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New Piracy Loss Estimate

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the avast-ye-mateys dept.

480

An anonymous reader writes "WSJ reports on a new MPAA estimate losses due to piracy. "The study, by LEK Consulting LLC, was completed last year, and people familiar with it say it reached a startling conclusion: U.S. movie studios are losing about $6.1 billion annually in global wholesale revenue to piracy, about 75% more than previous estimated losses of $3.5 billion in hard goods. On top of that, losses are coming not only from lost ticket sales, but from DVD sales that have been Hollywood's cash cow in recent years."

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Gee, They put the lotto on TV... (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258267)


Why don't they show the RIAA and MPAA giving the Big Spin, themselves?

bzzzzzzzzz-tik-tik-tik-tik-tik-tik
"Come on 6.1 billion! Come on 6.1 billion!"
tikka-tikka-tikka-tik-tok-tok "Come on 6.1 billion! YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!! We lost 6.1 billion!!! Wheeee!!! Huzzah!!"

"Now we cut to live footage of those most responsible for the losses incurred by the RIAA and MPAA conducting a clandestine summit in a treehouse on the outskirts of Wooster, Massachusetts!"

"Ahoy, ye bloomin' yeller scoundrel!"
"Avast, ye bloomin' scupper-faced seadog!"
"Arr, ye great yeller galoot!"
"Avast, ye scurvy bilge-spewin' lubber!"
"Ahoy, ye poxy waterlogged galoot!"
"Avast, ye great bilge-spewin' picaroon!"
"Arr, ye bloomin' brine-swiggin' lubber!"
...
It sure beats the boring truth, doesn't it?

Re:Gee, They put the lotto on TV... (2, Insightful)

nitrocloud (706140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258286)

What if DVDs aren't worth owning and theaters are inconvenient? How are we supposed to support the movie industry then?

Re:Gee, They put the lotto on TV... (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258307)

What if DVDs aren't worth owning and theaters are inconvenient? How are we supposed to support the movie industry then?

Donations through PayPal?

It's Worcester (1)

SparksMcGee (812424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258411)

Yarrr! It be spelled 'Worcester!' Ye Insensitive Clod!


P.S. Keep Mum about chapter 376 or the lads'll have yer guts fer garters

Pile of shit (-1, Troll)

Freexe (717562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258271)

That article is the biggest piece of bias crap I have ever read.

I implore you all not to read it or comment about it. Pretend it's not there!

I thought the BBC was bad, but this article isn't in the same league!

Re:Pile of shit (1)

foundme (897346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258408)

If I don't read this here, where else can I possibly find trustworthy news [slashdot.org] from?

Re:Pile of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258563)

Uh, hey, this is Slashdot... nobody reads the articles here anyway.

This, from the organization (5, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258275)

that said VCRs would kill the movie industry.

Re:This, from the organization (5, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258376)

Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA, testifying before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives, April 12, 1982

I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.

Re:This, from the organization (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258394)

so clearly since they were wrong once they can never ever possibly be right about anything?

Re:This, from the organization (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258424)

"so clearly since they were wrong once they can never ever possibly be right about anything?"

Unless their motivations have changed... yes. The motivations of corporations rarely (if ever) change.

Re:This, from the organization (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258425)

so clearly since they were wrong once they can never ever possibly be right about anything?

The MPAA has been wrong nearly continually on the topic of piracy. I merely highlighted one of the bigger errors they've made.

Re:This, from the organization (1)

Inglix the Mad (576601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258406)

Well that and the fact that loss amount assumes that (as they do in BSA software piracy estimates) that everyone who has the item on the HDD would be willing to pay for it in a perfect world. Yeah, I'd pay to see the movie Alexander. Yeah I'd pay to see it after my soon to be relatives came back from it and went "I want the 2 hours of my life back I spent there." Wow that's bad. Most music bores me. So that cuts that off. Make decent stuff and I'll pay for it. I'll pay for V for Vendetta, I'll pay for Inside Man, I'll even pay for Kings X. I won't pay attention to the rest thank you.

Re:This, from the organization (3, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258501)

Remember: that loss amount doesn't just take into account XviD copies on your computer -- the main thing it is measuring is the black market copies available in China and Russia (along with most other countries). I'm sure that including torrent numbers increases their statistics a bit, but the big issue is organized crime: commercial pirating for sale on DVD.

How Piracy Hurts at the Box Office (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258415)

Hollywood Studios make a HUGE movie, say like Gigli.
Hollywood TV Studios hype hype hype said big movie on shows like ET, Access Hollywood, or Live with regis and kelly.
Someone pirates a screener of Gigli and posts a torrent.
Gigli opens in theatres.
A few people really into movies either download the torrent or see it opening day.
Those people who are really into movies are also the people that others go to to find out if new movies are any good.
Noone goes to the theatre by the second day.

Clearly the losses were because of the people who downloaded the torrent, not because the movies are pap.

Mexico is #1 Pirate` (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258530)

What is interesting is that Mexico is the worst-offending foreign pirate of American movies.

Apparently, the North American Free Trade Agreement did not do jack for actors, actresses, writers, and directors.

I propose that we produce a movie about Indiana Jones will lead the successful colonization of Mexico.

Excellent! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258284)

Seriously, this crap is getting ridiculous. I find myself cheering for bigger losses.

Re:Excellent! (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258308)

Without an independent audit of their claims, is there any reason at all that anybody should be taking these numbers seriously?

Re:Excellent! (3, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258509)

is there any reason at all that anybody should be taking these numbers seriously?

If they come stapled to a $6.1 billion check made out to cash and slipped under the back door of the Captiol Building?

KFG

Why dont they count it for the extreme profits (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258285)

they made until now ? They were able to pay startling amounts to actors and actresses so far ? Much extravaganza was going on. There will be a little less parties and splendor around for them, but hey, they still are better off.

Brilliant assumptions (3, Insightful)

kwiqsilver (585008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258287)

Of course the study assumes that every "pirated" copy of a movie would be replaced by a ticket or dvd sale, if there was no "piracy".

That's logical, right?

Re:Brilliant assumptions (5, Informative)

daknapp (156051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258311)

Actually, no it doesn't make the assumption that every pirated copy of a movie would be a sale. If you RTFA, you would see:

Critics have faulted some piracy estimates for equating each pirated DVD with a lost sale, when many consumers would have skipped the movie altogether if they hadn't gotten a cheap or free unauthorized version. This time, the survey specifically asked consumers how many of their pirated movies they would have purchased in stores or seen in theaters if they didn't have an unauthorized copy, giving studios a different picture of their true losses.

The results are likely still completely bogus, but at least they pretended to be correcting for that factor.

Re:Brilliant assumptions (1)

torokun (148213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258370)


It sounds to me like they were actually trying to fudge the numbers DOWN rather than up, in this case. They are starting to get worried about their share prices.

Movies are one of the few good international businesses the US has left. I think it's important for us to preserve our dominance in this industry, and therefore to figure out ways to stop piracy.

Pirates are killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. If this continues, eventually they'll just be sharing stupid home movies of people swinging light-sabers.

Re:Brilliant assumptions (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258500)

First, there's a really damn good lightsaber fight on Google video (or Youtube? probably both). Second, there's a reason people are shifting to semi-commercial content (like podcasts - they're free but the bigger ones at least tend to have ads in some form or another) - it doesn't suck. I've bought only two movies in the last year or so for one reason: bad content. About 2/3 of my movies are copies of rentals (free rentals, mind you), and of those, I've watched about a third of them. Why's this? I had some half-assed idea of watching them, then heard they sucked before doing so. There's been a few that I liked, but overall very few decent movies recently.

On the other hand, I watch/listen to most of my podcasts. Not because they're free, but because they're actually decent content. I'd bet the latest episide of TWiT spent about five bucks more on a script than Star Wars 3, which goes to show that insane amounts of special effects can't fix crap, just make it flashier. TWiT having cost $16 less than SW3 is just a bonus.

So, we're faced with various home-brew legal free content, paying out the wazoo for flashy crap, or stealing the flashy crap and ending up wishing we hadn't bothered. Given the choice of flashy crap, I'd rather not be supporting those that produce it, but my "money" is probably going to be almost entirely going to IPTV and whatnot.

Re:Brilliant assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258321)

FTFA: Critics have faulted some piracy estimates for equating each pirated DVD with a lost sale, when many consumers would have skipped the movie altogether if they hadn't gotten a cheap or free unauthorized version. This time, the survey specifically asked consumers how many of their pirated movies they would have purchased in stores or seen in theaters if they didn't have an unauthorized copy, giving studios a different picture of their true losses

Re:Brilliant assumptions (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258373)

The "brilliant assumption" is that people who pirate movies are going to tell the truth in a telephone survey. Did they also believe that everyone they offered a chocolate bar for their password gave a real answer?

Re:Brilliant assumptions (1)

hords (619030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258568)

Sure, I've downloaded shows when I couldn't wait for them to come out on DVD, but then when they do come out I always buy them. I like to have the cases, bonus material, etc. The RIAA/music studios pissed me off with the copy protection crap, so I don't buy music cds at all. The MPAA/movie studios are getting close to pissing me off too. I don't like putting in a DVD I just bought and then have to watch a damn video telling me not to steal it. People downloading it off the Internet aren't going to see their message, only the paying folks. Do they think they make people feel guilty enough to stop pirating? Doubtful. I know several friends that own over 100 DVDs. I also know three that own over 1000, including myself. I don't personally know anyone that only pirates movies and doesn't buy them, although that is just in my little world.

I also don't go to theaters anymore because I don't like the crouds, expensive food/drinks, and it's just not as convienent as watching it at home. Of course, I also have a projector and nice speakers/receiver so why bother.

Re:Brilliant assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258573)

Exactly, They estimate that "From Justin to Kelly (2003)" DVD lost 480 million due to piracy.

(Or that nobody bought the fucking thing, its IMDB [imdb.com] 's worst rated movie.)

Tagging advisory service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258293)

Tag: arrr

Lies, damn lies, and (corprate) statistics (5, Funny)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258295)

In other news I had a friend do a study for me (I paid him a pizza, a bag of dorritos and a case of coke) and he conculded, that I paid too much for Internet, my Internet was not fast enough, I was overcharged for movies and music, and I paid too much taxes.

Duh *bangs head against wall* (5, Insightful)

Epistax (544591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258296)

Pay $20+ for an ad infused FBI warning with regioning, or virtually nothing for no ads or FBI warnings or regioning.

Remove the warning, remove the ads, charge $10 max. I can live without movies if you force me to.

Re:Duh *bangs head against wall* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258326)

Remove the DRM, remove the warning, remove the ads, make it cheaper?

Isn't this what pirates do?

I don't see how it is good business practice to offer an inferior product to your competitors at an inflated price.

Re:Duh *bangs head against wall* (5, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258387)

Pay $20+ for an ad infused FBI warning with regioning, or virtually nothing for no ads or FBI warnings or regioning.

Remove the warning, remove the ads, charge $10 max. I can live without movies if you force me to.

Yeah, tell me about it. I popped in a DVD a couple months back and it was crammed with plugs for upcoming movies, which came out some time back when the DVD was issued, and I couldn't fast-forward, skip to menu or anything. What a bunch of low-life ****ers.

I did eventually figure out I could hold down the menu button and start the DVD and it would actually skip to the menu, but some disks don't allow that.

Re:Duh *bangs head against wall* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258550)

I've found pressing Stop twice then Play seems to work.

Alternatively, use VLC.

Re:Duh *bangs head against wall* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258569)

AC because of the following admission.

I paid money for a copy of "family guy" with Tea Leoni

no BS.. it starts rather clean, drops right to the menu, you can play movie, setup stuff, choose a scene, see the extras etc.

the commercials for other films by ?mgm? the same studio start when you select 'play movie' from the movie menu.
un effing believable..

Re:Duh *bangs head against wall* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258502)

"I can live without movies if you force me to."

Please, please do. Don't buy, don't rent, don't pirate. It only gives creedence (contrived though it may be) to the $6.1 billion figure. Until then, they can just say "Well, if they didn't want our stuff they wouldn't pirate it. But they do want it, 'cause they're downloading it. So obviously we're losing out!"

Imagine the losses... (5, Insightful)

vex24 (126288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258297)

...if they were actually making movies worth watching!

new movies = teh suck (1)

firpecmox (943183) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258299)

Could this be the cause of perhaps.... no good movies in theaters recently.

Re:new movies = teh suck (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258330)

no good movies in theaters recently.

Including Silent Hill. :( The whole plot sucks!

Someone put Roger Avary to walk the bloody plank! (arr)

Well, at least I give it a 7. Cool graphics and sounds :) Let's hope the sequel is at least 10 times better.

Soft power (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258602)

Agree with you but I've seen two films at the cinema this year, and thats way down. I won't be renting dvd's, or torrenting the films that didnt appeal.

The Incredible Hulk film was on free broadcast tv last weekend, I watched new Dr Who season 2 instead, so I do hope my contribution to 'stealing hollywood' was included in the figure.

I ignored a 'free' Hollywood film on tv that i could have stolen beforehand but it failed to interest me - i mean thats got to be stealing in these peoples eyes for i did not pay.

Neal Stephension (i think in the book) - before the command line considered that american culture was a way to win hearts and minds. The sign of a successful book/film like the Harry Potters/DaVinci codes is are they plaguarised.

When I (not american, or mexican) can ignore whole parts of american popular culture Hollywood and America has got a influnce problem.

I like to think that I go see a film on its merits rather than some giving some accountants a means to add to his stealing guestimate.

I thought they might be legitimate... (5, Insightful)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258303)

...until I read this:
An additional $529 million in losses came from consumers making copies of legitimate films they bought on DVD or VHS.

Losses? You have to buy another one when you want to make a copy? Pay-per-disc?

They're counting every time any kind of copy is made as a loss of sale. They're not even trying to be realistic here.

Re:I thought they might be legitimate... (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258335)

Let's try to remember here that the movie industry's definition of a loss bears little or no resemblance to the commonly accepted accounting definition. The creative accounting involved can turn blockbusters into net loss situations, particularly when some guy due royalties starts asking "hey, this movie made 100 million bucks, so why didn't I get a check?"

This is the pathetic thing about the MPAA (and RIAA as well). These guys represent some of the worst financial pirates out there. They rip off artists, investors and, most importantly, consumers, and then run around crying when some amoral sonofabitch does in miniature what they've been doing in large for decades.

Re:I thought they might be legitimate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258450)

The study is pointing out that the effect of piracy is stronger on the home-video market, not so much on screening releases. I don't understand how you could possibly read that sentence as implying a 1-for-1 exchange of legit-to-pirate. If you had read the article, you'd see that the study claims to correct for this past over-estimate. (And they damned well should since even the mainstream has caught on to how ridiculous it is.)

Of course, the correction may be invalid but we'd need to analyze their methodology - they seem to have used direct questioning which relies on people's self-perception. It's easy to imagine that some people think about the work they put into setting up bittorrent, or scraping the adware off some p2p client, or whatever, and over-estimate the number of movies they pirate, while forgetting the copy of Lion King they threw into the shopping cart on a whim (*). People are overly mindful of "piracy" because it is a hot issue and, maybe ... sadly... even a symbol of edginess and technical merit. On the other hand, I can imagine why others might under-state their downloading activity. This is without even considering that the study may be intentionally flawed.

(*): An example of this effect is if you ask people how many friends they have named Anthony, and if they have any acquaintances named, say, Nichole. If you use these results to estimate the number of Nicholes in the world, you get an overestimate since people have a lower threshold for considering a uniquely-named person a `friend', probably because they are excited to know someone with a strange name. That is, Nichole the secretary gets counted, but Anthony the receptionist doesn't.

Re:I thought they might be legitimate... (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258547)

I noticed that, too. This "study" constitutes fraud on the part of the MPAA and the company they hired. Consumers making copies of legitimate films that they bought is legally protected fair use. To count one PENNY of that as so-called "piracy" is fraud of the highest order.

This time, the survey specifically asked consumers how many of their pirated movies they would have purchased in stores or seen in theaters if they didn't have an unauthorized copy, giving studios a different picture of their true losses.

That's about the least useful thing they could have done. Why? Because:

  • If they pirated a copy by online download, they won't admit it, so you can bet that this category isn't factored in at all. Even in the best case, the numbers are dubious.
  • The majority of people buying a bootleg DVD probably don't know that it isn't legit when they buy it. Thus, one would expect that nearly 100% of those folks would have bought it legitimately.

The study also shows that home video, not theatrical distribution, is the market that piracy hits hardest, accounting for two-thirds of the studio's lost revenue.

Duh. Most movies aren't available in a pirated form until long after they have left the theater, low-quality camera versions notwithstanding. I would have thought that this conclusion would have been obvious. You mean the studios were surprised?

So let's see the whole paragraph you quoted part of....

Last year, according to a person familiar with the matter, copies of movies downloaded or received from people who had downloaded them cost the studios $447 million in the U.S., whereas copies stemming from professional bootleggers cost the studios $335 million. An additional $529 million in losses came from consumers making copies of legitimate films they bought on DVD or VHS.

So what they're saying is that their figures are inflated by $529 million, or almost 60%. More than 40% of their claimed losses due to "piracy" are actually due to legal copying. Okay. So even if we naively believe that this is the only flaw in their methodology and that their estimates of how many downloaders would have otherwise bought the movie are correct (big stretch), we're really only talking about the equivalent of one blockbuster's gross per year, at least in the U.S. Cry me a river....

Bullshit. (2, Interesting)

kunwon1 (795332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258309)

This study can't be trusted any farther than it can be thrown, to mangle an age-old aphorism.

To put it simply, the MPAA sponsored this study, therefore it will be slanted as they desire. I'm sure there's some element of truth to these estimates, but the MPAA has as a goal the elimination of piracy, so the more inflated they can make the losses seem, the closer they get to their goal.

Re:Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258416)

..and since piracy wont go away all of a sudden, they will never be called on it.

Personally, I feel that their losses come from a shift in interest in the younger audiences, which does involve piracy to some extent, but even if that channel was not available there is nothing saying that the kids would stick with the old model of media consumption.

Likely, the interest in movies as a whole would drop instead, just as it has for paper media.

The whole buildup-market-release cycle of the movie industry does not mesh well with the "what you want, when you want it" mentality of the modern digital media.

I just don't get it (3, Insightful)

Silent sound (960334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258310)

I don't even understand why they bother using real numbers in these studies. Why not just move ahead to the logical conclusion, and have the study say that the MPAA loses a zillion bajillion dollars per year to piracy? It would be about as meaningful.

Incidentally, do you ever notice how you never see any studies calculating the exact amount of money the MPAA loses each year from making crappy, unoriginal, cookie-cutter movies; showing the movies in a medium where you have to spend gas money to get to the theater and then more than half the cost of a DVD to get in the theater door; and then once they have your money putting more effort into showing you more ads than they do the movie? That's a study I'd be curious to read.

I can see it now... (5, Funny)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258380)

"I don't even understand why they bother using real numbers in these studies."

I can see it now...

The MPAA reports on a startling new study indicating that over 63 trillion gigawatts of elephants are being harvested anually as a result of DVD piracy. The study corrected for factors such as yellow, and the tootsie roll center of a Tootsie Pop, providing the first clear evidence of a connection between movie downlaods and the number 7.

any Media Studies undergrads reading this? (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258398)

Incidentally, do you ever notice how you never see any studies calculating the exact amount of money the MPAA loses each year from making crappy, unoriginal, cookie-cutter movies; showing the movies in a medium where you have to spend gas money to get to the theater and then more than half the cost of a DVD to get in the theater door; and then once they have your money putting more effort into showing you more ads than they do the movie? That's a study I'd be curious to read.

That is a fuggin' great idea. I'd love to see a study like that. Perhaps something comparing the rate of return on art flicks vs. standard Hollywood fare. If the major studios put out 4x the movies in 2007, with the same aggregate budget they spent in 2006, covering a wider variety of themes targeted at a wider variety of audiences, they might make as much or more revenue.

The problem is that they bank on losing money on 4 out of every 5 movies, knowing that the fifth will be a blockbuster that will recoup all the money they threw down the toilet producing flicks like Battlefield Earth [imdb.com] .

Re:any Media Studies undergrads reading this? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258458)

But who is going to fund that study, and pay for it to be released to the masses?

Increasing Numbers (3, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258318)

I'm sure it's quite obvious to most people that they're just inflating numbers. They can't really even begin to estimate how much revenue is lost to piracy on a yearly basis. I'll wager a substantial sum of money that in a few years this number will grow by another 2 or 3 billion dollars, not because people are pirating any more or any less music, movies, books, or other forms of media, but because the corporations want to make it seem as though they're in danger of falling apart. The truth of the matter is that they've been ripping consumers off for so many years that they have more than enough money to withstand the effects of piracy. Their hesitation to change and adapt by switching to new business models and solutions only reaffirms my belief that these corporate dinosaurs are actually in need of extinction.

If you can't be creative and adapt to the modern world market and find new methods of selling your product, please get the hell out of the way of the companies and people that are trying to make a difference. The stagnation and lack of creative thinking is inflicting more harm on the consumers and economy than any amount of piracy could ever do. Sink, swim, or get the hell out of the water.

Re:Increasing Numbers (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258560)

If you can't be creative and adapt to the modern world market and find new methods of selling your product, please get the hell out of the way of the companies and people that are trying to make a difference. The stagnation and lack of creative thinking is inflicting more harm on the consumers and economy than any amount of piracy could ever do. Sink, swim, or get the hell out of the water.

That is in fact exactly what they're doing. What you're not appreciating is that the legal system (national and globally) is very much part of "the modern global market". And that its manipulation is an instance of "be creative and adapt to the modern world market".

The idea that you should produce quality to attract customers is so outmoded and old-fashioned as to be quaint. For decades now it has been clear that creative marketing is a much better direction to go. And yes, manipulation of the legal system is another route to take. And so is deliberate destruction of the competition. Lying through your teeth. Buying politicians.

Corporations have one and only one goal: to make money. In todays world there's a number of avenues to do that. Some are mentioned in the previous paragraph. Some are old. Some are new. None are chosen by "what is best for the customer". That's simply not a concern of any corporation.

it's... fuzzy math. (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258322)

I don't know why I bother:

  • fta:
    The MPAA froze plans to release the survey..., Other studios said the figures were so bad that releasing them would hurt their stock prices and make a laughingstock of their enforcement efforts. The result: Piracy, an issue that normally brings Hollywood studios together, was driving them apart. Although the studios eventually agreed to release parts of the information, it was only after months of infighting
    I interpret this (IMO) that the MPAA had gotten so absurd in their claims of piracy and their methodology for studying and proving it they crossed a bright line that even insiders could see and were embarrassed to allow public scrutiny. The numbers they claim are staggering, but beyond believability.
  • fta:
    In one market, it was calculated that for every bootleg DVD that turned up in raids, seven more existed.
    This is a non sequitur. First, it's a questionable assumption a disconvered pirated dvd is a lost sale. Second, it's their SWAG that seven more exist, and to my first point, it's not clear that represents loss of revenue.
  • fta:
    While new data are potentially helpful in negotiating with foreign governments because they also estimate losses to local film industries, the information is also bad news for the MPAA's antipiracy efforts.
    Another non sequitur. What impact can fuzzy-math numbers truly have?

This is funny, it almost sounds from the article that they changed their methodology to increase their claimed "losses", and had to rein them back in when they discovered their losses exceeded global Gross (International) Product.

I'm surprised to see such an MPAA friendly article from WSJ. Or maybe I'm not.

Re:it's... fuzzy math. (1)

torokun (148213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258404)


It's not a non-sequitur at all, if they only raided 1/7 of the establishments they were targeting. They are making estimates based on a limited sample size.

Put the shoe on the other foot. (2, Interesting)

ductonius (705942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258324)

How about I get a bunch of people together and sue the **AA for all the "lost entertainment value" I have experienced from thier respective industries high priced albums and shitty movies.

How about this deal: You allow after-viewing refunds on tickets so I can get my money back after you waste my two hours in a theater, and I'll start letting you have my money when you make something decent.

Re:Put the shoe on the other foot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258538)

That's utterly unreasonable. Make it so you can get your money back after you've seen the film? OK, 90% of the population is honest but you'd still be taking a 10% cut from your revenue.

If the film sucks and you want your money back, walk out in the first hour. You'll probably get your refund.

Wrong wrong wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258331)

Again, this survey appears to be based on multiplying the number of illegal copies out there by the list price. GAH! How obvious is it that that's bullshit? They're forgetting that most people think their films are crap enough not to be worth spending a couple of dollars on, but will watch them for free.

To calculate this right, you need to work out how many people would have bought a real copy *if a free download of it was not available* which is quite different.

No surprise but the MPAA is lying (2, Interesting)

studyguidesystems (971995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258332)

I once had a meeting with the head of the MPAA and his head lawyer to discuss a technology my cousin and i had created. He full blank told us that the numbers they give are made up and that there is a chance they acutally make money from p2p (as the technology of choice was at the time). I was shocked by that statement. He said that they will probably just add another billion the next year.

Re:No surprise but the MPAA is lying (5, Funny)

Afecks (899057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258475)

That reminds me of when I had a meeting with Santa Claus and his head elf. He full blank told me that you are full of shit. However, I wasn't really shocked by that statement. He said that you will be getting coal next year.

Re:No surprise but the MPAA is lying (1)

studyguidesystems (971995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258523)

No i really did. But Maybe you also had a meeting with santa clause. Put a good word in for me. I want a new puppy.

Are they REALLY LOSING? (2, Insightful)

genrader (563784) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258334)

Are they REALLY losing anything when people such as me download a movie or game that I never would have bought in the first place? I would easily not pirate the game and not pay $50 for it, or I could borrow it from a friend, or anything. I buy stuff worth buying, end of story.

Cut up what CD costs go where, re-calculate costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258339)

Obviously they're trying to make the number sound huge, but they should cut up the costs of the CD. How much do they charge for manufacturing the product, case, booklet, etc? They can't count it as loss if it wasn't necessary to be produced in the first place. I'm sure there's a lot more that they wouldn't count as loss as the money wouldn't goto the studios anyways, so they should just take the profit that they make from each sale and add that up.

The Future (1)

X1088LoD (918610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258340)

The future should involve free access to media, with it so readily available thanks to the internet, I think this is the direction we are heading, but those that are raking in the money because of movies and CD's are fighting it tooth and nail. Its the way of change, how is this any different than machines taking over jobs of people on assembly lines. Those people fought it too. I see it in kind of a Star Trek light, "computer...play me this song by this artist". The computer never asked Riker for his $1.95 per song. But no, our society is so driven by money, that will never happen. We need in a couple years to get these younger generation politicians in office that can help move things in these directions. Make it legal and dont call it piracy. Things are changing, and we can only fight it for so long.

The truth about the RIAA revealed (2, Funny)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258348)

By toothpaste for dinner [toothpastefordinner.com]

Fact is, they don't know. (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258349)

They are guessing, and they are being overoptimistic about market prospects with no piracy.

The problem is, there is no evidence that the drop in sales from their expectations was due to piracy.

Drop in sales can be due to the market; DVDs and ticket sales may no longer be attractive -- drop in sales figures may reflect people seeking alternative, cheaper entertainment options.

Yes, piracy exists, yes it has an impact, but no, that impact cannot be reliably measured with any precision -- there are too many factors influencing the sales numbers you get; primarily, the market - to presume sales always go up unless piracy drives them down is just plain arrogant and a head-up-in-the-clouds assumption.

The amount of piracy occuring is by its very nature a relatively unknown factor, especially when they refer to casual copying, or other things which DRM and other measures are purported to prevent ---- the best that can be made is an educated guess.

These from the people who consider lending an original copy of a CD to a friend to be piracy ---- they cannot reasonably measure the total of such things with anything close to an accurate reading, it's just not practical to get statistically relevant information from a population that is being told what many of them do is bad.

Of COURSE reporters and researchers paid by a company with a certain agenda are likely to drastically exagerate the extent and certainty about the loss being due to piracy or not due to piracy.

This is news because!? (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258350)

This really isn't news. It must be that time of the year when a new bill is being introduced. As a shocking rebuttle I could come out and say they're loosing 10 billion a year from puting out crap like pluto nash and some other films i've never seen and can't remember.

Yeah, I know this. (1)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258354)

I lost about 600 BILLION Euro by not selling all that used toilet paper for an estimated 1.2 billion/sheet I set its price at.
 
It's so tremendously hypocritical talking all that bullshit about globalization, a free market and how everyone's gonna save oh-so-much by having goods produced in low-wage-countries of the third world and eastern europe, and at the very same time not wanting to adjust to the demands the consumer - which is not the most unimportant in that market-thing in the end, you know, corporate world? - makes.
If your business model is about to fail, well, get over it, and come up with a new one that's working without mob tactics.

Good news? Ever? (4, Insightful)

PasteEater (590893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258355)

Is there *ever* going to be a point when the xxAA reports good news again? For instance, "Ticket sales are down, but we've increased profits by not releasing so many terrible movies this year." Or, "We increased sales of DVDs this year by reducing the price by $3 across the board."

Not likely.

As long as they keep complaining, they have a way to justify restricting access to digital (and analog) content.

Not that it really matters, because they have the money to pay lobbyists to influnece Congress anyway. But the public may be able to stomach some sort of compromise with regards to fair use restrictions if the xxAAs keep bitching and complaining.
 

Article categorization. (2, Funny)

ndsbriand (870862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258359)

I heard that there are three types of reports from the MPAA: lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I haven't been to a movie... (2, Informative)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258368)

theatre in 2 years, haven't bought any recent films on DVD in at least as long and dropped my NetFlix rental plan to the "cheapo" plan as well. They aren't losing money due to piracy, they haven't released anything I would waste my bandwidth on. They are losing money because they release trash; bad "popcorn" flicks, weak remakes that bear little resemblance to their predecessors, bubble gum movies with pop stars who act worse than they lip synch,etc.. You can blame piracy for a while longer, but eventually the problem will become obvious to even the most oblivious film studio executive.

Oh, irony! (5, Insightful)

porneL (674499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258378)

I don't like being forced to watch copyright warnings, stupid "don't steal" commercials and having trouble with archiving movies, so I prefer watching 'stolen' copies, which don't have any added crap.

Playground games. (3, Funny)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258395)

Seems like the MPAA & the RIAA are having a competition..

they're standing on a rotating platform, trying to see who can spin the fastest.

Re:Playground games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258549)

I just hope they don't puke on me!

Awesome! (2)

dq5 studios (682179) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258403)

If the pirates keep this up, the MPAA will be losing so much potential sales that they'll end up in the potential red and be forced to shut down operations due to the massive potential loss!

*yawn* (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258429)

Too bad the 'media' will rebroadcast this, and the average joe will believe it. Causing more legislature members to jump for joy, knowing they can pass more stupid restrictive legislation to restrict our rights some more.

If they hadnt all be bought, id say write your congressperson.. But they have, so why bother.

I feel so ashamed (1)

bobamu (943639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258436)

I could have bought a dvd every week at a typical cost of £12.99 for the last year.

But I didn't, that means I have clearly stolen £675.48 from the movie industry. I could just as easily have not bought 2 movies every week, oh no, now it's over a thousand pounds worth of none sales that I'm responsible for.

Have I missed any mpaa logic?

Incidentally, I haven't downloaded any illegal mp3's or illegal movies either, but I have recently started downloading some indie made "please download and watch our production we made with no budget" things that might often lack polish but do provide at least some entertainment.

Not losses (1)

siufish (814496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258437)

It's been said a million times before, but they didn't lose the money through piracy. The number is plausible if they count every pirated DVD copy of a movie to have the same value of one sold in Blockbuster, but there's no way all these pirated DVDs will convert to retail sales if piracy is eliminated. And what about the quality of their music and movies? They admit it's pretty low these days, and now that's a real loss in money because people who used to buy CDs and DVDs now stopped to buy them because of the low quality. Why don't they do something about it?

I believe the sales will go down even more if there's no piracy, but that's another topic.

The MPAA froze plans to release the survey. (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258439)

That should tell you a lot right there.

Late yesterday, in response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, the MPAA released some information from the survey, including members' U.S. and global piracy losses. emphasis mine

And that should shed more light on what's going on here.

"A study this magnitude takes some work to roll out," says an MPAA spokeswoman.

"Roll out"...is that the new euphemism for "doctoring" or "falsifying" now?

She says the numbers weren't far out of line with what the industry expected.

But of course!

It uses more consistent methods and incorporates consumer research for the first time...

And we all answer those honestly, don't we?

...the survey specifically asked consumers how many of their pirated movies they would have purchased in stores or seen in theaters if they didn't have an unauthorized copy...

Ditto

Henry, I have some reports here from your Major O'Houlihan that I frankly find hard to believe.
Well, don't believe them then, General. Good-bye.

so incorrect... (1)

mikers (137971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258441)

that it is not even wrong. Its just in the wrong ballpark.

+5,Bull$hit

Time to Cash In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258443)

Dear MPAA,

My consulting firm of Cashmore, Cheipe and Cheatham is prepared to provide you with a report showing that piracy costs run into the tens of trillions of US dollars. The price for this report is E200,000.

Really... (2, Interesting)

cpuenvy (544708) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258445)

I would love to know how they can attribute it to piracy, instead of the fact that they both release a bunch of crap these days.

2010 Piracy Loss Estimate: (1)

ixtapolapoquetl (622233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258460)

$954.862 trillion.

$529 due to fair use (2, Insightful)

E8086 (698978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258470)

Sure, another guestimate of what they think their losses are based on what they would like to think they're really making.
The real reason I don't belive a word of it is they think they're only losing 244mill in China.

And they claim $529mill in losses in the US because consumers are using their fair use rights to make a backup copy so they don't have to go out and rebuy movies every time a disk gets scratched because the MPAA is too cheap to use scratch resistant disks.

How long until they blame Netflix and Blockbuster because people are renting movies at a prepaid monthly rate instead of buying them.

The math behind this... (1)

The Real Veritas (933288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258478)

What we wanted to make so we could all buy new jets - what we actually made = Piracy Loss Estimate

Theatre Attendence (1)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258487)

It is not surprising to me that theatre attendence is down. Admission prices are sky high, like they were set by oil company executives.

In return for my money, I get to watch commercials before the movies and public service announcements about piracy (by the way, assholes, it's not "stealing", it's copyright infringement). Then, I get to watch trailers, which a really commercials too. Finally, the movies starts, which I might enjoy if I can hear it over the sounds of people's babies crying in an R rated movie or people talking on their cellphones (shut the fuck up, lady!!!).

So now I mainly buy DVDs. Most movies I can buy for the price of two tickets and a hot dog at AMC, and I have something to show for it, not to mention being able to watch it multiple times.

Different picture of losses, but still skewed (2, Interesting)

SafariShane (560870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258495)

From the article:

Critics have faulted some piracy estimates for equating each pirated DVD with a lost sale, when many consumers would have skipped the movie altogether if they hadn't gotten a cheap or free unauthorized version. This time, the survey specifically asked consumers how many of their pirated movies they would have purchased in stores or seen in theaters if they didn't have an unauthorized copy, giving studios a different picture of their true losses.

Asking whether or not a consumer would buy the movie after they have already seen it is going to paint a different picture than asking beforehand. Seriously, how many people who own an unauthorized copy of Battlefield Earth are going to admit they were planning on seeing it in the theater? (excepting /.'ers)

For example, if you asked me if I was going to buy the DVD to Phantom Menace before I saw it in the theater, I would have told you yes. But since watching it opening night, I still have yet to give Lucas that sale. I'll probably end up owning it when Lucas releases his super duper special aniversary hd/blue ray dvd reworked editon of all nine movies, number 17.

Now, because Hollywood puts out mostly crappola these days, most movies would fall into my phantom menace catagory. Hence, it stands to reason that because some people are currently "screening" films before they decide to pay for it, the movie industry is experiencing a two fold effect.

1. Crappy movies generate less sales than would be expected if consumers could only see the trailer to decide whether to go/buy or not.

2. Great movies generate more sales than would be expected if consumers could only see the trailer to decide whether to go/buy or not.

Who sees a problem with good movies making money and poor movies bombing? Anyone? Bueller?

Not priacy, just practicality (1)

Treacle Treatment (681828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258504)

I don't go to movies because the ticket is $7 and then popcorn and a coke is about a billion more dollars. I don't BUY DVDs because the ones I buy usually get viewed only once (they are boring) so everthing I view now is rented from NetFlix (low risk). Finally I get PLENTY to watch with TiVo.

They are way off! (5, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258510)

Let's assume every man, woman, and child on earth consumes the equivalent of 10 pirated DVDs per year. Let's further assume that there are currently about 10 billion people on earth, and that each DVD's list price is US$20. Then, the lost sales are really:

10 x 10,000,000,000 x US$20 = US$2,000,000,000,000 = 2 Trillion US Dollars

This clearly dwarfs the cost of invading Iraq and giving Baby Boomers their Social Security benefits put together, therefore it is much more important. It is in fact, as shown by the objective calculations above, by far the most important issue on earth today. More than global warming, AIDS, tuberculosis, environmental pollution, shortages of potable water, collapse of fisheries, ozone layer depletion, overpopulation, lack of medical care, famine, poverty, slavery, wars in the Third World, tyrannical dictatorships, nuclear weapons proliferation, exploitation of the many by the few, rampant governmental corruption, compromised information and news media, organized crime, in short more important than anything.

Someone should tell the RIAA.

Dont forget to HDTV cable. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258512)

I cant see spending 20+ bux for a dvd, when most of it is on cable on-demand and in HD.

Sounds like the MPAA is out of touch with consumers. Pay for crap quality? I wont even steal that crap quality.

Rental Wars (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258518)

I haven't bought a single DVD since I started my subscription to Blockbuster Online. With Netflix and Blockbuster Online competing, prices are very reasonable, why would anyone buy a movie when they can have any DVD in existance sent directly to their door within 1 day? I'm sure piracy is to blame for some of the lost sales, but realistically 90% of the people who pirate aren't going to buy the movie.

New Study (1)

pugsley328 (972650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258531)

I would like to see a study of how much money they make by double charging its customers for the same copyright....

You pay to watch it in the theater, then buy the dvd, then buy the PSP disc. I now own three copyrights. Oh wait, I mean I paid triple.

I lost $2.7 billion last year (3, Funny)

NoSuchGuy (308510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258551)

Everybody copies my program, nobody pays me!

I lost $2.7 billion last year. Oh on Thursday, I have a loss of $5.4 billion. On Saturdays and Sunday I have a discount.

I am the owner of 'Hello World'!

A real study (3, Interesting)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258572)

I'd like to see this study done in the real world by a movie studio: Take two similarly popular movies that are projected to perform similarly in revenues over the next few months. Then release both in DVD with all the appropriate promo deals and merchandising. Finally, offer one for free download from their official website via bittorrent or even an easier http download. After a few months they can measure the revenues of each movie. Now, do you think they'd actually do that study? What do you think would be the result?

The real source of any "losses" (1)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258574)

Is people who, having watched a movie (copied or otherwise), realize "OMG, these people make nothing but crap."

(cue obligatory Cheech and Chong sketch: "Does it look like an MPAA movie???")

It's like famous adman Jerry Della Femina always said - the fastest way to kill a bad product is good advertising.

Think of copying as "good advertising."


Arrr, matey! Turn me crank or walk me plank!

This is scary people (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258579)

U.S. movie studios are losing about $6.1 billion annually in global wholesale revenue to piracy, about 75% more than previous estimated losses of $3.5 billion in hard goods.

Shit, those numbers really made me think people. I really feel bad about MPAA and it's about time we start to take this seriously, and no more inane jokes.

I suggest we organize some kind of charity or something where we can donate and help MPAA recover at least a small part of the losses they endure due to the plague that piracy is. It's all our fault, and we should collectively take the blame for it as users of those products.

Also we should insist before your local politicians to lobby for a complete ban of any recordable media, and making the act of creating a backup copy a federal crime punishable jailtime and hefty fines. If you want backups, just support the studios who invested millions in creating those movies to entertain us and educate us and buy several copies of the DVD or CD.

There are some even worse offences, like recording TV shows and radio stations and repeatedly watching them with other people, in other time, and even fast forwarding the ads. This has to stop if we want to preserve the media as it is.

I know people will come and talk about "fair rights" and "recordable media is used for backup of data and personal content" but we know that's just the regular excuses of the pirates, no any CD-R or DVD-R can be used fairly, since it will in one way or another be used for copying existing data, and we know copying is a serious crime.

No sympathy here (1)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258582)

Ah fuck 'em.

I don't pirate movies or music, but I lost any sympathy for the RIAA or the MPAA when they decided to buy laws forcing me to buy hardware with pointless DRM to prevent the piracy I'm not doing.

I'm not pirating, but I have to bear the cost of the MPAA's unworkable "solution", a so-called solution that puts industry spyware in my computers and TVs, and that makes my current hardware obsolete?

Fuck those fat cats.

too lazy to do inverse marketing (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258589)

When they make a movie, they have dozens of marketing experts analyze the movie's plotline, product placements, advertising broken down by demographic and geographic market.

would it be too much effort to break into categories this piracy market instead of just lumping it all together as "bad"?

i'm not very good at marketing, but even I can see that pirates fall into some categories...

* the duplicator factories that get the artwork and labelling to match exactly so they can inject it into the distribution chain

* the guy that crouches in the theater hiding a mini-DV camcorder to get a copy before it goes to DVD

* weird bored guy who has a netflix account and a bunch of really big hard drives. rips the DVD's and then never really watches them again.

* tivo/dvr dude who records movies from HBO/cinemax and moves them to his PC for later viewing

* people who download movies from mysterious torrent sites

Anyway, what I'm saying is that some of the copying that goes on in these demographics is sort of paid for (HBO, netflix) and is after the dvd release anyway, so the MPAA should chill. Other copying (projectionist or guy with the camcorder) is pre-dvd release and HAPPENS IN THE DAMN THEATER so they should be able to get control of that situation if they didn't hire the minimum number of minimum wage ushers possible. Some of the people doing the copying are just being video pack-rats and just feel warm and fuzzy having access to 3000 movies...in my experience these people often buy plenty of DVDs on top of the downloads.

So no great news here, the MPAA and movie studios are stupid and don't understand their non-paying customers any better than they understand their paying customers.

How the F*** is this supposed to be piracy? (2, Insightful)

1tsm3 (754925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258600)

From the article "An additional $529 million in losses came from consumers making copies of legitimate films they bought on DVD or VHS".

Isn't that fair use?

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