Networking

MPAA says they made a mistake in college piracy estimates

According to a study by the MPAA, college students using P2P account for 44 percent of the industries losses. If you listen to Newsweek, that number is closer to 15 percent.

According to a study by the MPAA, college students using P2P account for 44 percent of the industries losses. If you listen to Newsweek, that number is closer to 15 percent.

From Newsweek:

The MPAA has used the study to pressure colleges to take tougher steps to prevent illegal file-sharing and to back legislation currently before the House of Representatives that would force them to do so.

But now the MPAA, which represents the U.S. motion picture industry, has told education groups a "human error" in that survey caused it to get the number wrong. It now blames college students for about 15 percent of revenue loss.

The MPAA says that's still significant, and justifies a major effort by colleges and universities to crack down on illegal file-sharing. But Mark Luker, vice president of campus IT group Educause, says it doesn't account for the fact that more than 80 percent of college students live off campus and aren't necessarily using college networks. He says 3 percent is a more reasonable estimate for the percentage of revenue that might be at stake on campus networks.

"The 44 percent figure was used to show that if college campuses could somehow solve this problem on this campus, then it would make a tremendous difference in the business of the motion picture industry," Luker said. The new figures prove "any solution on campus will have only a small impact on the industry itself."

There is currently legislation before the House of Representatives that would require campuses to implement measures to guard against illegal downloads.

From PC World:

The bill, if passed into law, would require college campuses to "develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity." Would this bill have been created if the original research data showed 15 percent rather than 44 percent? I'm doubtful that it would.

I don't mind paying for what I have. I don't use P2P unless I am downloading a Linux distribution. I think that piracy is wrong, but this sounds to me like the MPAA was crying wolf. Even worse is that new legislation is being considered to curb a problem, which is incidental at best, as a result of that wolf crying. How do you think piracy issues should be addressed?

Additional information:

Oops: MPAA admits college piracy numbers grossly inflated (ArsTechnica)

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