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The loss of LimeWire has P2P pirates on the run.  (Source: Walt Disney)
But are pirates turning to YouTube and elsewhere

The NPD Group, a top market analytics research firm has released a new study [press release] that might surprise some.  It claims that in 2010 the rate of users who pirate content on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks dropped to 9 percent, down drastically from 16 percent reported in 2007.  This marks a dramatic reversal of the trend of increasing piracy rates in recent years.

The report argues that piracy is not a "fundamental" problem for the media industry, given the relatively low levels.  This stands in stark contrast to statements in the Digital Media Report 2010 [PDF] by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the parent organization of America's RIAA.  The IFPI stated in the report, "[The industry will] struggle to survive unless we address the fundamental problem of piracy."

Warner Music, a RIAA member takes a bit more conservative approach.  In a recent presentation to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Warner suggested that only 13 percent of Americans pirate.  The Warner report also offers some disclaimers about the harmful impact of pirates, stating that most pirates do spend money on content and that they "tend to drive high discovery for others".

The numbers from the NPD Group are admittedly slanted, though, due to a significant event in the industry.  They were taken from the final quarter of 2010, when the RIAA scored a major lawsuit win that forced the U.S.'s most popular P2P client, LimeWire, to cease distribution.  Thus the dip in P2P filesharing may be only temporary, due to the loss of one of the highest profile clients.

States Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD, "Limewire was so popular for music file trading, and for so long, that its closure has had a powerful and immediate effect on the number of people downloading music files from peer-to-peer services and curtailed the amount being swapped. In the past, we've noted that hard-core peer-to-peer users would quickly move to other Web sites that offered illegal music file sharing. It will be interesting to see if services like Frostwire and Bittorrent take up the slack left by Limewire, or if peer-to-peer music downloaders instead move on to other modes of acquiring or listening to music."

Today, many of the most used clients are unofficial community releases of past P2P clients that were banned by lawsuits.  Examples include Kazaa Lite and WireShare (formerly LimeWire Pirate Edition), etc.  According to the NPD Group's data, FrostWire (traditional P2P) and uTorrent (Torrent P2P) increased in use, as well, in the wake of the Limewire shutdown.

While the study did consider BitTorrent traffic (a specialized P2P protocol), it did not consider new forms of illegal content distribution, such as one-click downloads, illegally streamed content, such as unauthorized posts to video sharing sites like YouTube.  The latter seems particularly prevalent, as you can go to YouTube and find virtually any song you can imagine -- mostly from unofficial user-submitted uploads (though the major label industry does maintain an official presence on the site via channels like Vevo).

Media organizations have tried unsuccessfully to sue YouTube's owner Google over such posts.  The television industry championed the biggest such case, when Viacom sued Google, demanding $1B USD in damages for pirated content hosted on YouTube.  The media giant's case fell apart, though, after it came out that Viacom employees uploaded content under fake screennames to make it look like infringed content.

The study also only surveyed those 13 and up.



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RE: Forget being a "fundamental" problem...
By adpr02 on 3/24/2011 10:02:48 AM , Rating: -1
Just because it's been "stated" before, even a "bajillion" times doesn't make it correct. Any studies backing your claims that you could link?


RE: Forget being a "fundamental" problem...
By snyper256 on 3/24/2011 10:11:23 AM , Rating: 5
It is correct, because people don't have infinite dollars to buy the content they're downloading.

I know a LOT of people who wouldn't even bother taking a second look at stuff if it wasn't available for free.


RE: Forget being a "fundamental" problem...
By GulWestfale on 3/24/2011 11:08:24 AM , Rating: 5
limewire was still around? i thought it had died years ago...

as for piracy:
my own books are not protected by a digital protection scheme, and here's why;
- it adds cost, which my honest customers have to pay
- it is NOT crack-proof, as no form of digital protection ever will be. it is a waste of money.
- i write books... to copy one, one would merely have to open it and type the words into a word editor. or scan it, or wtv. i have no idea why amazon even gives you the option of opting for 'protection'
- piracy is not the huge problem that content makers always make it out to be. charging more for CDs than audio tapes (even though the CD is cheaper to make), giving itunes artists only 7 cents per song and keeping the rest, quickly producing and then marketing the hell out of low-quality crap to cash in on a fad, etc etc those are problems.

for the artists, be they writers, musicians, actors, piracy is not really a huge deal. it only is a huge deal for content sellers, because they are realizing that the bottomless money well is running dry. the internet allows the producers of content to sell directly to their fans, cutting out the middleman, and the industry is scared to hell about that. so they tell their content makers that they will protect them from evil piracy if only they sign another record deal with them... this is all BS, but in a few years teh smart artists will all be selling directly to fans, not through the mafia-like industry channels.


RE: Forget being a "fundamental" problem...
By GulWestfale on 3/24/2011 11:10:10 AM , Rating: 2
ah, forgot the obligatory self-promoting link:
http://www.amazon.com/Sascha-von-Bornheim/e/B003Z6...


RE: Forget being a "fundamental" problem...
By Hyperion1400 on 3/24/2011 12:25:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
3 Questions for Sascha von Bornheim: Q: You can take one item with you to a deserted island. What is it? SvB: A boat. Q: Why? SvB: Well, it's an island. I assume it's surrounded by water. Q: You can't get off the island. The point of the question is to find out what you'd take with you if you had to stay there permanently. SvB: A gun. Q: You would shoot yourself? SvB: Evidently. I mean, the island is deserted. Who else am I going to shoot? Rick James? Oh wait, he's already dead. Now, I didn't know him personally, but I think the cocaine might have had something to do with it. It's a hell of a drug.


OMFG, that was totally worth the shameless pandering!


By GulWestfale on 3/24/2011 1:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
thanks! :)
like me on facebook if you want updates on my stuff:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sascha-von-Bornheim/...


By Jaybus on 3/24/2011 11:41:32 AM , Rating: 3
I have a hard time finding content that I would bother to watch if they did give it away for free. Since nothing is any longer watchable on cable TV due to commercials being aired every 5 minutes, I only watch streaming video from Netflix and the occasional new movie from Blockbuster. Money is not even an issue for me. The issue is that many months go by before they have a new movie that I am willing to spend my time on, regardless of price.

So, it is not all about money. If all content were put online for free downloading, I think we would find that a small percent is heavily downloaded, while the vast majority are hardly bothered with. Yet, they price them all the same. If it is truly a free market, rather than a carefully controlled monopoly/trust, then why does it cost the same to purchase Avatar as it does to purchase Furry Vengeance?


By deathwombat on 3/25/2011 12:09:03 PM , Rating: 3
It's called common sense.

I did a lot of pirating as a teenager, before I had a job or, ya know, any money. I can absolutely guarantee that I wouldn't have purchased any of that music because I couldn't afford it. And don't tell me that my mama would have given me the money, because she had to quit her job as a college professor to become a full-time, unpaid caregiver to my grandmother as her Alzheimer's progressed. When you're the sole provider for a family of three (including a teenager) and your only income is Welfare, there's not a lot of money for overpriced CDs. Thank God the RIAA didn't send her a demand for $5000 and put us on the street!

Then I grew up, got a job, and deleted my entire pirated MP3 collection from my hard drive for moral reasons. Guess how many of those songs I've paid for in the decade since then? 0! I don't pay for music because it's not worth anything to me. I only downloaded it in the first place because it was free! If it hadn't been free, I would have lived without it and just listened to the radio, like I do now.

It's just common sense that if something is worth money to you and you can afford it, you pay for it, and if it isn't worth money to you or you can't afford it, you download it for free without guilt. In either scenario, no revenue has been lost. Shut down every P2P site in the world and sales will be virtually unaffected. If I can't download it for free, I'll live without it like I did before.


"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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