helped them in a significant way to get more concerts, which apparently is how they (and everyone apart from the Beatles and very few others) actually make a living.

    So now you know, if you want to support an act the first thing you do is you rip all their records and share them wide and far. The second thing you do is you attend their concerts (or at least pay for someone else's ticket, which btw personally I've done with complete strangers).

    I hope this helps.

    On a marginal note, as for someone's whinge about people posting as ACs---I can't speak for everyone, but personally I do it because I want my comments to be valued on the face of what is actually said, not from some random handle going with it.

    Coat. The one with the Clam Chowder songs in a USB stick.

  27. JP19

    Most notable feature of this story is..

    The amazement and rejoicing of commenters here when a government body publishes something which is reasonably truthful.

    What a sorry state we are in.

  28. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Retrospective correction of court fines?

    AFAIK those dreamt up figures have also been extensively used to determine the court imposed fines on end users accused of piracy. Given that the above reports shreds the figures that were bandied around it stands to reason that convictions were thus also based on false data, and that fines were thus incorrectly calculated.

    Wouldn't it be fun if it was somehow possible to get those fines recalculated, forcing the RIAA to return the difference plus interest?

    Yum ..

  29. gimbal

    Yay, Congress!

    Like OMG, the US Congress can actually do something useful -- outside of all the C-SPAN entertainment of their "daily" banter? No ways! Go GAO! I'm all for true objectivity in government, after all.

  30. The Beer Monster


    Well known for respecting other people's copyrights and trademarks.

  31. Gavin Berry

    If it wasn't free I would not pay for it.

    Seems to be the point missed a lot by the Industry.

    I buy stuff and download stuff, but if wasn't free I would not have paid for it.

    So these Billions are not real and never will be.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has always been hyped up by those who want to tighten their grip

    This has always been hyped up by those who want to tighten their grip.

    As an example, I don't buy music any more, I used to have tons of records and CD's, I flogged them years ago and use youTube. IF I download an illegal copy of something, there is no loss of sale because I would never have purchased anyway. I don't P2P, I use youTube.

    If I downloaded an episode of something that is showing in the US not in the UK, there is no loss as it would eventually be on UK TV and I would not pay other than by my annual lisence anyway, so my action harms no one.

    If I download a film it would be a film that I would NEVER go to the cinema to watch, I would happily wait for it to be aired on TV for free. No loss of revenue again.

    I actually go to the cinema and watch EVERY film I want to see. The rest is just TV fodder so there would never be any sale made.

    The same is true for games and software I guess. But I think these suffer more than music or film industries.

    I play games. I buy the ones that I want to play, recent purchases: CODMW2 & BFBC2. I have played illegal copies in the past and I'm glad I did because some of them were installed, played for 10 minutes, found to be total load of crap and uninstalled. I have purchased plenty of games that were so shit that I lost interest in games full stop. Online FPS and MMORPG's have the right idea and fan base, and they either do good or fail miserably due to lack of dev support.

    How piracy can be beneficial:

    I would rather use a pirate version of single-player-only game like offline BattleField Bad Company2 to see if I like the dynamics of the game then pay for the game ( I did, £34) because the real content and appeal of this game is online play. My actions harmed no one and the net result is they got a sale and a loyal player/follower of their product. I now trust their dev skills and ability to provide value entertainment.

    There is too much shove it in your face, take it or leave it in the games(and other) industry, I think this will change,, online gaming is alreayd changing the status quo.

    What all this concludes is that the market place has changed, the old models do not work any more and that companies should restructure the way the sell to get as many loyal buyers as they can. If your products are good, people will buy. If your marketing and sales platform encourage buyer participation you are more likely to achive sales.

    There will always be piracy, there always has been, but to scream that every pirated item equals a lost sale is absurd, no, it is a blatant lie, a huge distortion of the truth, manipulated to tighten the corporate hold on an open marketplace.

    Individual piracy that does not generate income (e.g the home use on p2p) is relatively harmless and can even be beneficial in some cases. Organised piracy where criminal enteties make profit should be pursued and prosicuted.

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