53 Billion Pirates Can’t Be Wrong

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Actually, 53 billion pirates can’t exist. The world population is estimated to be 6,892,982,184. But, according to the US Chamber of Commerce sponsored MarkMonitor’s report, this is how many site visits is generated by 43 “digital piracy” sites that were observed. To put that into perspective, this is about 7 visits each year by every single person of Earth’s estimated population at the time of this post.

Granted many of these sites are probably visited by the same people, these figures are still quite impressive. At the time of this writing, thepiratebay.org alone claims 40,412,921 peers are active. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing just how many individuals visit pirate sites.

I want to take a look at what I think is a ridiculous quote where this report equates the sell of fake drugs with sharing digital media.

“Whether it is the sale of counterfeit bags and fake pharmaceuticals or illegal distribution of movies, music, and software, online IP theft is theft—plain and simple,” added Tepp. “Rogue websites have no place in a legitimate online market. If left unchecked, these sites will continue to flourish at our expense and further hinder our economic growth. The MarkMonitor report underscores the urgency of enacting proactive policies to enhance enforcement tools to shut down these rogue websites.”

“Plain and simple.” A fact paid for by the nation’s tax dollars. Now let’s look at the vast difference in visits generated by people downloading media vs people purchasing counterfeit drugs and other vids.

* The 43 sites that were classified as ‘digital piracy’ generated over 146 million visits per day, representing more than 53 billion visits per year.
* The combined traffic to the 48 sites selling counterfeit physical goods is more than 87 million visits per year.
* The 26 sites selling counterfeit prescription drugs (separate from the counterfeit physical goods analysis) generated 51 million visits per year.

Wow! That is quite a difference visitors. Sure, file-sharing is free, but I would have thought with something as plain and simple as “theft is theft” we wouldn’t see such an astonishing gap between the visits by “thieves” to one type of site over another. If this yields any useful information, it is that the amount of people willing to download from a pirate source is far less than the amount of people willing to buy from a pirated source, let alone from a legitimate source.

Data transferred does not equal a sale lost!

The rate of software piracy in the US is reported to be at a rate of 20%. It is a 59.9% average across all nations studied worldwide as of the Fifth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study of 2007.

Strangely, a much lesser rate of software piracy is reported in regions with larger software markets. Meanwhile, the dollar losses claimed in these regions is tremendously higher. We’re talking billions of dollars higher. How can this possibly be you ask? A very astute question. I’m not quite certain it is possible. Let’s see what the report has to say about it.

Lower piracy regions and markets like Japan, North America, and Western Europe have among the highest dollar losses. These markets are so large that piracy at relatively low levels can generate significant losses.

Wtf? Did this report by the Business Software Alliance just state that dollar losses from piracy have little to do with the actual amount of piracy? Yes it did. Such figures are generated by the industry based on how much they have for sale, not how much is pirated. If I offer licensing to use software which I price at one billion dollars and one person uses it without purchasing from authorized distributors, I have lost a billion dollars that I would otherwise have been guaranteed.

In other words, the software industry has control over the amount of losses reported by way of creating a larger market. A larger market equals larger losses.

Losses
The retail value of pirated software is calculated using the size of the legitimate software market and the
piracy rate. The actual formula is: Value of Pirated Software = (Legitimate Market)/ (1-Piracy Rate)- Legitimate Market.

DC finds that worldwide losses from piracy increased 20%, […] from 2006 to 2007. Losses to the industry from piracy were calculated using the known size of the legitimate software market in a country or region and using the piracy rate to derive the retail value of software that was not paid for.

Here I was being told by the government, news media and intellectual property industries that pirates are to blame for the software market’s losses and along comes the software industry telling me they themselves are responsible for the amount of losses by increasing market size.

How are these piracy rates calculated anyway?

The total software base is the amount of software,
legitimate and pirated, installed during the year. It is obtained by multiplying the number of PCs receiving
new software during the year by the average number of software packages per PC that were installed in 2007.

Oh. Right off the bat they are calculating based on figures they can’t possibly fathom. Nobody knows how much software I’ve installed from pirated sources with out purchasing. It could be anywhere from zero to thousands of software packages. Multiply that unknown amount by the number of people who install pirated software and… oh wait you can’t. The amount of people who download and install pirated software is also not known. I don’t know what to say. Should I bother posting any more about how the BSA or other content industries gather such data?

Nothing gained does not equal something lost! We have a serious problem when we enable the same industries claiming a loss to have a direct influence over creating the amount of losses claimed. This is one of the largest threats to the security of the nation’s economy and puts a great deal of jobs at risk. These markets should not be allowed to grow, as they have demonstrated market growth as being the largest cause of creating economic damage. We simply can not afford to plan for economic growth based on calculating anything other than real numbers above zero. These hypothetical losses are baseless and have, thus far, only led to a tremendous amount of tax dollars being spent on poor research and attempts to enforce laws against non-commercial data transfer.

Which is the real economic loss? The data transferred for free or the black hole of government spending to pursue am imaginary threat?

Update: It looks as tho RapidShare is fed up with biased reports and may seek legal action against MarkMonitor. The fact that RapidShare has been operating as a legitimate service for years and has been labelled a “digital piracy” site in this report really takes away any chance credibility the report may have had. -STOP WASTING TAX DOLLARS ON SHIT REPORTS US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE!!!
Edit: The USCC is not an agency of the US gov’t (I have always assumed them to be. That “US” part fooled me >_<). They are known to be the biggest spending lobbyist group annually. Tax dollars are not directly spent on these reports which are in turn used to persuade government officials to spend tax dollars on things like shutting down services like RapidShare, apparently.

Also, here is zeropaid post regarding the 53 billion visits reported. It displays some interesting examples of just how deceptive such reports can be. I think we can safely toss MarkMonitor’s report in the rubbish bin. You can read more here http://notgetcaughtdownloading.com/

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