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Study also finds streaming music doesn't cannibalize traditional sales

The EU's copyright commissioner, Maria Martin-Prat, was formerly a lawyer for the at International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the parent organization of the U.S.'s RIAA, Canada's CRIA, and Britain's BPI.  She once argued [PDF] that backups have "no reason to exist", and for years vigorously argued that piracy was killing traditional sales.  But ironically her own peers in the EU have just announced that government-funded research proved her and the IFPI wrong; traditional music sales don't suffer from piracy.

I. Pirates Download More Legal Music

The study was conducted using data on more than 16,000 European Union internet users.  Researchers at The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies -- a part of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre -- examined what the affect on a user's behavior by first removing the correlation of level interest in music, then comparing subjects with similar expressed level of interest in music who pirate, versus those who did not.

The results were intriguing.  The researchers write, "It seems that the majority of the music that is consumed illegally by the individuals in our sample would not have been purchased if illegal downloading websites were not available to them.  If this estimate is given a causal interpretation, it means that clicks on legal purchase websites would have been 2 percent lower in the absence of illegal downloading websites."
JRC79605 by torrentfreak

Legal streaming websites -- which the music industry has often attacked -- were found to have a "somewhat larger" complementary affect, increasing clicks on legal sites by 7 percent -- according to the correlation.

II. No Evidence Piracy is killing Music

The researchers say it is puzzling why the music industry is so obsessed with pursuing pirate punishments.  While they declined to make any specific policy recommendations, they conclude:

Taken at face value, our findings indicate that digital music piracy does not displace legal music purchases in digital format. This means that although there is trespassing of private property rights, there is unlikely to be much harm done on digital music revenues.
From that perspective, our findings suggest that digital music piracy should not be viewed as a growing concern for copyright holders in the digital era. In addition, our results indicate that new music consumption channels such as online streaming positively affect copyrights owners.

South Park
It appears piracy really is "not a big deal". [Image Source: South Park Studios]

Of course, correlation does not prove causation, but it appears that even the poorly evidenced claim that piracy is correlated to lower sales is thoroughly wrong.  Further, this is not the first work to show that.  A 2009 study by the UK government found filesharers to spent, on average, £77 ($126), versus a mere £44 for non-pirates ($72).  So much for piracy "killing music", eh?

Source: Scribd via TorrentFreak

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RE: Video Games
By Motoman on 3/25/2013 4:33:30 PM , Rating: 2
DRM is like the government stance on marijuana. It's an absolute farce, perpetuated primarily by the fact that they'd lose face if they ever admitted the entire thing was BS from the start.

Publishers can give out install codes if they want...require the disk in the drive if they want...fine. Neither of those is a big deal. But more invasive DRM measures are are limitations to the number of times you can install a game you bought, or requiring internet access for a game that categorically isn't an online game - like SimCity.

Not to mention the fact that roughly 1 in 5 Americans lives in a rural area, where there frequently just isn't any such thing as broadband internet. Publishers are tossing aside a potential 20% of their profits by forgetting that simple fact. Which is a problem for Steam too...and any other streaming/download-only services.

As for your notes about Skyrim - haven't played that, so I can't comment...but I watched that happen on World of Warcraft. Years ago you had to be pretty good with your character, and pay attention to a number of things in order to fulfill your role well. Then as time went by Blizzard slowly dumbed the game down, to where it's a Fisher-Price kind of thing now where any idiot who can mash buttons can be top DPS. Which is one reason why I stopped playing the game. The other reason being that I just don't have time to play games much anymore, and couldn't justify the $15 a month fee, when many months would go by and I didn't even log on. Star Trek Online, DC Universe, DDO, Age of Conan, LOTRO, etc. are all free, just as fun if not moreso than WoW, and I don't waste money when a month goes by and I didn't have time to play them.

Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with your exhortation to stop giving these publishers money. Ubisoft is a horrific offender, with their retarded uPlay thing. When I paid money for 2 copies of Heroes VI - one for myself, and one for my cousin as a gift - we're both lifelong hardcore HoMM fans, I was mystified as to why I couldn't play my new game. uPlay, a "utility" that comes with all Ubisoft titles, has to do various things on the internet to let you into your game. The first time, anyway...after which they generously allow you to play your offline know, offline.

The problem being that their uPlay thing is apparently broken with regards to cellular wifi internet. It won't register/update/whatever correctly from the start if you have wifi. "Oh, you know, all kinds of games and programs have problems with cellular wifi..." they will tell you. To which I replied "bullsh1t." Here's a list of all the games I have that require online access that don't have "problems" with wifi:

WoW, LOTRO, DDO, Star Trek, Age of Conan, DC Universe, Diablo III

...and I've downloaded/installed EVE Online and others over wifi as well without issue. And all of that to say nothing about the Cisco VPN and all the remote work I do, all day long, using various applications...none of which *ever* has had a "problem" with wifi.

But uPlay from Ubisoft? I literally had to disassemble my rig, take it to a friend's house where they had DSL, and let uPlay take the 1.5 seconds it needed to decide that it was OK to let me play my game. Then I brought my rig back home, and now I can play Heroes VI.

...except that I haven't. I went through so much BS with Ubisoft trying to get it to work in the first place, dealing with their absolutely braindead BS about "lots of things have problems with wifi" etc., that the entire game franchise is dead to me now. Ubisoft stole my joy. Oh, and that copy I bought for my cousin? Still here on my desk...after seeing what I went through, he wants no part of it.

So f%ck you Ubisoft. You go to hell. You go to hell and die. And I can guaran-damn-tee you that you are NEVER getting another dollar from me.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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