The various industry associations like the BSA, RIAA and MPAA really enjoy publishing bogus stats about piracy as if they’re factual, but that’s their job as industry associations/lobbying groups.
What’s worse is when those bogus numbers are cited as being factual by the press. Last week, we noted that a think tank, backed by the MPAA, had put out a fairly ridiculous report on how piracy was actually “costing” the industry much more due to the “ripple effect” throughout the economy. Specifically, the report claimed that the cost was $20.5 billion — much higher than any previous study.
Of course, the think tank just happened to ignore the full “ripple effect” and only focused on it’s impact directly in the movie industry, rather than the other aspects of the economy, such as the fact that people would spend the money elsewhere, or perhaps on other things like better consumer electronics to watch movies. Not that it makes it legal, but the overall economic impact was greatly exaggerated by double, triple and quadruple counting costs.
Earlier this week, Tim Lee ripped apart the study, explaining how the think tank seemed to get the basic math wrong in explaining the impact. However, in a separate news story about some random patents up for auction that cover a system for catching people in theaters with video cameras, the article tosses out the $20.5 billion number as if it were fact, as a way to justify why such patents might be considered valuable.