back to article Economics prof denies digital pirates plundered €20bn from EU coffers

A European academic has rubbished claims by the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) group that digital piracy cost the EU more than €20bn between 2008 and 2011. Making the assumption that the creative and service sectors performed at the same level, a grand total of around one million jobs and €47bn of …

  1. Dr Stephen Jones

    Freetardonomics

    Steal what you want, nobody is harmed.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Freetardonomics

      Don't mind if I do!

    2. Alistair
      Coat

      Re: Freetardonomics

      Oh look, theres a neat building over there in Paris. I'll steal the plans and build one here.

      Please re-read the article the pivot is that the industries in which the largest losses were recorded are the industries in which there is little to no piracy active.

      While there is argument that "artists loose revenue" with piracy, the point is that the money still gets spent in the economy. Thus his statement that the pirates aren't pulling money out of the economy.

      Personal opinion, "artists loose revenue" still applies in the current situation, but they're probably loosing more to the MPIAA/RIAA/(whichever organization collects the revenue/sets the rates) than they really are loosing to piracy.

      1. Tapeador

        Re: Freetardonomics

        "they're probably loosing more to the MPIAA/RIAA/(whichever organization collects the revenue/sets the rates) than they really are loosing to piracy."

        Spotify (which only exists because the alternative is zero revenue amid piracy) pays 0.007 USD per stream. So if you had a million plays that'd be 70 USD. You would get paid more working at the checkouts in Tesco.

        The MPIAA/RIAA are unions/associations, which represent members (usuall record companies I gather), and membership is not mandatory. I think the real choice is between making record sales through record companies, and not making those sales. For you to argue that piracy does not impact artist income, you'd have to argue that artists under a pre-piracy regime got less on the market (including record co fees) than they do now under a piracy regime, typically with no (or far fewer) record company(s) with the funds to invest in the artists.

        That's absurd.

        1. DavCrav

          Re: Freetardonomics

          "Spotify (which only exists because the alternative is zero revenue amid piracy) pays 0.007 USD per stream. So if you had a million plays that'd be 70 USD. You would get paid more working at the checkouts in Tesco."

          Let's do a quick comparison. Generally, the creators get about 10% of revenue from an album sale, which has roughly ten tracks on it. If that album cost $10 (all numbers are chosen for simplicity) then each song gets the artist 10c. So an album would have to be played 1000 times for us to get roughly the same amount of revenue for the two.

          But another point here is that it's possible to actually get a million streams fairly easily. Most of the people who are paying artists a pittance via Spotify wouldn't actually pay them anything at all otherwise. the idea is that a hundred times as many people will play your songs ten times, versus one person buying your album. Whether it's true or not, I don't know. If Spotify is too small for this effect to generate meaningful revenues, then it also cannot be cannibalizing album sales either, for exactly the same reason.

          But the real question is: does Spotify make any money? If it doesn't then they cannot pay any more. Demand more, and Spotify goes bankrupt. It won't be replaced by a magical money tree, but back to copyright infringement.

        2. John 203
          FAIL

          Re: Freetardonomics

          "Spotify (which only exists because the alternative is zero revenue amid piracy) pays 0.007 USD per stream. So if you had a million plays that'd be 70 USD."

          0.007 USD x 1,000,000 = 7,000 USD not 70 USD.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Freetardonomics

          "Spotify (which only exists because the alternative is zero revenue amid piracy) pays 0.007 USD per stream. So if you had a million plays that'd be 70 USD. You would get paid more working at the checkouts in Tesco."

          You get substantially less for reaching a similar number of ears in radio airplay (ears, not airplays).

          Long before the advent of the Internet, the average recording act ended their career at least $40,000 in debt to the record labels. More popular acts tended to be deeper in debt.

          This is because every cent of recording/production/advertising/promotion/advances/"salary"/touring costs associated with an artist is charged to the artist's "account" (plus interest), and is repaid out of sale royalties (about 40c per CD, used to be about $1 per LP). The system was deliberately setup to ensure only the record companies benefit and what they're really shitting theselves about is not piracy, but the notion that artists can reach their audience directly

          Despite the "low" figures, there's far more money for a musician in airplay royalties than in sale ones, as any accountant will happily explain and even more in NOT recording stuff, but letting others do that with your material and taking copyright fees - airplay royalties are composed of copyright and mechanical components. As a for-instance, Kathy Dennis made more in airplay copyright royalties in a year from Brittney Spears "Toxic" than she had made from sales of her own back catalog up to that point.

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Freetardonomics

        Question. Is a cogent and well-reasoned argument any less so because of an author who can't tell the difference between "lose" and "loose"?

        *twitch*

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Freetardonomics

      Sharing, surely?

    4. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Freetardonomics

      I've always liked the comic's line (sorry, I can't remember his name):

      "I wouldn't steal my mate's Ferrari, but I wouldn't mind if he burned me a copy".

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Even their marketing shit is dumb

    Without piracy, the value added and employment levels in the creative industries would have evolved in the same way, and at the same level, as the overall economy, claimed BASCAP.

    So without piracy, the "creative" economy would have resembled a beautiful flower continually circling the toilet drain ... but it didn't?

    PIRACY HELPS! PIRATIFY NOW!

    1. Tapeador

      Re: Even their marketing shit is dumb

      Sorry, how have you decided that an IP-dependent sector, recorded music sales, was somehow in decline without the influence of online digital piracy? What's your methodology exactly? Is it all down to the Smiths splitting up rather than IP theft? Downhill after "The Queen Is Dead"??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even their marketing shit is dumb

        That's their claim, not D.A.M's. Maybe try it with highlights?

        "Without piracy, the value added and employment levels in the creative industries would have evolved in the same way, and at the same level, as the overall economy, claimed BASCAP."

        So D.A.M. is advancing the scurrilous notion that for the past few years boasting that your operation is performing every bit as well as the UK economy is akin to saying "it's pretty fucked". Though of course their fantasy figures do claim that their sector is even more fucked, but lumping in "wired telecommunications" with the music makers does seem rather like over-egging the pudding (indeed it's probably piracy that gives the impetus for upgrading telecoms - won't those selfish musos stop and think of the hard-working "creatives" in the cable trench beside Abbey Rd?)

        1. oolor

          Re: Even their marketing shit is dumb

          It is all fine and dandy that they try to lump in ENTERTAINMENT with people who actually design the thing we need or help us communicate with each other to show their point (yes, yes, I know it is in opposition to any semblance of reality, but it is cute - they are trying so hard!).

          Back on earth, that ethereal money they have conjured up would either come from other money being spent on other services that MAY be more useful to humanity (even if only the employment created) or added debt. It is not like most people who engage in piracy are putting the money 'saved' into their rainy day fund.

  3. Daniel von Asmuth
    Holmes

    The great Internet robbery

    Blimey! To think that our Eurogov has that much coin in its coffers (that's about 16 billion Pounds).

  4. JP19

    Of course it is made up shit

    The kind that politicians love to sprout and some are even dumb enough to believe.

    Globally the only economic effect of piracy is that some people might work a bit harder to pay for stuff if they couldn't get it for free/cheap.

    Locally there is more of an issue. If some country pirates all your shit their economy benefits and yours suffers - pirate imports I say :)

  5. Dave Bell

    Where does this money come from? Where does it go to? If the piracy means that it doesn't go to a record company, where is it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Where does it go to?

      For fiscal year 2014 it's a 60:40 split between terrorists and paedophiles, although of course that's before they remit the standard 2% to the Illuminati.

  6. Kev99 Silver badge

    Actually, I think if the studios were to charge more realistic prices for the material and not load all the garbage onto the discs piracy would quite possibly decline.

  7. streaky

    #TED

    It's that pesky ringtone piracy again.

    Seriously you should see this talk if you haven't, it's a work of genius and directly related - http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_reid_the_8_billion_ipod - like, to the point the numbers involved are almost confusingly identical; almost like they made them up or something. Why would they do that right?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just so you know

    I wasn't going to buy your shit (film) anyway....so how does that equate to a loss?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fantasy figures

    After 15 years of the industry spouting fantasy figures backed by assumptions equally spurious, we've been collectively ground into not bothering to pull them up on it any more. So this must come as a bit of an unwelcome surprise to the 'piracy is evil' crowd, because unlike pretty much every argument the music business has put forward, the idea that the money not spent on music, movies etc is simply spent elsewhere in the economy just intuitively makes sense. They may have lost money, but the economy probably hasn't. And record companies are really, really hard people to give a shit about.

  10. Andrew Meredith

    "Home taping is killing live music"

    Anyone remember that one? Back when we all wired our cassette recorders to the radios for Top of the Pops ?

    Well it obviously didn't and what's more it was later shown that those acts that were taped and shared more, sold more records, by quite a margin. In fact a number of bands I went to see around that time were giving away blank tapes with the album art on them for us to tape on and give to friends. One explained that they couldn't record the album on themselves as that would break their deal with the record company.

    When you stand back from all this it does actually make perfect sense. If I hadn't have heard my mate's copy of "<insert debut single of now well known band>" then I wouldn't have immediately gone out and bought a copy, plus a ticket to see them and stayed with that band for years afterwards.

    "Piracy" is what they now call what used be simply "Social Marketing" ;-)

  11. shovelDriver

    Piracy (on the web) and Social Marketing

    Anyone who backtracks the IPs of certain "uploaders" could easily find that more than a few are the recording companies themselves.

    And there are those who upload only to create opportunities to issue threat letters claiming they will sue if you don't pay up immediately.

    Then, there are those who tell us that it would be a crime to target them, their companies and websites, with retribution (which the legal system says, when done by it, is "education").

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