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Researchers Find Megaupload Shutdown Hurt Box Office Revenues

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the free-preview dept.

Movies 203

An anonymous reader writes "We've heard this one before, over and over again: pirates are the biggest spenders. It therefore shouldn't surprise too many people to learn that shutting down Megaupload earlier this year had a negative effect on box office revenues. The latest finding comes from a paper titled: 'Piracy and Movie Revenues: Evidence from Megaupload.'"

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203 comments

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Does it or does it not (0, Flamebait)

Jakkas (2781167) | about 2 years ago | (#42087965)

If Megaupload did hurt box office sales, then they obviously hosted lots of pirated material. This is against how the pirates are saying that Megaupload was mostly used for non-piracy related files. So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

Re:Does it or does it not (4, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42088083)

So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

Who cares? The only thing that matters is how to protect the internet from those who interfere. It far to easy to knock people offline, and that's what needs to be stopped.

Re:Does it or does it not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088939)

It doesn't matter if they hosted the content, the file belonged to the up loaders. Maybe a protest where on a certain date or time, everyone used all forms of communication to sing happy birthday to each other. Then sue all of the carriers for copyright infringement and racketeering.

Re:Does it or does it not (4, Funny)

egamma (572162) | about 2 years ago | (#42089181)

So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

Who cares? The only thing that matters is how to protect the internet from those who interfere. It far to easy to knock people offline, and that's what needs to be stopped.

I agree. Spammers and bot-herders should be free to host their command-and-control centers without the inconvenience of setting up redundant infrastructure.

Re:Does it or does it not (1, Flamebait)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42089293)

Or, you know, somebody could develop a secure operating system that's not so easily compromised, but where's the money in that, eh? You can't secure a network with takedowns, which serve no purpose outside of censorship.

Re:Does it or does it not (5, Insightful)

geekboybt (866398) | about 2 years ago | (#42088093)

There's only a small, finite number of movies in theaters at any one time - the article mentioned 1344. If each one were hosted once, that'd be 1344 files. Meanwhile, MegaUpload was hosting files numbering many orders of magnitude beyond that. Therefore, it's possible that both are correct - most files were not piracy related, but there were some that did, and they may have had an effect on the market.

Re:Does it or does it not (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | about 2 years ago | (#42088519)

Box office != to Movies sold.
Simple fact of invalid comparison.
Although I think pirates are most likely going to be movie fans that enjoy watching more movies then they can actually afford.
So even though the article is flawed I don't necessary disagree with it... just about how they formulate their conclusion.

Re:Does it or does it not (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42088607)

Movies still in the theater aren't sold for a long time. Logically, if someone DLs a movie and likes it enought to see it in the theater, he's going to buy it when it comes out on blu-ray.

The "article" was an abstract from the study, I saw no flaws. "We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenues." What was flawed?

Re:Does it or does it not (4, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 years ago | (#42088829)

"We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenue" This is in the abstract! nothing to see here, just fodder for pirates who want some legitimacy. Advice to pirates: don't read the abstract and you'll feel better about it.

Re:Does it or does it not (4, Interesting)

theArtificial (613980) | about 2 years ago | (#42088593)

There's only a small, finite number of movies in theaters at any one time - the article mentioned 1344. If each one were hosted once, that'd be 1344 files.

You're close. To those not aware movies and other large files frequently encountered from the scene are stored in archives (usually archives within archives) which range in size from 2,5,10,25,50,75,100+ megs for parity and convenience. If you'd like some sources for this peruse a tracker website sometime, do so with adblock at the very least. That being said, a single movie may have anywhere from 7 for the CDR sized DIVX encodes to close to 100 pieces for the 1080p variety, with the larger pieced out files typically encountered on the Megauploads of the world. On top of that there are different release groups, let's estimate that at about 5 for commonly accessible popular releases. There are many more than that especially if you include one off releases by non affiliated individuals like "MrMovieMagic Brave 720p", and then multiple releases of the same movie for different regions (English, Deutsch, Finnish, Russian, Spanish) etc. Remember this is loosely about 'cred'. Shifting the focus from encoded movies to DVD ISOs, music, software (think multigigabyte Autodesk or Adobe products, games etc.), ebooks, and you can imagine there is a lot of duplication involved. I'm not sure if you've done any work with version control, but I imagine the duplication of content on Megaupload in essence to be very similar to that of revision iterations. Oh look, another release due to encoding errors, random mislabeled files (you think that's %Language% you're getting, muhahaha), password protected junk (visit my site yo!), and down the rabbit hole it goes.

Therefore, it's possible that both are correct - most files were not piracy related, but there were some that did, and they may have had an effect on the market.

Or the crazy idea that free advertising works. Not that I think that is exactly what this is (many of these people have no intention of buying, ever.)

SO what? (2, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 years ago | (#42089389)

The article states an observational fact: less mega upload results in less purchases of second tier films. But the implication is that "piracy is good and not a crime". It is a crime whether you think it's good or not. Moreover even if it helped some sellers it may not have helped others (blockbuster owners). So one cannot point to a net increase in sales as being beninficial to all. FOr all we know the per sale profit is also lower of selling cheaper titles. The bottom line however it ultimately it's the copyright holder's decision not yours on whether to sell a movie or not. They are free to act contrary to their own interests. That's the point of giving then the control in the first place.

Re:Does it or does it not (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088099)

I don't think that anybody is denying that they were hosting pirated content. However, this does in no way prove or indicate that the majority of the content was pirated content, it just proves there was some.

Re:Does it or does it not (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088101)

If Megaupload did hurt box office sales, then they obviously hosted lots of pirated material. This is against how the pirates are saying that Megaupload was mostly used for non-piracy related files. So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

I've never used megaupload and I don't know how much of what it hosted (my impression is that most users wouldn't know what other users were using it for but maybe I'm wrong there) buy clearly it is perfectly possible both for it to be mostly used for non-piracy related files and for it to host lots of posted material. There is no contradiction between the two.

I suspect that the internet as a whole is mostly used for non-piracy purposes but clearly shutting it down would reduce piracy significantly...

Re:Does it or does it not (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#42088725)

don't give them ideas!

Saying that, it'd work about as well as gun bans. <voice style="Gene_Wilder">Tell me again, how criminals obey the law?< />

Re:Does it or does it not (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42088127)

NO ONE is denying that OP content lives on these and other servers. NO ONE.

Claims asserted include that Megaupload is used for MORE than just that and that innocent users and businesses were harmed by the overzealous acts of the US government... not just overzealous, but illegal acts.

By the reasoning you are implying, public parks should all be shut down because drug deals are known to occur in them.

Now for a psycho-medical opinion of you: You suffer from omission and denial of the obvious along with selective evidence and conclusions based on belief. The result of this is your apparent manufacture of statements made by this imaginary "singular entity" that are 'pirates' which are not even pirates by correct definitions.

Re:Does it or does it not (4, Interesting)

GPierce (123599) | about 2 years ago | (#42088383)

In Las Vegas, Circle Park was shut down because some people were feeding the homeless.

(The park had become a place for homeless people to congregate, and there were other problems caused by some of the homeless in the neighborhoods surrounding the park.)

The courts said it was illegal to prevent feeding the homeless so they shut the park down completely.

Re:Does it or does it not (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088579)

You mean the park where bodies are found and drug dealers, beatings, and killings happen on a regular basis?

Closing it was in the interest of public safety. Not attracting the homeless but the stabbings, dead bodies burried, and stoners were what caused teh decision.

Re:Does it or does it not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088135)

Just because something is "lots", does not mean it is the most percentage wise.

Re:Does it or does it not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088183)

If Megaupload did hurt box office sales, then they obviously hosted lots of pirated material. This is against how the pirates are saying that Megaupload was mostly used for non-piracy related files. So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

Magic 8-ball says "Reply hazy, try again"

Re:Does it or does it not (2)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#42088185)

Did you read something else to the summary I read so you could start from a completely opposite place? The title even says the *shutdown* of MU hurt box office takings.

Or did you just deliberately ignore the most important word in the whole thing so you could have good mouth froth?

Re:Does it or does it not (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088269)

US law clearly states that they are not responsible for their customers actions any more than slashdot is responsible for the content of your posts here.
If the DOJ ever did take this illegal seizure to a trial they would lose badly not only on that fact but also on the many procedural errors that were made.

Re:Does it or does it not (5, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 2 years ago | (#42088321)

If Megaupload did hurt box office sales, then they obviously hosted lots of pirated material.

You get an F in Logic 101 today. It is quite possible for a site to host no pirated content and yet hurt box office sales. For example, movie critic web sites could give low ratings. A site could have only trailers (presumably that would be legal), which could backfire, convincing people to skip the movie. Perhaps the most damaging blow is an entertainment related discussion site ignoring the existence of a particular movie.

You demand a yes or no answer to an unfair question we all know can already be answered with a yes. This is the springboard to an obvious and contrived implication, which is "Megaupload broke the law/is evil".

Have you ever told a lie? Ever? If you've told just one lie in your entire life, then you are a liar! The number of adults who aren't liars under that standard might well be zero. The world is a sink of depravity.

And your black and white view is, as others said, beside the point. The real enabler is technology in the form of the Internet and extremely capacious and fast storage media. Bashing Megaupload is just shooting the messenger.

Re:Does it or does it not (3, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#42088737)

It's not shooting the messenger, it's stealing his bicycle and shoes and cutting off his legs with a spoon, then standing back and laughing as he bleeds out.

Re:Does it or does it not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088977)

And I just thought it was because this years crop of movies sucked! Any original genre content this year, many new big budget kids movies that wern't sequels? I know our family just stayed home with rented DVDs and Bluerays more often this year.

Re:Does it or does it not (5, Informative)

xigxag (167441) | about 2 years ago | (#42088677)

Where to begin, even.

First, who are "the pirates"?

Second, where are they, as a class, saying that Megaupload was mostly used for non-piracy related files?

Third and most importantly, you're spouting nonsense from a logical perspective. YouTube hosts LOTS of cat videos, maybe enough even to influence the number of cat purchases by animal lovers. That doesn't mean that YouTube mainly hosts cat videos. Who knows? Maybe it's 75% meow-infested, or maybe cat videos are less than 1% what's being hosted. THERE'S NO WAY TO TELL, just going on the fact (for argument's sake) that the number of YouTube hosted cat videos is enough to influence the pet industry. Similarly, there's no way to tell, just based upon Megaupload's influence on the box office, if movies were a major component of Megaupload's offerings.

Fourth, hosted and downloaded are two different things. It's entirely possible that by number of files hosted, pirated music and movies are a small component, but going by the number of downloads, they are the lion's share. After all, you might only need to share a particular powerpoint presentation a few times, but a bootleg media file could get downloaded tens of thousands of times. Or it could be that most uploads are not unauthorized, most downloads are not unauthorized, but the ones that are make up the vast majority of Megaupload's bandwidth. So, in that case, is Megaupload mostly used for piracy or not? Depends on your point of view.

Bottom line, the assertions you are claiming are contradictory really aren't.

Re:Does it or does it not (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42088721)

If Megaupload did hurt box office sales, then they obviously hosted lots of pirated material.

You seem to have trouble with reading comprehension, as do the moderators (your sock puppets? I can't believe you're not -1 overrated since you obviously don't read well).

The study said exactly the OPPOSITE. Megaupload didn't hurt box office receipts, it helped them. Shutting the site down hurt receipts.

Maybe you and the mods need a remedial reading class? Well, maybe the mods thought your lack of reading comprehension was interesting... but you have no excuse.

Re:Does it or does it not (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#42089295)

"they obviously hosted lots of pirated material" and "Megaupload was mostly used for non-piracy related files" do not contradict each other.

So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

Neither statement claimed they did.

Shallow research (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | about 2 years ago | (#42087971)

What movies did they use in their control group? I'm sorry but a 3 page paper with little details on the research is not enough to convince me that they can
make any kind of valid conclusion.

Re:Shallow research (5, Funny)

seepho (1959226) | about 2 years ago | (#42088023)

But the conclusion is that piracy is awesome; we have to agree with it.

Re:Shallow research (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088027)

Sounds reasonable though. Who in their right mind is going to pay for the crap Hollywood is putting out at the moment, without at least giving it a watch first.
They can't expect to put out rubbish AND get paid for it...

Re:Shallow research (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42088055)

In addition, they don't even claim their findings were statistically significant...

Re:Shallow research (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 2 years ago | (#42088067)

Of course you can't get do it scientifically your population is your sample group and the movies are not the same as last year.
The only way to look at these thing is just though the numbers.

The other conclusion could be that movies were less desirable to see this year or that the avengers was so disable it effected other ticket sales.

Re:Shallow research (2, Insightful)

seepho (1959226) | about 2 years ago | (#42088105)

I could write a paper that shows that the bacon shortage hype earlier this year affected box office revenues that would make exactly as much sense as this paper does. It reads like the only research tool the writer used was a thesaurus.

What's the problem here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088207)

The proof is far more solid than any proofs given of the damage caused by piracy.

Yet you've never once whined about that, have you.

Re:What's the problem here? (4, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#42088389)

The proof is far more solid than any proofs given of the damage caused by piracy.

Yet you've never once whined about that, have you.

Shoddy research is shoddy research. No matter if you agree with the premise or not.

Avoiding answering. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088657)

The proof is far more solid than any proofs given of the damage caused by piracy.

Yet you've never once whined about that, have you.

This research is more solid. And it admits little provably significant effect positive.

Entirely unlike the shoddy work you have remained silent on because they claim piracy is bad.

Re:Avoiding answering. (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#42088789)

Entirely unlike the shoddy work you have remained silent on

Have I remained silent? Maybe you should look at my comment history before making assumptions/looking like an trolling asshat?

Re:What's the problem here? (1)

theArtificial (613980) | about 2 years ago | (#42088643)

The proof is far more solid than any proofs given of the damage caused by piracy.

Solid proofs like titles not being released or an industry built around combating it? Game example: Gears of War PC sequels. The engine is the middleware and already cross platform (Unreal 3). Companies dedicated to the creation of antipiracy technology is another measuring stick for the prevalence of the issue.

Re:Shallow research (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088921)

Of course you can't get do it scientifically your population is your sample group and the movies are not the same as last year.
The only way to look at these thing is just though the numbers.

The other conclusion could be that movies were less desirable to see this year or that the avengers was so disable it effected other ticket sales.

WHAT? What the FUCK does all that babbling mean? Seriously, you do not have even ONE sentence that is not fucked up beyond comprehension. Dude, stop the drugs and the drinking, dry out, and try again. Seriously.

Re:Shallow research (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42088133)

If you really wish to confirm the issue, try looking at box office records pre and post internet, or even the VCR. The numbers I've found are pretty impressive. In fact I would prefer more downloading, authorized or unauthorized, if it would keep the punks and their damn cell phones out of the theater.

Re:Shallow research (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#42088315)

If you really wish to confirm the issue, try looking at box office records pre and post internet, or even the VCR. The numbers I've found are pretty impressive.

Adjusted for inflation, yes?

Re:Shallow research (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 years ago | (#42088573)

Which measure of inflation? Consumer inflation? Money supply inflation?

Probably better to go with 'As a percent of disposable income,' or 'Films consumed (legally) per capita.'

Re:Shallow research (3, Informative)

Ksevio (865461) | about 2 years ago | (#42088195)

It looks like the control group was big name movies that people would go to see with friends no matter what happened on the Internet. I guess the theory is people will have heard of them so the social aspect of sharing movies online wouldn't affect them, but at the same time the people who share the movies and watch them either don't go to movies at all, or will still go to a big name movie with their friends.

Re:Shallow research (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088323)

Yeah, because it's all about LOC ("lines of code"), a metric which works *so* well,
and compactness and efficiency must mean it's bad.

If it can be said in 3 pages, it should be said in 3 pages. End of story.

PROTIP: The longer a paper is, the more likely it is, that it’s complete bullshit.

One Data Point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42087999)

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that a lot of things could have happened that caused smaller films to have lower box office revenues this year other than megaupload shutting down.

Hmmmm.... (0)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 years ago | (#42088043)

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that a lot of things could have happened that caused smaller films to have lower box office revenues this year other than megaupload shutting down.

So basically, you are arguing that there is no correlation between a piracy site being there or not an box office revenues?

There is more to it. Or actually, less. (5, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#42088021)

The actual conclusion of the researchers was:

We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenues.

(emphasis mine)

So basically there was basically no effect either way on overall box office revenues. Blockbusters gained from the shutdown of megaupload (probably due to more people forced to go see it in the theatres as they couldn't download it any more), many smaller and less well known movies lost (probably due to less people being able to preview the movie, resulting in less word-of-mouth promotion of a movie).

Interesting results anyway.

Re:There is more to it. Or actually, less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088385)

You can't say there was "no effect either way", then go on to cite the effects. The insignificancy resulted from the canceling effects for the bigger and smaller movies. Two significant effects that, when looked as a whole, show an insignificant effect is not, as you oversimplify it to be, "no effect either way".

Re:There is more to it. Or actually, less. (2)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 2 years ago | (#42088759)

You aren't using significant in the statistical sense. They're basically saying that there was an effect that happened at the same time, but they aren't sure whether it was a random effect or not.

Re:There is more to it. Or actually, less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088413)

The actual conclusion of the researchers was:

We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenues.

(emphasis mine)

In fact, what you quoted is the abstract. The actual paper says, as can also be read in TFA :

[...]we find that the shutdown had a negative, yet in some cases insignificant effect, on box office revenues[...]

(enphasis mine)
That mean that they found significant negative results in some cases ( and also significant positive result for blockbusters, but not positive enough to counterbalance teh negative impact on smaller movies).

Interesting results indeed, even if I still did not read the whole paper.

Re:There is more to it. Or actually, less. (2)

cvnautilus (1793340) | about 2 years ago | (#42088423)

The fact that their results were insignificant means something different in statistics than it does in everyday speech. What it means is they are less than 95% certain their results were due to changes in the independent variable (Megaupload being shutdown or not) rather than chance.

Typically this means you can't make any conclusion about the strength or direction of the correlation.

incorrect quote (5, Informative)

almechist (1366403) | about 2 years ago | (#42088431)

The actual conclusion of the researchers was:

We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenues.

You have misquoted the article, leaving out an important qualifier. The true quote actually reads:

"we find that the shutdown had a negative, yet in some cases insignificant effect on box office revenues.”

I need hardly add that this is not a trivial distinction. Assuming you used copy and paste for the quote, you must have then deliberately removed the text reading "in some cases" before you posted. Why exactly would anyone do this, except to change the meaning of the quote, however slightly?

Re:incorrect quote (3, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#42088763)

That "negative, yet insignificant" bit was actually in the abstract. When I read it, my immediate thought was "Typo?" But yeah, it was a case of someone dropping the "in some cases" phrase. This wasn't an error in the reporting; it was done by whoever wrote the published abstract.

You'd think they'd have noticed and fixed it by now. Or perhaps (being social scientists ;-) they didn't understand the issue, and were really just using common speech rather than technical speech in the abstract. As someone already pointed out, "(in)significant" means something different in common speech and statistical terminology.

Re:incorrect quote (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#42088779)

how easily this is done, eh? Lovely example of this being done to influence policy, is the Lisbon Treaty. A few letters were changed and a single comma added, and it changed the entire meaning of the document. John Major did that, and from the moment he signed it signed away the UK's right to self govern but more importantly, to run its own Judiciary. That's treason, in my book.

Re:There is more to it. Or actually, less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088629)

That's a direct copy paste from the abstract, you f'ing moron.

Re:There is more to it. Or actually, less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42089333)

> So basically there was basically no effect either way on overall box office revenues.

no, that's not what it means at all. absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and "significant" has a very special meaning in statistical discussions.

you need to read up on Bayesian theory, wikipedia probably has a good summary of it.

Good and Bad (4, Informative)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 2 years ago | (#42088069)

Apparently the smaller films were negatively affected by the shutdown of the site (made less money). The larger films (500 or more screens) were positively affected by the shut down (made more money).

Box office revenues of movies shown on the average number of screens and below were affected negatively, but the total effect is not statistically significant. For blockbusters (shown on more than 500 screens) the sign is positive (and significant, depending on the specification).

[John]

Re:Good and Bad (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088201)

Sounds perfect: Make more money and push the "competition" out of the market.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | about 2 years ago | (#42088227)

If the total isn't statistically significant, then I'd say there are other explanations. Let's say everyone saved up for the blockbusters at the expense of the smaller films--such an explanation has nothing to do with Megaupload. I call bull.

Re:Good and Bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088367)

Apparently the smaller films were negatively affected by the shutdown of the site (made less money). The larger films (500 or more screens) were positively affected by the shut down (made more money).

Box office revenues of movies shown on the average number of screens and below were affected negatively, but the total effect is not statistically significant. For blockbusters (shown on more than 500 screens) the sign is positive (and significant, depending on the specification).

[John]

so in conclusion, people go to the movies regularly anyway and if they've already downloaded and watched the blockbuster they choose something else to watch.

Re:Good and Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088869)

and it is usually the small guys that are most passionate about piracy saying it hurts them a lot and i think it is mostly because they believe in the system that the big guys rigged in their favour

Cause or correlation? (5, Interesting)

xetovss (17621) | about 2 years ago | (#42088071)

Just because there is alleged correlation between the two events doesn't mean the lower box office revenues were caused by the shutdown. Perhaps it is due to lackluster movies this year, perhaps it was due to the ever dwindling economy so those who would have normally gone to a movie couldn't justify spending an ever increasing amount on tickets (and concessions if the choose to get those), or perhaps it was just more people going to see "matinee" showings which are often a lot less expensive which drives down revenues but perhaps increases ticket sales. Heck one local theater to me has matinee showings that are $3 and most other showings are less than $5 before 6PM.

Perhaps instead of counting revenues they should count actual ticket sales. Like when they say a movie has broken a box office revenue record, is it because more people are actually seeing the movie or is it because ticket prices are at record highs?

Re:Cause or correlation? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#42088123)

What about the other "C" - coincidence?

Re:Cause or correlation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088179)

Revenues give a better view of the overall industry though.

Actual ticket sales simply show X number of people saw the movie while it was in theaters.
Revenues show X number of people saw the movie while it was in theaters and/or bought the DVD/digital sales/digital rentals/etc.

If I agree that its not very clear, but it doesn't help the industry's argument of "PIRACY != revenues down". IF anti-piracy efforts continue AND revenues KEEP going down, then we'll look back on this report and applaud it for correctly predicting it in advance.

Re:Cause or correlation? (1)

xetovss (17621) | about 2 years ago | (#42088801)

OK missed mentioned coincidence by name but did allege it.

Well in the case of the article had nothing to do with the DVD sales/rentals, digi sales and whatnot, but box office sales. That part of my comments were simply saying that basing popularity of a movie based on revenues which naturally get inflated over past years due to rising ticket prices (and not to mention a range of ticket prices in theaters which further distorts the numbers) rather than based on a value which is more set it absolute numbers like the number of tickets sold, should be evaluated.

Re:Cause or correlation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088399)

Ever dwindling economy? You might want to pay more attention to the current economic climate. The economy was at the lowest point in 2009, rebounding (slowly) ever since. It's at the highest point it's been at since the recession started.

Re:Cause or correlation? (4, Interesting)

klingers48 (968406) | about 2 years ago | (#42089067)

Come back to me when your movie prices are like they are here in Australia.

We currently have higher-than-parity with the US dollar, but an adult movie ticket is now sitting around the $17 range. For 3D, they usually charge $20... then another few bucks for the 3D glasses. They're also starting to get into the habit of not giving you a choice of 2D or 3D on the big movies, so you have to pay more for an arguably inferior movie format.

They wonder why Australia has one of the highest piracy rates in the world.

Nonsensical Clickbate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088075)

Come on, guys. I thought we were better than this.

Re:Nonsensical Clickbate (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#42088331)

You're joking, right? Anything that says that piracy is good is going to posted here since it confirms the groupthink. No matter that the study itself says that the shutdown had an insignificant effect.

Really? (2, Insightful)

brit74 (831798) | about 2 years ago | (#42088085)

Was this report written by the same people who scream that "correlation does not equal causation" when we point out that US per-capita music sales revenue has dropped by 70% in the last 10 years (to the lowest point anytime in the last 50 years) - during the exact period when piracy was on the rise?

Really really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088217)

We have a causation.

And a correlation.

Are you one of those who scream "CORELATION IS NOT CAUSATION" yet then scream "LOOK! SNOW!!! AGW FALSIFIED!!!"?

Or are you one that accepts the RIAA producing all these "studies" of how much sales are hurt by piracy, and ignore this correlation thingy (because in this case it isn't even correlated: just assumed there must be one)?

Re:Really really. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#42088337)

No, you have the study people even admitting that the effect was insignificant.

We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenues.

So basically the article and the submission are overblowing what the study itself said.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088249)

So no real effect either way then. Then why was it shut down again? Because people who are cheap (or have no money) will not go see it anyway? Yet they could affect others slightly?

Eventually digital music will cut its own throat. Once you get a 'good enough portable copy'. There is 0 reason to buy it again, ever. Unless someone can convince you that their digital copy is better. Also the 'album' format is basically dead. Instead of 10 songs you may or may not want, people just buy the 1 or 2 songs they want from it. So instead of basically 15 dollars margin per album they are getting 1-2 bucks. Digital single sales are imploding the market. Even without piracy margin is less than 10% of what it was. They have been lucky in that year over year total number of sales are up (hitting more people who would not bother to buy music at all at 15 bucks a copy).

Also a lot of that 70% could also be that the market has basically tanked. So discretionary spending is *way* down across the board on everything. Music/Movies is not somehow immune to this.

Keep your eye on 'subscription' services. That is where all the big studios will move to. You will hear things like "access 15 million songs for a low per month cost of 10 bucks". They need to figure out ways to resell you the same album you have bought 3 times already...

Re:Really? (4, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 2 years ago | (#42088407)

Alternative explanations:

It could be that new music is mostly crap - I rarely buy new releases, but I have a relatively big collection of older records and I still buy "new to me" records. I also do not buy "remastered" versions with the dynamic range squashed to almost zero.

It could also be that people are only buying one copy of a song, instead of buying the CD/record for their home and a cassette for their walkman/car they now buy the file and play it everywhere. Also, files can be backed up easier than records or tapes, so the need to buy them again in case of damage is reduced.

There is also the fact that iTunes and similar services sell single songs, not albums, which means that I can buy only the good songs for ~$1/each instead of buying the album (with one good and 10 mediocre songs) for $11 (to keep the song price the same) or more. Even a CD "single" usually contains remixes of the original song which I pay for when I buy that CD, but now I can just buy the original song.

There's also Youtube. With their content filters I would expect that if the video has survived for a year and got a low of view that the copyright owner approved of it (since otherwise it would be taken down). Yet, I can find a lot of music there for free.

Re:Really? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42088751)

Sales dropped 70%? Looks to me like the boycott worked.

not peer reviewed (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42088091)

More importantly, there are serious issues with the paper. Here is the only thing they said about the composition of their control group:

The control group is based on matching movie characteristics to the treatment group.

If I wanted to be able to repeat their experiment to see if I got the same results, would I be able to do it based on this description? No I would not. The research might be good, but the presentation is extremely poor.

ALSO MADE BABIES CRY MORE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088111)

Waaaaaaaaaaaah !!

Sometimes piracy does help sales (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088181)

I can only say for certain about my own experience, but having had the ability to download a few things to check them out has lead to me purchasing them. For example I while back I saw an episode of Dexter whilst flicking through the channels. Not something I had seen before, but it caught my interest. I downloaded a couple of random episodes from different seasons to have a look at, decided that it was something I would want to watch and so ordered the complete box sets for the first 6 seasons. Without having first been able to sample it like that, there is no way I would of purchased them.

define:file-sharing (1)

l3v1 (787564) | about 2 years ago | (#42088205)

" file-sharing acts as a mechanism to spread information about a good from consumers with zero or low willingness to pay to users with high willingness to pay."

This!

+1

Retardation of the MPAA... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42088215)

If anyone thinks a bad camcorder copy of a screener will keep someone from going to see a film, then they are a complete and total idiot. 90% of the "pirated" movies on the internet are really low quality screeners or early edits that have crap audio and video quality. And these same videos are the ones the MPAA are claiming HURT their income. Where in fact it helps their income. When you are looking at dropping $40-$80 to go see a movie in the theater, Yes $40 is a realistic number, I recently paid that to take my wife to see SkyFall, you will have people that will not see a film unless they are sure it is not crap.

But the executives out there are so under educated they cant see marketing that is working for them. Now we have metrics that show that "pirated" films do in fact increase sales....

After my experience of taking my wife to a movie opening, I'm not going back again. The movie was OK, but smelling the disgusting feet of a unbathed idiot in the row behind, me or the rude idiots that must text on their phones through the movie as well as the sticky seating and floor means I'll watch them at home when they ome out on BluRay. My theater at home has better sound anyways....

Re:Retardation of the MPAA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088773)

I saw Skyfall the Saturday of opening weekend. My ticket, full price, was $10.50. For two people, that would be $21. So you spent $19 on junk food? Not much sympathy on my part.

Re:Retardation of the MPAA... (4, Interesting)

corychristison (951993) | about 2 years ago | (#42089423)

You may be surprised to hear (read) this, but prices vary by market.

I live in a small city in Saskatchewan, Canada. Prices here are $9.50 and a dollar more if it is 3D.

I have family in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (1 million+ population). Last time we saw a movie there the ticket price was $17. Add a popcorn or drink, that's another $5-$7 each. This was a couple years ago so things may have changed.

If you have kids, you either have to bring them or pay a babysitter to watch them. There's another $20-30 for a babysitter.

I used to rent movies all the time. Minimum one visit to Blockbuster a week. $5-6 a week is much more economical. However Blockbuster Canada went out of business so they could pay off their U.S. debt. At the same time, Rogers Video closed down a chunk of their stores, the one in my town being one of them.

Now its Torrents for me because I am out of options. $40 for the theatre is too much (including babysitter). That's also the cost of buying a Bluray thesebdays.... I'm not about to commit my money to that if I don't like the movie and never actually watch it.

So I torrent it, and if I really like it, I will buy it. Just watched The Expendables 2 last night... I enjoyed it, no real storyline but I was entertained (OMG, explosions!). Not really a movie I would buy but my wife _really_ likes it so we will probably get it.

Not many movies out there I want to watch more than once. All of the kids movies we download we end up buying.... Disney Cars (1&2) my son likes to watch each twice a week.

Does anyone here read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088283)

"We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenues"

If it's insignificant, i.e, meaningless, to the researchers, then why is it worth discussing or even posting here?

Even if the correlation is real... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088287)

...it doesn't mean anything in the bigger picture of whether piracy affects sales. Closing Megaupload didn't shut down piracy, everyone just moved onto another hosting services, not to mention all the plethora of peer-to-peer downloading options still available.

I would be far more interested if research would focus on the effect of transformative use of copyrighted material. If there's one change to copyright law that I would back without hesitation, it is a strengthening of protections for, and an expansion of fair use, parodies, and incidental usage. All of those would largely achieve the same positive word-of-mouth effects that the researchers tout, without the negative aspects of piracy.

Negative yet insignificant (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42088303)

The paper itself calls it an insignificant effect, so even taking it at face value, it basically amounts to almost nothing.

Re:Negative yet insignificant (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42088809)

It sounds like that pot study a couple of years ago that's extremely hard to find now, the one that showed that cigarette smokers who smoked pot had half the cancers of those who smoked only cigarettes, while non-smokers had more yet statistically insignificant cancers than pot smokers.

What this study actually showed was that megaupload had no affect on ticket sales at all; that's what every comment I've seen has sorely missed.

Are you kidding? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088391)

Let's clear up something here. I pirate movies. I download them and watch them - I am not a mindless collector that keeps building up an unwatched collection of random crap. I download movies I want to watch and I watch them.

So, after having watched, say Prometheus, why would I then go and spend $10 a ticket to see the movie in a theater? I already saw it, duh!

What sort of price would I pay to see it again in a theater? Zero - I am probably not interested at any price. If it was that fantastic a movie that I want to watch it again, would I pay anything to see it in a theater? Probably not - after all, I have it in digital form and a whole bunch of nifty devices to play it on.

Now downloading movies takes some effort - it can take 6-10 hours to get some movies. This means I have to leave my computer running (unattended) for a while during this time. Not that much effort, really. There is the filtering out of malware, because people have figured out that if they can convince you to download some harmful file you might be stupid enought to infect your computer. Most of this is solved with a combination of common sense and understanding how pirates work. You see, the idea is to eliminate the revenue from movies - the more people that pirate the less and less that studios get. Of course the endpoint to this is rather fuzzy in the minds of the "professional" pirates that do the bulk of the initial gathering of materials. But anything you see online that isn't directly related to eliminating studio revenue is probably fake, malware or just something stupid.

Oh and yes, generally speaking if you see something for a movie that is currently playing it is bogus or a terrible camera capture. The studios have (for the most part) solved the "screener" problems so these aren't getting out like they used to. So what I am downloading are movies that have left the theater and are now on DVD - high quality DVD rips. Anyone that can't wait for the DVD to come out (and be ripped by someone else) is just being stupid - and they are likely to go to a theater anyway because of the "can't wait" problem.

With the holidays coming up everyone should be familiar with the young child that can't sleep waiting for Christmas morning... and wakes everyone up at 6 AM to get a jump on seeing what they got for Christmas. If your movie consumption habits have a lot in common with such a young child, well then, you are likely keeping the studios in business.

Folks like me, on the other hand, are contributing to their demise. I suspect my group is far larger than that of the "can't wait" group and this will start to show in the years to come.

Re:Are you kidding? (1)

UsuallyReasonable (2715457) | about 2 years ago | (#42089017)

"Folks like me, on the other hand, are contributing to their demise. I suspect my group is far larger than that of the 'can't wait' group and this will start to show in the years to come." It is showing already. Of the people I know who used to fund independent films, none are doing so now, because they don't feel like paying out huge bucks to entertain people like you for free anymore while losing money themselves. (All the while listening to the refrain of idiots crowing "Piracy helps sell more movies!') Thanks for your contribution to a less interesting culture, jerk.

Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088425)

Couldn't have anything to do with the economy right?

Two errors in it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088469)

1. They call information "goods". Sorry, that's nonsense. Information creation is a *service*. Information itself can't be dealt, since once it's out even once, its value falls to zero, since it is infinitely abundant. Deliberate artificial scarcity doesn't make it a "good". It makes the one creating it a *criminal*. End of story.

2. They use the propaganda hatespeech of the organized crime, and insult us all, by comparing us us seafaring murderous rapist thugs. Something the organized crime who invented those un-words are much closer to.

/.-ers hate MPAA; MP sales down after raids, so... (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#42088491)

We're all now in favor of more shutdowns?

Just keeping the streak going (4, Insightful)

rbrander (73222) | about 2 years ago | (#42088527)

I think the content industries have a perfect streak going: they always oppose technologies that turn out to be, not only not harmful, but actively good for their bottom line.

Radio was going to ruin record sales. A few decades after they lost that one, they were shelling out payola to get on the air.
The cassette tape recorder was going to destroy records. After losing that one, they made a mint selling everybody the same record twice, the new version being portable.
VCRs were going to be to the movie industry what the Boston Strangler was to women; after the Betamax decision, they made money selling cassettes.

The lesson is, that when content industries oppose a new technology, they have to be beaten ... for their OWN good....

Correlation, etc (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 2 years ago | (#42088633)

Correlation does not imply causation. One can even make the same argument that because Megaupload closed, tiger attacks in Chicago have gone down, too.

Oh, and the obligatory xkcd cartoon: http://xkcd.com/552/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Correlation, etc (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#42088787)

everyone can agree though that a few rich people in Hollywood lobbying the US government to do their bidding is wrong and needs to be stopped.

Re:Correlation, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42089005)

I don't.

Just from my personal experiance (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#42088675)

I don't have cable, and I don't really watch TV. That said I typically hear about shows from friends, co workers etc and end up going on line to check them out. If I like them I tend to watch the entire series online.

Typically these shows are on pirate/rogue tv sites and I have to fish through dead links to find working ones. Why? Because I can't watch current or even last seasons episodes online from legit sources 95% of the time.

Now after I watch a show I'll get hooked and watch all of it and then stop and later if the series is done I'll typically buy a box set, when I get in the mood to watch it again. Why simple because finding working links to non legit sites is a hassle and I don't bother to do it.

This year though with the shutdown of megavideo I find myself watching far less tv shows, infact I'm pretty much clueless on the new tv shows that were released this seasons, I've not watched any nor am I following any. Because of this it is pretty unlikely that I'll end up buying any full season dvds/bluerays

All pirates spend, but only some spenders pirate (2)

kubernet3s (1954672) | about 2 years ago | (#42088761)

Wait, if pirates are the biggest spenders, why would shutting down Megaupload make them into not-spenders? Because it made them into not-pirates? How does a correlation between pirates the demographic and spending habits correlate intuitively with piracy the activity and spending habits? This actually is pretty surprising.

Re:All pirates spend, but only some spenders pirat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42088923)

FTFP: "This counterintuitive result may suggest support for the theoretical perspective of (social) network effects where file-sharing acts as a mechanism to spread information about a good from consumers with zero or low willingness to pay to users with high willingness to pay."

Re:All pirates spend, but only some spenders pirat (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#42088925)

Because they find it harder to do product research, and as a result find less material that they can justify spending money on.

how does radio work? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#42089097)

you give the product away for free, and you thereby create interest

duh

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