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Suppressed Report Shows Pirates Are Good Customers

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the biting-the-hand-that-steals-from-you dept.

Piracy 291

An anonymous reader writes "The movie and music industry think pirates are criminals and parasites who cost both industries billions of dollars in lost sales. In order to prove this fact a number of studies have been commissioned to help demonstrate the effect a pirate has on sales of entertainment. GfK Group is one of the largest market research companies in the world and is often used by the movie industry to carry out research and studies into piracy. Talking to a source within GfK who wished to remain anonymous, Telepolis found that a recent study looking at pirates and their purchasing activities found them to be almost the complete opposite of the criminal parasites the entertainment industry want them to be. The study states that it is much more typical for a pirate to download an illegal copy of a movie to try it before purchasing. They are also found to purchase more DVDs than the average consumer, and they visit the movie theater more, especially for opening weekend releases which typically cost more to attend."

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291 comments

First to say (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829164)

The MPAA/RIAA lying about stats to justify unjust laws? Never.

Re:First to say (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829246)

To play devil's advocate, they didn't exactly lie here. This "GfK" just didn't publish a report that came to the opposite conclusions they were paid to reach. That's not quite "lying" and it's not quite the MPAA/RIAA. It's scummy, yeah, but at this point that much is a given when the RIAA/MPAA is involved.

They probably justified burying this report as "It doesn't prove that piracy is good. Think of how much MORE they'd pay back into the economy if they didn't pirate ANYTHING!!!" If they justified it at all beyond "I WANT MORE MONEY!!!!" that is.

And that's about all the devil-advocacy I'm going to do for the RIAA/MPAA for the rest of the year. Fuck those guys with a poisoned broom handle.

Re:First to say (5, Interesting)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829342)

I believe that's called a lie of omission... still perjury in a court of law.

Re:First to say (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829716)

What does perjury or court have to do with it? This was an unreleased document, I didn't see anything about this being used in court. If you're going to use legal terms that don't apply, why not say this would be treason (if music piracy, it's effects, and this report were a matter of national security.)

Re:First to say (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829968)

Are we really that dense slashdot? It didn't say "this is perjury" it gave an analogy of how serious some contexts consider lie of omission (specifically the context of a court of law). The original post was saying the act wasn't the same as lying and the response simply pointed out that in some contexts it is considered equivalent to a lie. I'm pretty sure it's time for you to pull out a Hitler analogy to prove you're point though so I'm sure I'm wasting my time trying to explain the use of logical constructs and analogy.

Re:First to say (1)

Sniper98G (1078397) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829972)

What does perjury or court have to do with it? This was an unreleased document, I didn't see anything about this being used in court. If you're going to use legal terms that don't apply, why not say this would be treason (if music piracy, it's effects, and this report were a matter of national security.)

I believe what was trying to be said here, is that in a place where they have strict rules about what constitutes a lie (A court of law) this would qualify.

Re:First to say (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829560)

It's a lie. "Not publishing a report" is still a lie. When you testify before congress that you are presenting facts revealed by studies and you omit anything that you want to conceal, it's perjury. "... to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth..." I'd say that's a violation of the oath they take prior to giving testimony to not at least make available ALL information collected as that fits within the "...the whole truth..." part of the swearing in.

I'd like to see a congressional investigation into the matter -- not that I expect one to happen -- just that I'd like to see one. And who knows, perhaps if some government scandal comes up, they will need "some distraction" to draw the public's attention away from themselves. This might be a good one though it might result in lower campaign contributions.

Re:First to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829610)

[...] they didn't exactly lie here.

"A half truth is a whole lie."

And... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829166)

They also lie on surveys about pirating and purchasing.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829232)

They also lie on surveys about pirating and purchasing.

You assume the study was done based on surveys alone.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829346)

You must be new here.

Re:And... (3, Interesting)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829586)

I 'played' mass effect before I purchased it, and it also garunteed me to buy the second one when it came out and I'm buying the third one. In my opinion, so far if someone can afford it and they actually enjoyed the game, they'll buy it. For the extra features, priestige of supporting the developer and online play. I'll admit when I was a child I had played a lot of games that I didn't purchase, because I had no money to do so with. Now a days I buy so many it's crazy, and even old ones I won't really play just for the nostalgia of it. I've SEEN all three original star wars, and I still bought a boxed set. You get the picture. I'd say it's safe to say a lot of pirates care more about content and quality, and refuse to crap money down the toliet on cheap gimmicks of no fun. I don't want to buy a game that takes 30 hours to complete and I get bored of it in the first hour.

Re:And... (2)

shermo (1284310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829966)

Similarly I played Diablo 2 without purchasing it for a couple of years. Subsequently I paid for my own WoW subscription for 4 years, and that of my girlfriend's for 3. That's got to be the best return on 'investment' ever.

Re:And... (0, Troll)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829678)

Shhh... just this once, /. would prefer to believe that correlation equals causation, and one point makes a line.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829970)

Correlation may not equal causation, but it does wink suggestively.

Evidence shouldn't be overlooked just because we can't see the path the neurons took.

short version - (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829888)

Consumers don't want to be suckered into buying a lemon. MAFIAA much rather that they do.

This should be evident when film industry sued to suppress negative film reviews on opening weekend, knowing that the suit will never hold water. They just wanted the negative reviews off line long enough to sucker a few more people into paying 12 bucks a head to waste a few hours of their lives in a theater.

No big deal (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829178)

When you can't deny the information any longer, you switch to discrediting it. Fighting truth is just a cost of business for the entertainment industry.

Re:No big deal (3, Interesting)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829712)

Forgive me, but I don't really understand the business model, though. If it's true that their own studies have shown that pirates are better customers, this would presumably indicate that allowing piracy would increase revenue. So if their goal is to maximize profit, why wouldn't they want to take this on board?

Re:No big deal (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829812)

Remember they are trying to maximise profit. Yes, they could simply try and provide the best product and get people to buy them, what they'd much rather do is keep a system where people can't try before they buy, ensuring them large profits from mediocre products, and ensuring their prices can remain higher than the should be.

Re:No big deal (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829822)

Their revenue is already on the rise. It's just that they want more control over all the channels, in order to maximize profit even more in the future. Plus, people trying something before buying it is not necessarily something they like.

Re:No big deal (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829868)

this would presumably indicate that allowing piracy would increase revenue.

Not necessarily, they could still be better costumers even without the possibility of piracy, and hence killing piracy could still raise profits.

But personally I bet that those organizations are afraid of losing control of the advertisement and distribution channels, which currently lets them force bands to sign with them. They don't want to have to compete with independent distribution systems that give a greater piece of the pie to the artist.

Re:No big deal (3, Insightful)

another_twilight (585366) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829886)

Control.

While I think a lot of the anti-piracy stance of the media groups is still driven by the assumption that piracy hurts sales, demonising pirates has turned into a great way to justify a kind of balkanisation of the market.

Regional restrictions allow them to sell the same product at the price that the local market will bear without diluting the higher markets with product sold in the lower.

Encryption and laws against circumventing it that are supposed to stop piracy also act to stop you buying one copy of something and then transcoding it to the form most useful to you.

Ultimately, the cost of distribution for purely digital material is drastically smaller than for physical items, but media companies are still claiming costs for breakages associated with LPs in the CD age. If they can blame 'pirates' then they don't have to let competition drive the price of a digital copy down to reflect the reduced cost of distribution.

It's oddly long-sighted of them. They have a monopoly and are fighting to keep it that way. This isn't about short term profit. It's about keeping control of the entire profit-making industry.

Re:No big deal (5, Informative)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829900)

Because if they can't keep their tight grip on our culture, they're done for. This group of middlemen stopped being useful over a decade ago. It's not piracy they're fighting, it's the market which is trying to get rid of unnecessary transaction costs. Piracy is just a ruse.

Let me be a customer (5, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829182)

I often download the first season of TV shows, and then buy the blu-ray of the rest - which I have to ship from a different continent because they won't sell them in my country. Well, they often don't air the TV shows here (in any channel), and of course web access is country restricted.

So I go out of my way to pay. If you still think I'm a pirate, fuck off.

Re:Let me be a customer (4, Interesting)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829284)

Likewise, many times when I have missed an episode of a TV show, I will download it.
I always forego the tv companies online "Catch Up" service as the quality of the streams are crap. Yet this is seen as me being an evil pirate by those in the industry.

Re:Let me be a customer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829740)

The industry needs to wake up and license these movies and televisions shows to anybody who wants to show them online and make it available in a non-hostile format. Wack a mole doesn't work terribly well and mostly just costs them money. It justifies the actions of pirates and let me be the one who says. I don't respect the copyright although I do respect peoples demand for money when they provide a service. That is to say I'll pay for the movies. I'll pay for the ridiculously expensive pop corn and soda. So long as I can afford it I have no issue here. I won't pay for content online generally speaking without good cause. There are avenues to generate revenue without charging and those whom do make it available have a crummy selection (yes- netflix, amazon prime, apple, and hulu). I can go to a pirate site and get a better selection of STREAMING content than if I go to a legit site. Not to mention I end up with multiple formats to chose from. Which does impact me. I'm not running MS Windows and I do care what the format is! I prefer freedom compatible formats.

Re:Let me be a customer (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36830212)

They didn't have the WB when Buffy was on and frankly hearing the description (a comedy horror based on a bad movie with a soap star and the Taster's Choice guy?) I would have NEVER bough so much as a single DVD but there was enough good word of mouth I said WTF and downloaded the first two episodes. I ended up hooked and now have the entire Joss Whedon collection, Angel, Buffy and Firefly with a couple of BtVS collectibles my late sister got me for bookends.

I probably spent a good $500 on that and I wouldn't have spent a dime if it weren't for piracy. Also after getting burned by several games where the damned things wouldn't run even when I was waaaay over the specs and finding the demo is usually the ONLY level they do real serious QA on (I'm looking at you Max Payne) I will always download the game first to make sure it will actually play before plunking the cash. If it doesn't? Bye bye. I want all the features like MP so I buy the ones that run that aren't shit (and I don't play shit so they don't even last as long as the demo on my drive).

So these figures really don't surprise me. It really doesn't take getting burned too many times before you want to try before you buy. No way to have a real trial? No sale for me. Sadly though I would argue that no matter what you do they'll claim piracy as their little PPTs say if they made X last year then they should make X*Y simply because they are just wonderful and geniuses.

Mark my words as piracy goes down thanks to plenty of online choices like Netflix when they see their sales don't suddenly spike and give them ever increasing profits? First they'll blame the darknets, it is a scary sounding word and they don't have to prove shit and it will let them ram more draconian BS laws through, then if they keep slipping they'll just have themselves declared "too big to fail" and take the money directly out of your pockets though bribery of congress critters.

Re:Let me be a customer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829354)

You're both a pirate and a consumer.

If you think you're just one of those, fuck off and make your own high quality entertainment...

Re:Let me be a customer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829428)

You're both a pirate and a consumer.

If you think you're just one of those, fuck off and make your own high quality entertainment...

Corporate shill. Educate yourself.

Re:Let me be a customer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830234)

Learn the difference between the law and your own morals before you tell people off.

Re:Let me be a customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829388)

True. I pirated series 1 and 2 of Primeval before BBCA even decided to pick it up from ITV because some of my British friends who liked Doctor Who also liked it (although not on the same level, on a more of "this is fun fluff with pretty people and dinosaurs!" level) and there was no other way to get it in the US.

And I also use "free, legal" online streaming as a "try before you buy" thing. I rarely just randomly start watching TV shows on TV any more - I'll watch the first season or two online, if I like it enough to think I ever might watch them again I'll buy them, if not I'll go looking for something else.

The thing is, most pirates are pretty big TV/movie/game fans, and all of them that I know personally would much rather have a nice hard disk that comes with lots of bonus features, that they easily could back up, and rip to everything they own, and loan to friends, if it's available for sale to them at a reasonable price.

Re:Let me be a customer (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829612)

Fair point, and one I've been a part of many times.
But to some extent we also should attempt to understand the nature of regional business, and why we have to find these workarounds, and justify to ourselves that it's "not bad". Despite our globalized 21st century world, the 19th-20th century nature of licensing (be it patents, copyright, or contract law) makes it very apparent that companies simply are not permitted to sell their product everywhere and to everyone. That's not our fault as consumers, and it's not as if companies want their inventory unsold on shelves when there is a global market waiting to be tapped. But to appease those licensees and export regulations, there are barriers to trade (ie. Amazon checking against Shipping addresses) and barriers to technology (ie. region locks on hardware), which affect us the potential customers in visible and frustrating ways. There are invisible ways as well.

It is simply a sad fact of commercialism that the means of bypassing those restrictions are no more "legitimate" just because we paid full price and feel good about it. And the easiest ways of bypassing also enable "free samples", hence why we're lumped in with the career pirates.

Despite what you believe your rights and local laws allow you to do, there is always a specific reason a company will not sell you something, even if it's simply a matter of losing more money than they expect to make. Someone somewhere has explicitly or implicitly decided that you can not have it. Which as any parent or teenager reading this will realize, only makes us want it more.

other fake 'information' proving fatal to us? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829212)

no gadgets required

should it not be considered that the domestic threats to all of us/our
freedoms be intervened on/removed, so we wouldn't be compelled to hide our
sentiments, &/or the truth, about ANYTHING, including the origins of the
hymenology council, & their sacred mission? with nothing left to hide,
there'd be room for so much more genuine quantifiable progress?

you call this 'weather'? much of our land masses are going under
water, or burning up, as we fail to consider anything at all that really
matters, as we've been instructed that we must maintain our silence (our
last valid right?), to continue our 'safety' from... mounting terror.

meanwhile, back at the raunch; there are exceptions? the unmentionable
sociopath weapons peddlers are thriving in these times of worldwide
sufferance? the royals? our self appointed murderous neogod rulers? all
better than ok, thank..... us. their stipends/egos/disguises are secure,
so we'll all be ok/not killed by mistaken changes in the MANufactured
'weather', or being one of the unchosen 'too many' of us, etc...?

truth telling & disarming are the only mathematically & spiritually
correct options. read the teepeeleaks etchings. see you there?

diaperleaks group worldwide. thanks for your increasing awareness?

Re:other fake 'information' proving fatal to us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829298)

I can has teh what you smoking?

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829216)

It's not about reality, it's about using the legal system as a tool to extort even more money out of them than they're already spending. Money left over for a car payment? How dare you!

Pirate? (2, Interesting)

pookemon (909195) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829234)

I guess it depends on which part of the piracy chain they are speaking too. Are they talking to the people who buy/borrow DVD/Blurays to rip and distribute them? The people that go to the latest release movies to video tape them? Sure, they are "good customers". Or are they talking to the people that download them from the forementioned "pirates" because they're sick of going to the movies to see something that costs a fortune, in an uncomfortable chair with no surround sound, half the picture off the screen and some annoying little shit kicking the back of their seat? Or perhaps they're talking about the kind of people that download them because they can't afford to buy the DVD, and rather than recording it off the TV they get a version off the net that is only different from the TV version because it doesn't have ads in it, though if they got the cable version it wouldn't have ads in it, so in reality there is actually no difference.

Re:Pirate? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829256)

Methinks you didn't read the summary as the title made you angry so you decided to try and write it yourself.

Correction (4, Interesting)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829244)

Did they correct for the amount of media consumed for each person? Of course someone who pirates 50% of all media they consume, yet consumes a large amount of media is going to purchase more than someone who consumes far less.

Re:Correction (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829326)

And this matters... why?

Someone who goes to see 1 movie/year, and purchases 1 DVD/year vs. someone who pirates 50 movies/year and goes to see 25/year and buys 25 DVDs/year. No matter how you correct for the person who consumes less, the "pirate" who downloads 50% illegally is 25 times more gross revenue for them.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829400)

The question raised by GP is very very important, and is what I was going to post in here. If you compare a pirate (who, by definition, is a media consumer) to the "average" person, of course you'll find that the pirate spends more on media, because they are consumers! Not everyone is a consumer. The point most slashdotters are (wrongly) trying to make here is that pirating itself is a good thing for movie/record companies. The reality is that it isn't. Correlation is not causation.

Re:Correction (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829496)

How is it not a good thing?
They did not lose anything for that material that was pirated and going after the pirate might cost them the money he spends on legal entertainment.

Re:Correction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829734)

But they did lose something. This line has become a joke because of how often it's stated, but it's still true--had they not pirated it, they very well may have purchased it. Not every time. Not every movie. But there is an opportunity cost that is indeed lost, and ultimately it's the honest consumers who are screwed over by pirates. Someone spent money, time, and creativity making that movie/song. You aren't entitled to get it for free just because you can copy it for free. They set the price, and if you want it, you meet the terms of the content owner. If your argument is that getting a preview of something might entice you to buy it, then argue that. Listen to the radio. Watch Vevo YouTube music videos. But don't make that argument about movies.

Re:Correction (1)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829918)

Watch Vevo YouTube music videos.

I specifically avoid VEVO because of how they've mucked with the player.. Youtube is a STREAMING service, but VEVO effectively removes that streaming capability.

You can't just load a VEVO video, let it buffer, and watch it when it's ready. It only streams while it's playing. If I don't have all of my (1mbit) line open, I can't watch it. AT ALL. If I want to watch the video again, it won't just play from the already-buffered download.. it has to start ALL OVER.

Screw VEVO. I refuse to watch any video uploaded by them.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830434)

install FlashGot => start playing video => right click on page => FlashGot Media

there, it's saved to your hard drive

Re:Correction (2)

dslauson (914147) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829498)

Disagree. Nobody is saying that their piracy "causes" them to pay for more media. However, regardless of the causal relationship, this correlation serves as refutation of the image of a pirate as a freeloading, non-contributing jerk. Statistically, they are buying things. In fact, more than the average person.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829540)

You can't actually do that without a proper experiment, which is kind of tricky to do in this sort of thing. The best you can say is that the distribution of 'pirate' expenditures on media is skewed more towards the high end than the expenditures of the general population.

Re:Correction (2)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829538)

As someone who consumes very little media, and I mean VERY LITTLE. I wonder if by having a large quantity of media readily available for pirating doesn't actually encourage the habit of consumption. I know that often my media purchases (almost exclusively CDs and books) almost always follow an influx of new media loaned or given to me by a friend. I'll listen to some new music and think "this is good stuff" and frequently go out and purchase a few cd's or a couple books as a result, usually tangentially related, sometimes not
            I'm not saying that I purchase what was loaned to me I don't. Those poor starving artists usually get nothing from me. What I am saying is that fresh media tends to wet my appetite for more fresh media, and that if I'm in the mood for something new I usually don't hesitate to purchase it.

        In other words If it were not for books and CD's traded about I probably wouldn't purchase ANY media, other than what was necessary. For me I am quite certain that the amount of "free samples" that pass my way is directly correlated to the amount of impulsive shopping I do. Granted if I had access to all media known to man in high quality for free I wouldn't ever purchase any of it.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829728)

Did they correct for the amount of media consumed for each person? Of course someone who pirates 50% of all media they consume, yet consumes a large amount of media is going to purchase more than someone who consumes far less.

Well, yeah. As the other replies pretty much said, this is the implication of the study.

I download films *very* rarely and even then usually only out of curiosity... because I'm not much into films. Ditto Bittorrenting TV series like Lost and Glee that lots of other people seem to be excited about catching the latest episodes of. I didn't even give a toss about them when they were showing them on terrestrial TV, so I'm not going to bother pirating them.

For the same reason, I've hardly bought any movie DVDs in the past 5 years, and very few TV ones. I don't own a Blu-Ray player because I'm totally "meh" about films.

So... am I the movie industry's ideal consumer because my level of piracy is low in both relative and absolute terms- because I can't be bothered pirating their glossily polished turds? Or is the guy that torrents loads of stuff but also forks out his fanboy dollars for the same fodder. Well, it's obvious who they're making more money from, and that's all they're interested in, so you do the maths.

Hardly Surprising (3, Insightful)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829248)

People who torrent lots of media tend to enjoy being consumers of media. Many want to support artists but love the convenience P2P gives them, so they utilize it to try products and then support the artists they think deserve funds by purchasing DVDs/CDs/Games, or they simply want a physical copy as a result of wanting to collect things.

I'm not discounting that some pirates are purely leeches however. There's no reason to believe that all pirates are so generous, just that it makes pretty good sense that a majority are willing to pay for quality entertainment. Hell, I've purchased each volume of MegaTokyo religiously since picking up the first one randomly in a bookstore, regardless of the fact that the comics are all available for free online (And not illegally either).

Re:Hardly Surprising (4, Interesting)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829314)

I consume shitloads of media.

If things were more reasonably priced, I'd probably buy everything I wanted. As it is I need to guarantee its not crap before I buy it.

At $10 per DVD, I'd buy everything. At the $25+ per DVD that I have to pay for most things I end up downloading the stuff then buying copies when they go down into my price range.

I have probably in excess of 1,000 movies and maybe 20 full tv series downloaded. Of those I own about 600 movies and 18 of the 20 tv series.

So yes, I pirate, a lot. However at the same time I'm one of the best customers the media industry has.

Re:Hardly Surprising (1)

Miststlkr (593325) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829682)

I'd say this sounds about right for me and several of my friends. Price is a detriment, and frankly the convenience of having them all on a media server hooked up to the TV with a decent frontend to navigate it all is worth something too. DVDs on my bookshelf collecting dust, cases of CDs in a storage shed, and an HTPC on the entertainment center being used daily.

Re:Hardly Surprising (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 2 years ago | (#36830050)

Hear, hear. I don't pirate games, but this is exactly my experience with Steam. Anything that costs $30+, goes on my wishlist, and I think long and hard before buying it, I read reviews, play the free demo etc. For $15-$30, I'll still play the demo and maybe read a review or two. For $15 or less? Check out the trailer and if it looks like something I'll enjoy, I'll get it. Everyone has a price at which they say, "what the hell" and just grab it on the off-chance, like an impulse buy at the supermarket*. And if it's a game that I want, on sale at <$15, fuhgeddaboudit.

*In fact I did exactly that with a Wii game once at the supermarket. It was a standard C+ party-games compilation but it cost less than the bottle of wine in my basket. (I wouldn't be surprised if the price someone's willing to spend on a bottle of wine is actually a good rule of thumb for finding their game/dvd impulse-buying sweetspot.)

Re:Hardly Surprising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830174)

Point of order: You don't "own" anything except a bit of plastic and foil, the bits burned into the foil's surface are not what you purchased but merely have a license to extract in the particular order that they were burned in with a very specific set of restrictions. You didn't "buy" anything but a license. You don't "own" any movies but some cheap plastic which you would have to commit a crime to move the movie to your computer if it weren't for USA & Israel having fair use clauses.

Music for Me (2)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829288)

I download a ton of stuff (the full-evaluation copy, my friend called it), but if I like it, I buy the CD. I'm pushing 4,000 right now, and I can't imagine I'd have a fifth that if I had to buy before listening. Digital distribution's made it so easy to try 20 different bands in one listening session, so expecting people to just shell out money in the faith that the product will be to their liking seems so... antiquated.

half agree (2, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829302)

"The movie and music industry think pirates are criminals and parasites who cost both industries billions of dollars in lost sales.

No, and yes.

They aren't the idiots that they play themselves to be, that are blindly trying to sue everyone and don't understand how things should work. They are completely aware of the situation, and understand that they are playing the game in the most profitable way possible, and have absolutely no reason to change their ways.

But yes they do recognize pirates (and customers, and little green men, and everyone else on and off the planet) as a threat to their bottom line, and will take any action they can find that will further to maximize their profit. Be it legal or illegal, moral or immoral, sensible or nonsense. They'll run the numbers and follow the compass to the $outh, past whatever it leads them through.

Can't blame them really. They're experts at their job, and I'm sure their shareholders would agree, they're doing quite well at their job. (otherwise they'd have been fired long ago)

Re:half agree (5, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829488)

Can't blame them really. They're experts at their job, and I'm sure their shareholders would agree, they're doing quite well at their job.

They hell I can't! If they were robotic automatons that were preprogrammed with the single goal of generating a metric fuckton of profit for their shareholders and that were lacking the free will to reevaluate their values, then you would be correct, I couldn't blame them.

However, the record companies are not run by robotic automatons. They are run by humans and, quite frankly, as human beings, they should have the cognitive capacity to understand complex mental abstractions such as morality, healthy social balance, empathy, and temperance. Trying to earn a profit is not a morally corrupt quest. Trying to earn a profit at the expense and livlihood of your fellow human beings, and at the disruption of the society that you, yourself, are part of is downright stupid, if not flagrantly evil.

So you bet your ass I can and will blame these lying, piss-poor pieces of shit that were raised with such a moral apathy that they hardly even resemble a shell of what a thinking, intelligent, contributing member of this species is.

You may think it is okay to be an apologist for sociopaths, but I, personally, hold my fellow human beings to higher standards than that if they are going to continue calling themselves human.

Try before you buy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829344)

I'd say 80% of the CDs I've bought were purchased after listening to several tracks on YouTube, and I'd never have known about the artists without that exposure. I own a ton of video games and the majority of them were purchases made after rental or borrowing from friends.

I don't agree with piracy, but I definitely think that sampling something leads to more purchases being made. This study makes perfect sense and should never have been suppressed.

Re:Try before you buy (-1, Flamebait)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829490)

That's not the idea Slashdot tries to put out, though. According to them, all piracy is good, and there's a war between heroic culture hackers and evil, faceless corporate lobbies.

Conveniently, the artists who aren't getting paid are left out of that equation, because they're a reminder that piracy has a negative effect, which dismantles the ideology that pirates are the good guys.

Hell, just for posting this, I'll probably get modded down. Anti-piracy viewpoints are typically not welcome here.

Re:Try before you buy (3, Insightful)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829686)

No, but you may get modded down for excessive use of hyperbole in a public place. Who is this Slashdot you speak of?

Piracy does affect artists, but then so do the dubious actions of record companies. It's difficult to appreciate an impact though on artists when their slice of music sales is typically so low that record deals become more about trying to build enough popularity to earn enough from merchandise and touring. Piracy hurts artists, but it hurts everyone else in the chain far more. Unlike this curious Mr. Slashdot I don't think that all piracy is good. I instead opt to buy far fewer discs than I did in the past. DRM fucks up my ability to enjoy the content I buy, and money given is being used against me in the belief that I am by default a criminal. I'd rather buy from indies and go gigging. If I buy a DVD I cant rip then it's returned as faulty to the store.

You're flamebait, and also a dick for playing the martyr to the mods card. Despite appearances to the contrary, it's dicks that are not welcome here.

Re:Try before you buy (3, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829700)

Conveniently, the artists who aren't getting paid are left out of that equation, because they're a reminder that piracy has a negative effect, which dismantles the ideology that pirates are the good guys.

Which part of "people that pirate spend more on media" leads you to believe that piracy has a negative effect?

Are you suggesting that the extra revenue generated from pirates isn't reaching the artists? I'm not sure that would be attributable to the pirates, in their role of consumers.

Shit, you'll get modded down because you're spouting illogical bullshit, and that's something the Slashdot community picks up on, not because you're anti-piracy. Many people on Slashdot dislike freeloaders; it just happens that many more recognise the reality that there isn't a binary situation here, and that (as recognised in the survey) people that consume more media will pay more for it, even if they don't pay for all of it.

Some Notes (3, Interesting)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829402)

We know from other data that music sales (http://www.businessinsider.com/these-charts-explain-the-real-death-of-the-music-industry-2011-2) and DVD/BlueRay sales (*see below) are down. When adjusted for inflation and population growth, Box office revenues are down around 15% compared to 10 years ago.

It's also worth pointing out that saying, "pirates buy more than the average consumer" is not actually an argument for piracy, since pirates tend to be disproportionately from a class of people who were originally big fans. Thus, it's possible that "big fans" who start using piracy end up buying 1/2 as much as they used to, but still out-buy the "average consumer" who was never all that interested. (For example, I don't pirate and I own zero DVDs or BluRay disks, which makes it easy for pirates to buy more than me.)

* "Total revenue from DVD, Blu-ray and digital sales and rentals of movies and television shows in the U.S. declined 3% to $18.8 billion in 2010, according to new data from industry trade organization Digital Entertainment Group. Although the drops, particularly of DVD sales, are worrisome for the entertainment industry, studio executives can at least take some comfort in the fact that the picture isn't worsening as quickly as it did in 2009, when total home entertainment revenue plunged 7.6%."
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/01/home-entertainment-market-shrinking-slower-as-blu-ray-and-digital-make-up-for-more-of-dvd-decline.html [latimes.com]

Re:Some Notes (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829530)

Maybe the economy has more to do with that then piracy. Also legal methods of watching movies as well. I don't buy movies now that I have netflix unless I really love them. In the past I did not buy many movies, certainly less than I spend on netflix. This means while I might be spending less on DVDs I am spending more on entertainment.

Re:Some Notes (2)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829736)

Maybe the economy has more to do with that then piracy.

I think you hit the nail on the head there.

I don't get it. It's like the MAFIAA thinks that an economic downturn is not allowed to affect them or something. Wake up, people! You provide entertainment services. That is a frill, not a necessity. If people have to choose between gas for the car or clothes for their kids and buying the newest (or even pre-owned) movie you're trying to milk for moar profitz, guess which one they'll choose?

Overall, it seems to me that the entertainment industry has been hit with a softer stick than other areas of the economy. At least they're not looking for an official bailout package yet, although I suppose the income from their nuisance lawsuits is tiding them over...

Re:Some Notes (2)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829798)

To add to h4rr4r's insightful comment, people have spent a few years building a DVD collection. Many of my purchases have been films from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. I now own those films, so no, I'm not going to buy them again. I'm only going to buy more recent films. I imagine many people are in this situation.

The other factor is the quality of the output. Hollywood really does create a very large volume of very low quality work. Not only do people prefer to avoid paying for shit, but it's discouraging to attend the cinema at great expense when you're not sure whether the film will be any good or not.

I suspect people are also wising up to the marketing practices of the media companies. I want to buy Black Swan on DVD. I think it's a great film - probably the best of the last decade - and I intend to watch it many times. But the Bluray version has additional material on it that the DVD lacks.

I know this. It's an arbitrary decision. I also know that if I wait patiently, I'll be able to eventually buy a DVD with that extra material on. So the producers have deferred a DVD sale. Similarly I'm waiting for Kill Bill to come out with the extra material and versions released in Japan and other territories. I will eventually buy them, but it'll be at a discounted price and they're not getting that revenue now.

(Computer games are even worse than this - I know any game released this year will within 3 years be released on Steam with all its DLC at a heavily discounted price. I have every Dawn of War and Company of Heroes game released by Relic except Dawn of War II: Retribution. To buy that game and all its DLC right now would cost £57; I know it'll be a great game, I really want to play it, and I have enough games to play for a few months longer to wait for the Platinum Gold Game of the Year Complete Special Edition to be released for £30 and then the couple of months longer than that for it to get a substantial discount.)

No piracy, drop in revenues..

Re:Some Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829854)

I think saying that the revenues are down is related to piracy is a flawed argument.

The issue is that that are all in the entertainment industry. They aren't competing with other movies, but every form of entertainment out there. Once you realise the competition includes podcasts (video and audio) books (book sales on kindle etc are rising), live entertainment etc...

I bet 100% that the shortfalls that the movie and music are experiencing can be found in podcasts and other entertainment forms.

Re:Some Notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830272)

I think factoring in the dollars spent in other venues of entertainment are more to blame for drops in physical media purchases and trips to the movie theater. More channels available on cable coupled with DVRs that hold 25,000 hours of media. More online streaming. More content to consume online for free.
There only so many hours in the day that I can consume media. More and more I'm finding 90% or more of new media is recycled crap or just poorly executed.

"It's the internet stupid" (2)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 2 years ago | (#36830498)

The MAFIAA are seeing their revenue drop because they are no longer the gate keepers to popular entertainment. Instead of buying CD's of artists signed to members of the RIAA, people can buy songs from tens of thousands of other artists who would never get signed by the big studios. Instead of watching a movie people are watching YouTube videos, chatting via social media, or playing games.

The reason the MAFIAA want to lock down the Internet and PC's isn't to stop piracy, it is to get back their position as gatekeepers of popular entertainment. How can they keep tricking artists into signing contracts that will see the artist get cents on the dollar, if the artist can simply market themselves via the Internet?

It is like Microsoft getting money for every Android device sold. If you can't compete get the government to hand you monopoly rent.

Justification (1, Troll)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829404)

Spending lots of money doesn't justify a criminal act.

Its like saying 'its OK for me to steal a car because I spend lots of money on petrol'.

I appreciate that the analogy is not perfect as the petrol companies don't sell cars, but there are a lot of different companies in the media industry too.

Re:Justification (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829706)

Downloading digital copies of movies and games is not illegal in Canada (and probably other countries as well). Distribution is still a tort, not a crime. It is only recently in the USA that either has become a crime. It became a crime because the mega-rich media lobby convinced some clueless politicians that it was the only way to keep the gravy train going. And, because USians are about the stupidest people on Earth, the clueless politicians rammed the law down everyone's throat. Your analogy is not only not perfect, it's an example of the clueless idiocy that propagates myths about piracy.

Re:Justification (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829974)

Only dumb people use the Law as a replacement for their own moral code. I only need to justify criminal acts when I'm before a court.

Re:Justification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830068)

Spending lots of money doesn't justify a criminal act.

Since when?

Piracy probably mostly affects bad movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829406)

Piracy probably puts a netable, measurable ding in "possible" sales and rentals of Hollywood's latest made-in-a-minute huge budget Romantic Comedies, Buddy Cop flicks and other such garbage. I'm also guessing that, much like Microsoft and their problem with overcharging chinese people for copies of Windows, they are mad at people in less economically solvent countries pirating their movies as well. People who like content will pay what they can when they can. If they really love something they will have it in their heart to support it if they can.

This is nothing new (5, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829440)

A while back I came across a copy of Modern Recording magazine (this was a trade magazine aimed at people who worked in recording studios) from 1981 and there was an article about "piracy" of music. In those days there were no personal computers or internet. The villain, according to the record companies, was the cassette tape recorder. People were borrowing albums from their friends and making a copy on cassette tape. So the RIAA commissioned a study that they hoped to take to the government and get some sort of law passed to halt this terrible crime (much like the MPAA tried to stop the VCR).

According ot the article, the RIAA study was shelved and never widely distributed because it revealed -- surprise -- that people who owned cassette tape decks bought an average of 75% more albums that people who didn't own any recording equipment.

Re:This is nothing new (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829702)

So the RIAA commissioned a study that they hoped to take to the government and get some sort of law passed to halt this terrible crime (much like the MPAA tried to stop the VCR).

Sadly AFAIK no quotables came out of the RIAA's work to match Valenti's over-the-top offensive "Boston Strangler" line.

Pirate and Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829462)

I torrent and use Netflix. Both are reasonably priced.

So what we are saying here is.. (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829600)

That the people that pirates are usually the people that consider viewing the media their hobby. I.E gamers, movie fans and music fans and not the average Joe. That would make sense to me.

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829630)

... veing a good customer doesn't put a person above the law.

I live these studies (3, Interesting)

slash-doubter (1093233) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829738)

I never went to concerts or bought records until I started pirating music. I never bought textbooks for pleasure reading until I pirated textbooks. I never bought art creation programs, before pirating them all and finding the ones that suited me. I also never went sailing before I started pirating, but I don't think there is a correlation there. I wouldn't have to pirate if there was some sane trial and advertising didn't lie. As is, pirating is the only thing that allows me to make an informed use of my very limited financial resources. A disproportionate amount of which goes to the people I "stole" from.

Re:I live these studies (0)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829856)

There are ways for you to legally listen to music before buying it. Most bands I listen to have official music videos on youtube. There are previews on iTunes and Amazon mp3. There's the radio. There's Pandora. Stop stealing and start contributing to society. We don't need leeches. As horrible as you think record companies are, the band/artist you're trying to listen to chose to sign with them, and you should respect that.

Re:I live these studies (2)

slash-doubter (1093233) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829922)

According to TFA, I contribute more to society than you :P. (If giving money to record companies is a measure of societal contribution as you imply).

Re:I live these studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830520)

Previewing also generates money for the services used to hear them through market research.

I am not alone in my dislike of creating account #n+1. This alone would remove any interest in using iTunes or Amazon or Pandora. Radio does not play most music anyways, and if they do play something you want to hear, it will be on their time and not the listener. Is there a radio DAR (Digital Audio Recorder) that they would not block from the market if they could? The all round best option would be to go to a local music store and listen to the sample tracks hoping they have something you are interested in listening too.

On top of all this there is the availability of the tracks. Personally, I'm far more interested in soundtracks from foreign shows and games than the one-hit-wonder of rehashed group #m+1. I'm interested in getting tracks from shows or games they didn't even release an official sound track for, what should I do in that case? Shrug my shoulders and forget about that desire?

I know that maybe a small sliver of the market, but being a private individual, I'd rather not give more than I have to even at the cost of hindering their market research.

Back when I was younger.... (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829826)

I pirated Wing Commander I. I ended up buying WC2-5, Privateer 1 and even Privateer: The Darkening (not a good game). For me, piracy made me a customer of the Wing Commander games.

And let's not talk about Civilization. I've should have never pirated that game, so many sleepless nights because I just had to play "one more turn." I just bought Civ 5 and haven't even loaded up the game.

Color me skeptical (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36829832)

Lets see...

A person, who cannot be named, says there is a study, that no one has seen, that claims very detailed knowledge about the behavior of people who steal movies....

I find myself asking how one could do a study to verify this claim (from an unknown person about an unseen report). One would have to be able to:

1) Identify a person who has stolen a movie (not just who, but when)
2) Identify a person who has purchased a movie (who and when)
3) Identify a person who has gone to a movie (who and maybe when)

And then be able to correlate these disseperate by the person's identity in order to make these claims.

I know that when I buy tickets for a movie, I do not have to provide identification, so I am unsure how one even gathers the identity information for #3. Maybe if I pay with a credit card (which I do not always do) and no one else has my name (which I know is not true). Even if I did pay for movie tickets with a credit card, I would be surprised if my purchasing behavior on my credit card is available to someone else (would seem to violate some basic privacy terms on my credit card information).

Same issues apply to #2, how do they get the information about how is purchasing movies and when?

And if they can get the information for #1 for a large number of people (again, color me skeptical) why isn't are the RIAA people not suing even more people?

So it seems like I cannot imagine how someone could do a study to get this information, and without this information I do not see how one could draw the conclusions that this anonymous person claims are in this unseen report...

they are also smarter customers. (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829916)

a lot of the money mpaa and software companies earn, with a lesser extent riaa is through 'gotcha' marketing. hyping a product, advertising it, paying for glowing reviews of it. to simply trick the consumer into buying it or going to see it. You see, when you buy a software package at many retail stores(not websites) or if you go to see a movie at a theater. part of the cost of your ticket or the product goes to the film producer or software publisher. BUT if you demand a refund of your ticket, or return the product the money you get back is not the same you gave them. that money has already gone to said people, your refund money comes out of the profits of the theater or the big box store. This is why those places put so many restrictions in place for doing such things.
the movie producer companies or the software publishers don't care though, they already got your money wither you demand a refund for a horrible movie exp or horrible piece of software. A customer who pirates is not effected by such underhanded but legal tactics, they have seen that hyped turd of a movie before word of mouth tells people to stay away despite the glowing paid movie reviews and commercials with cherry picked quotes. They might even go as far as to help others from being gypped. Similar with software in general and games specifically.

techies = pirates? (1)

abolith (204863) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829934)

I admit I'm a pirate.. Less so these days cause I'm too busy but I am still one. I also go to the movies more than my entire family put together. Maybe it has to do more with people who are into tech tend to be pirates more than "normal" people and tech people tend to go to the movies and buy music more? Course I could just be seeing patterns where there are none.

Either way it's going to be used as skew. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36829962)

Yes, the argument that pirates buy a lot as well as downloading makes them 'good' customers is inherently flawed.

If we presume good customer to mean one who spends the most possible, then we have to ask this question: Are pirates buying more than they would have, or less? The kneejerk reaction the studios have is 'they are buying less than they would have, as they would have bought the items they are pirating' - the response from the other camp is 'more, because the pirates are trying new stuff they then go on to buy, they become bigger consumers and so buy more, etc...'.

The reality is the study doesn't tell us either of these things, it just tells us that pirates, on average, consume more media than other people, which makes sense, as people don't just start pirating for no reason.

I would weigh in on the side of piracy being a good thing for the industry in the end. The main groups of pirates are young people with little money availible, pirating because otherwise they wouldn't get the product - here the industry isn't loosing sales, but is generating future customers, and creating more buzz and knowledge about the products and consumers who want to try before they buy, who would often not buy products, but due to piracy get the chance to try a product and enjoy it, encouraging them to buy it.

The industry won't like this because it encourages good media and punishes bad media - the industry likes being able to create a marketing buzz and still rake in money on poor products.

I'm not saying that there won't be some loss of sales due to piracy, but I think the reality is it'll generate more in consumer interest and purchases in the end, if done right. The reality is people are now not buying due to horrible DRM, poor methods of getting the product to the consumer. How many people who used to pirate games just hop on with Good Old Games and Steam? How many people who used to pirate songs now subscribe to spotify? How many of those people then go on to buy new games in the franchise, to purchase albums and go to gigs? Piracy works because it's easy and doesn't cost the user. If the industry makes it easier and keeps the price at a good level, consumers will pay hapily, and there will be huge bonuses in marketing and user satisfaction.

Stands to reason: If they are motivated enough to (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 2 years ago | (#36830094)

pirate, they are motivated enough to buy. I know I can get tons of free stuff off the internet but I don't care enough to bother. Almost all mainstream music, video, movies, novels, etc, are completely worthless. If I had to spend time trying to find it, I'm literally wasting my time.

Internet Shoplifters (0)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36830306)

Why is it that there are still people trying to tell us who don't steal,those who DO steal are not really that bad. There not pirates they are Internet shoplifters. I mean how brave do you have to be to steal stuff on the Internet? Calling them Pirates is really an insult to the real pirates i would think.

pirate for life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830322)

always have been always will be.

i don't spend money on a product that is defective or that i'm not happy with.

if you want people to buy your stuff you should probably make sure it's not terrible.

Doesn't match my experience (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#36830504)

I find this surprising because I know about 20 or so people who regularly pirate videos and they rarely if ever go back and buy the DVD. Why would they when they already have the illegal copy on their media center. What this study says is that most of the people who pirate do not match the profile of the vast majority of people who pirate that I happen to know.
The pirates i know are in the 30 to 50 age range, and make enough money to buy lots of fancy audio video equipment and media centers, but for some reason can't afford to actually buy the movies to watch, Or at least not in the quantity they prefer to consume. So they maintain a media center at work, and whenever one person buy or more commonly rents a movie, they take it to work and rip it, and all the other people take it home on thumb drives to upload to their media servers.
I choose not to partake of this system, because it seems dishonest. Instead, if I can't afford to consume the amount of media that i would like to consume, then I just do without.

And I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36830510)

Pirate everything. Don't spend money on any of it. Don't make enough. They should take a pay cut if they want me to buy it. Yardi har har motherfuckers!

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