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$200B Lost To Counterfeiting? Back It Up 283

Posted by kdawson
from the pulled-from-some-orifice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Over the weekend, the NY Times ran a story about how the recession has impacted product counterfeiters. In it, the reporter regurgitates the oft-repeated claim that counterfeiting 'costs American businesses an estimated $200 billion a year.' Techdirt's Mike Masnick asks the Times reporter to back up that assertion, noting two recent reports (by the GAO and the OECD) that suggest the actual number is much lower, and quoting two reporters who have actually looked at the numbers and found (a) the real number is probably less than $5 billion, and (b) the $200 billion number can be traced back to a totally unsourced (read: made-up) magazine claim from two decades ago."
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$200B Lost To Counterfeiting? Back It Up

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  • Big Business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Traze (1167415) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:41PM (#33118696)
    Trying to get more free money from the government?
    Gasp!
    • Re:Big Business (Score:5, Insightful)

      by popo (107611) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @01:41AM (#33120066) Homepage

      The idiotic claim made by big business is that every counterfeited product "would" have been purchased had it not been counterfeited.

      The claim not only illustrates a complete lack of understanding of the basic supply/demand curve, but gives us yet another example of a deeply flawed business model which relies on legal threats and big government to plaster over it's shortcomings.

      I for one see counterfeiters as a necessary force: Reminding us of the stupidity of major-brand retail prices, and their massive disconnect from underlying value.

      • Re:Big Business (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tehcyder (746570) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @07:54AM (#33121578) Journal

        I for one see counterfeiters as a necessary force: Reminding us of the stupidity of major-brand retail prices, and their massive disconnect from underlying value.

        If you don't want to pay brand-name prices, how about not fucking buying brand-name goods?

        • Re:Big Business (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:19AM (#33121728)

          I for one see counterfeiters as a necessary force: Reminding us of the stupidity of major-brand retail prices, and their massive disconnect from underlying value.

          If you don't want to pay brand-name prices, how about not fucking buying brand-name goods?

          Way to state the obvious. I have one too "if you don't want to go bust, get a working business model". Well thats my contribution to the save the obvious foundation for the week. Wait here's an even better one "drinking water makes you less thirsty". I am on fire today.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ubermiester (883599) *

        Reminding us of the stupidity of major-brand retail prices, and their massive disconnect from underlying value.

        While I agree that most "brand name" products are overpriced based on their utility, you must remember that there is also a great deal of money spent to let people know that the product even exists. I am not sure of the numbers, but a surprisingly large percentage of a product's budget is allocated for marketing. And when you look at how things are sold to a mass market, it starts to make sense.

        Why, for example, do we know that there even is a new "Toy Story" movie? Not because of word of mouth. We ar

  • by Kepesk (1093871) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:43PM (#33118722) Homepage
    I don't see how counterfeit products could do much damage to the US job market. Most of the legit products are made overseas too, right?
    • by feepness (543479) on Monday August 02, 2010 @11:21PM (#33119296) Homepage
      So all we have left is design and marketing, which is what counterfeiting "takes".
      • by linzeal (197905)

        As well as retail. My ex-gf works in fashion down in LA and to pay the lease she needs to sell at leas a single high-end designer dress every few days. Last year she in the garment district she saw someone selling a fake Dolce Vita skirt for 20 bucks, this skirt retails for over 400. How can she compete with that? Should she start buying the fakes to stay in business, because that is what it comes down to.

        • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @01:14AM (#33119964) Homepage

          Well, did the person selling the fake skirts make it clear that they were fake (or at least, did the customers know)?

          If so, then all they wanted was a skirt that looked a particular way; they didn't care who made it. Your ex's store, or the designers who supply her, can only try to compete in three ways, it seems to me.

          First, quality; their skirts may be made of better materials than the fakes, or may be made with better techniques. If so, try to differentiate based on this. Of course, some people are satisfied with synthetics instead of natural materials, or poorer materials instead of finer ones, or single stitching instead of double stitching, so it won't always work, and the price difference may remain substantial. (There was an interesting article in the NY Times the other day about the Italian fashion industry and wool quality)

          Second, price; how cheaply can the real skirts be made? Maybe it would be more efficient to sell skirts out of a van, instead of out of a store that is expensive to lease. It looks like the fake guys are winning on this front, but there's no reason that they necessarily have to.

          Third, brand; there may be some cachet that can be used to make money out of the brand of the manufacturer or the distributor. Some people presented with identical products from different vendors at different prices may prefer the more expensive one as a form of conspicuous consumption. (You can see it elsewhere; a real Picasso is worth a lot, but a forgery, no matter how identical, is worth a lot less to people who care about this sort of thing) It can work, but it has problems. Some people don't care about brands, but just want a nice skirt. If the fake is good enough, they'll probably buy it since it costs less than the same thing from elsewhere. Some people care about brands, but are excluded due to artificially high prices set by the people controlling the brands. They'll deliberately seek out the fake skirts in order to most closely approximate the real thing.

          I suspect that the ex et al have been trying to compete only on brand, and perhaps partially on materials (although usually brand justifies more of an increase in price than materials). If it's not working as well as they'd like, perhaps they ought to try a different approach?

          • To the extent they will even admit it to the customer, the fakes are still branded to look real. While a customer might understand it is a fake, depending on how savvy they are, the idea is for it to appear real to everyone else. It is the whole status thing, as you noted with your Picasso thing. Perhaps a more similar case would be prints of modern artists. Usually, a given picture is printed only so many times. Each is numbered and the plates are destroyed afterwords. This is to increase the status and th

        • by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:56AM (#33120848)

          My ex-gf works in fashion down in LA and to pay the lease she needs to sell at leas a single high-end designer dress every few days. Last year she in the garment district she saw someone selling a fake Dolce Vita skirt for 20 bucks, this skirt retails for over 400.

          Assuming the counterfeit dress makes any profit at all, the genuine one must be making at least 380 bucks of profit for a price of 400. That means your girlfriend and her suppliers are getting at least 95% profit margin.

          In other words, cry me a river.

          How can she compete with that? Should she start buying the fakes to stay in business, because that is what it comes down to.

          Frankly, if your entire business model depends on selling cheap items at insane markup because they're "genuine", you deserve to go out of business. How could you possibly avoid that, in an economic system that's entirely based on using competition to lower prices?

    • by jonnythan (79727)

      The massive profits over the actual relatively low manufacturing costs go to the American designer/brand (assuming it's an American company like, say, Oakley).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cappp (1822388)
      Think of your average Hollywood blockbuster, cd release, or Apple product. They ship out the production to the cheapest manufacturers so as to maximize their profit at home. Your $200 Rolex doesn't cost $200 to make, far from it. While it's components cost X and assembly, shipping, advertising, insurance, tax et al cost Y you can be sure that X+Y200 by a fair amount. The difference there goes back to the company of origin and therefore the economy of the company's country of origin. Whenever an Ipod gets so
      • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @01:21AM (#33119996) Homepage

        That's one of the reasons countries trying to modernise their economies tend to put a focus on IP creation - it leads to a large influx of cash for a long, long time. Same goes for moving away from a primarily extraction-based economy.

        Well, only so long as other countries respect it. Creation, after all, is expensive but not remunerative on its own; it is publishing that is (or at least can be) where the money is made. It's reasonable to let someone else invest the time and money in creation, and then to copy them cheaply and profitably. Convincing states to not do this is tough, especially if they don't have, and don't expect to have, much local creative effort that could be exploited elsewhere, justifying mutual respect for these rights.

        Given that it seems unlikely that two countries would openly go to war over, say, DVD piracy, copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc. just don't seem like a stable, long term basis for an economy. It's just too imaginary. Extraction isn't too good either, but perhaps there's some other way.

        • by Thanshin (1188877)

          Given that it seems unlikely that two countries would openly go to war over, say, DVD piracy, copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc. just don't seem like a stable, long term basis for an economy.

          How cold and dry is the simple reality.

          Very well put. It's found me in one of those rare days I don't have mod points but consider yourself insightfulized.

  • Maybe newspaper articles should cite their sources and have a list of references at the end like academic papers do. That way at least readers or other interested parties could independently verify the facts in the article.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288)

          Do you know how long it would take them to verify all their sources. Come on, it'd take several extra hours to get a story up. There's no time for that. If you want for confirmation, you'll get scooped by someone else.

          [sarcastic but unfortunately true soapbox off]

      • Do you know how long it would take them to verify all their sources.

        I didn't say that the author needs to verify their source. They merely need to list them. They got that $200 billion figure from somewhere. Cite it.

        • by jd (1658)

          Teh intertoobs, where else? (This is also why newspapers often have typos, even in the digital age. It's cut-and-paste from a lolspeak site.)

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          That's the problem though, they frequently aren't verifying them, so they can't cite them. It's embarrassing to say "we found it at another publication, and are just guessing they did their homework."

          I said it sarcastically but true. Hell, if you look at a lot of the crap being published these days, they're frequently full of spelling and syntax errors. It sucks, but it's the way it is. "Get it out" frequently overrides "make sure it's right".

          As the summary said, th

          • So why exactly hasn't Slashdot (and every other blog on the planet) been sued into a smoking crater? I think you've been pulling plays out of the New York Times book here bud...

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by JWSmythe (446288)

              Well, I've been on the receiving end of a few C&D's [wikipedia.org] for doing what Slashdot does. It all depends on who gets their panties in a wad that day. Carrying parts of their stories can be touchy. Duplicating large amounts of news is well beyond the fine gray line of copyright.

              Generally, we (bloggers and aggregators) all do it with attribution (the read more links, or embedded links). It actually helps them out. Consider a Slashdot story and the Slashdot effect. If Slashdot r

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by EETech1 (1179269)
            I have a few friends that work for the local paper, and they all have to take turns working the night shift. Part (if not all) of the job dities on the night shift include watching the 9pm and 10pm news on all of the local networks to be sure that there isn't anything on that needs to be added to tomorrows paper quick. Ask them what time they have to work till, and they'll smile and say "right after the 10:00 news"
    • They've already thought about that and devised a clever little way [wikipedia.org] to get out of all that, like, work.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dnahelicase (1594971)

      Maybe newspaper articles should cite their sources and have a list of references at the end like academic papers do. That way at least readers or other interested parties could independently verify the facts in the article.

      Heck, even wikipedia articles list their references and are conspicuously labeled if they are in need of references. This article says the figure is from "the authorities".......WTF is that???

      By the way, I work for a company that sells products that could be counterfeited. I estimate that just my company loses approximately 200 trillion dollars a year just from people selling products in our name. Why didn't she report that?

    • Definitely. I'm a pretty anti-regulation person for the most part, but I definitely think that should be made a law.
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Maybe newspaper articles should cite their sources and have a list of references at the end like academic papers do. That way at least readers or other interested parties could independently verify the facts in the article.

      Oh god, that would be so fricking fun for a couple of days...

      Then people would start asking why the news had two or three, very boring, items and soon old unverifiable news would come back.

      It's been a long time since the news became entertainment media, you can't expect people to be now able to digest dry information.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's the counterfeiting capital of the universe. Because of Brazil's 60% duty on imported goods, an a very unfavorable exchange rate, a pair of Nike sneakers made in Singapore for $5 in materials and $0.30 in slave labor costs about R$600, which is a month's wages (or more) for a lot of people there. So, there's a huge demand, and therefore supply, of counterfeit goods.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:32PM (#33119034)

      This is largely not due to high import duties but due to corrupt customs officials. Fucking hell hole, I'm longing to get out of it.

    • by 7-Vodka (195504)

      Because of Brazil's 60% duty on imported goods, an a very unfavorable exchange rate, a pair of Nike sneakers made in Singapore for $5 in materials and $0.30 in slave labor costs about R$600

      Think about what you said again.
      $5.30 to make the shoe + 60% import tax = $8.48.
      At the current exchange rate this is R$14.8

      If it's not the import tax, then where is the added charge coming from?
      I'm sure you can figure it out, it's not a trick question.

      • by rockout (1039072)
        He said it costs Nike $5.30 to make it, not that Nike charges $5.30 + tax when they sell it. Do you see Air Jordans going for $5.30 in the US?

        His point was that because of the high import tax, the exchange rate, and low income of the average citizen, it costs much much more in real money in Brazil to buy a Nike sneaker than it does in the USA.
  • Old media sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte.gmail@com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:47PM (#33118750)

    On one hand, they are trying to salvage old media, and on the other hand they are trying to kill efforts like Wikileaks.

    It seems pretty obvious.

    CNN can just say anything they want, even if it's completely inaccurate and has no sources to back it up. They can just say their source is secret, and nobody is even going to ask.

    Wikileaks, OTOH, shows you the actual docs. That's why they are being persecuted as criminals.

    Encyclopedia Britannica is written by an unknown number of employees under unknown circumstances, and they cite no sources clearly (In the best case, they just cite a bunch of sources that might or might not back up their claims, and there's no direct way to check them easily).

    Wikipedia is edited by the general public, each edit can be easily identified and accredited to a single author, and all sources are directly linked to in most cases.

    And yet, Encyclopedia Britannica is considered more credible than Wikipedia, even when it's been shown that it's far more inaccurate, not to mention outdated.

    Old media has to die, but the almighty economic powers that run this world won't let it go without a fight.

  • Not surprising (Score:4, Informative)

    by lyinhart (1352173) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:48PM (#33118762)
    Oft quoted as the "paper of record", the Times has a history of faking it [wikipedia.org].

    Seriously though, estimating losses due to piracy/counterfeiting is always dodgy since it assumes that a certain number of people would have bought the real deal had the fake stuff not been available.
    • I can't fathom the idea that counterfeit goods compete with authentic ones.

      When I was in my teens, I could find counterfeit Movado watches for ~$30 that were indistinguishable from the real deal. Would I have bought real ones for $1500+? No.

      Of course now that I want a real one, there's no chance in hell I'm going to settle for a fake.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        Not that I give a lot of credence to that $200 billion figure, but I think part of their claims are that people might be buying counterfeit goods thinking that they're legit. For example, it was a while back on a forum that I saw some people that had gotten fake Seymour Duncan guitar pickups off ebay. They were sold for a price nearing authentic ones, and were sold as authentic, but after scrutiny it was discovered that they were knockoffs.

        That said, while it DOES happen, I think it's a lot rarer than mos

        • Good point, which is why I'd never buy anything "counterfeitable" off of Ebay or any other source I didn't 100% trust.
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:49PM (#33118772) Homepage Journal
    The missing element in these claims is the citation of some sort of study that combines an examination of buying power and psychology to determine when piracy or the purchase of a counterfeit good represents a lost sale to the afflicted rights holder and when it does not. You can't just multiply retail cost of original good by estimated number of IP violations; that very likely surpasses the upper bound of the "damage" that has been caused. It's faulty journalism to ignore this fact or pass the responsibility for the veracity of this information to somebody else, but that doesn't seem to stop anybody from breathlessly regurgitating these sky-high numbers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)

      You also have to consider that the market price is artificially inflated to "cover the damage" of piracy. Thus, if there was no piracy, the prices would (hypothetically) be lower. So not only do you have to consider the sales lost rather than the total pirated, but you also have to use the "real market value" not the inflated market value. Further, you would have to subtract from this total the amount lost per sale due to the devaluation.

      If the value ends up negative, then the industry is actually making mo

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Kongzilla (892890)
        "You also have to consider that the market price is artificially inflated to "cover the damage" of piracy. Thus, if there was no piracy, the prices would (hypothetically) be lower. " This isn't necessarily true if a competitive market isn't in place. Goods sold under a monopoly regime are typically more highly priced. In this case, piracy and counterfeiting introduce competition into the market, so hypothetically, if there was no piracy, prices would be higher. Your argument holds well enough for fake Guc
    • Recently I was doing some research for a paper and ended up looking up a bunch of news stories about counterfeiting. Not all of the Times' coverage of counterfeiting has been so negative. This one in particular [nytimes.com] is worth a read.
  • by Icegryphon (715550) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:50PM (#33118776)
    We all know that the Federal Reserve prints more money all the time
    without anything producing any goods for it.
    Let me introduce a little friend I call Hayek. [wikipedia.org]
    • by copponex (13876) on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:25PM (#33118976) Homepage

      It is not enough to recognize that 'social justice' is an empty phrase without determinable content. It has become a powerful incantation which serves to support deep-seated emotions that are threatening to destroy the Great Society. Unfortunately it is not true that if something cannot be achieved, it can do no harm to strive for it. Like chasing any mirage it is likely to produce results which one would have done much to avoid if one had foreseen them. Many desirable aims will be sacrificed in the vain hope of making possible what must forever elude our grasp.

      -Friedrich Hayek
      "Law, Legislation and Liberty"

      Hayek: the unoriginal "too hard; don't try" philosopher.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Minwee (522556)

        It is not enough to recognize that 'social justice' is an empty phrase without determinable content. It has become a powerful incantation which serves to support deep-seated emotions that are threatening to destroy the Great Society. Unfortunately it is not true that if something cannot be achieved, it can do no harm to strive for it. Like chasing any mirage it is likely to produce results which one would have done much to avoid if one had foreseen them. Many desirable aims will be sacrificed in the vain ho

      • by feepness (543479)

        Hayek: the unoriginal "too hard; don't try" philosopher.

        Tell that to the millions who voted for the "lesser of two evils" in the last election(s).

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:55PM (#33118808)

    The whole "back it up" line made me think for a second, they wanted people to copy money to preserve it from counterfeiting...

  • by SIGBUS (8236) on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:16PM (#33118934) Homepage

    When they start using rectal numerology to prop up a story like this, I can't help but think that this is a propaganda piece to grease the skids for ACTA.

  • by NynexNinja (379583) on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:17PM (#33118938)
    An article would not an article without the obligatory "Obama" comment. It doesn't matter if the article is about counterfeiting or sewing, I read the comments intently for the Obama comment, and sure enough am able to find it.
  • Five billion dollars is still a lot of money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by paulsnx2 (453081)

      5 billion is a small number in the context of the national economy. In fact, it is so small as to be dwarfed by the margin of error when Considering economic trends.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dnahelicase (1594971)

        Not only is $5,000,000,000 a relatively small number compared to GDP and the market as a whole, but you have to look at who is losing the money.

        The counterfeit manufacturers only sell this product once. Once they sell it to a distributor (most likely someone in the US) the product becomes part of the economy.

        Those counterfeit goods that are sold on the street (as in pictures article) were originally purchased from China (probably also true for the legit product) but the one making the money is the stre

    • Re:$5,000,000,000 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Monday August 02, 2010 @11:34PM (#33119370)

      Five billion dollars is still a lot of money.

      But put the numbers in perspective.

      US GDP $14,260,000,000,000 (2009 estimate, courtesy of the CIA [cia.gov])

      $200 Billion equals 1.4% of the GDP
      $5 Billion equals 0.035% of the GDP

      One is a problem worthy of immediate attention. The other is a problem to worry about when nothing else is pressing.

      • Even if something is a small part of the economy, it is still worth dealing with. There are lively hoods at stake, as well as just a general sense of justice. After all if you have your wallet stolen, you still want it solved, if possible, despite the face that the value in harm is so small compared to the GDP as to be statistical noise.

        What it does do, though, is determine what is worth spending. If you have a problem and spending $1 billion dollars can reduce the problem by 10% well then if that is worth

  • I have no idea what they are using as a strict definition of counterfeiting but.. 200 bill seems easily doable. Seriously with china alone stealing massive amounts of military and manufacturing tech its very easy to get up into the high 100s of billions when a single lost arms deal can be ~30 billion.
  • Yeah but $200B 20 years ago is worth in the trillions in todays dollars! They better get on that counterfeiting before the losses are greater than the economy can possibly produce!
  • Direct or Indirect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Monday August 02, 2010 @11:00PM (#33119190) Homepage

    The place to start with this is doing something like purse shopping. You can go to a Coach store or Prada and find a really nice purse for $1500 and an OK one for $500. Then go to a store that sells similar knock-offs and you can see things that look more-or-less like the Prada ones for $100. Then stop by the street vendor with a absolutely faithful Prada copy for $35.

    There are two things that the average Joe learns from this adventure:

    1. Only an idiot would buy a "real" Coach or Prada purse.
    2. There has to be cheaper version of just about everything else.

    What this does is by the mere presence of the counterfeit goods in the marketplace is reduce the willingness of the public to buy originals. It doesn't matter what the "original" is, obviously there has to be a cheaper counterfeit version available. This applies to everything from caviar to computers and automobile parts to luggage.

    $200 billion lost because of the presence of counterfeit goods? Easy. The direct losses might only be a few million, but pushing the idea of "just as good as" in front of people pushes the originals out completely.

    • by mevets (322601)

      The fashion industry has dealt with counterfeiting for ages; the cheap knock offs actually help them. The real key (to tthem) is about creating something fashionable. The hilarity is that they have to watch what people do with the knock-offs to figure out what fashionable means. Oh-Bla-Di, Oh-Bla-Dah, ....

    • by Urza9814 (883915) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @01:34AM (#33120040)

      Eh, I'd say the lesson there is 'don't buy overpriced name-brand'. I mean, I'd never buy a Rolex watch. I see a counterfeit Rolex and all that tells me is 'this is what that expensive watch is actually worth, in terms of parts and labor'. But I'm not gonna buy the counterfeit either. Instead I'll buy a Casio or a Yes.

      If there's a dramatically cheaper counterfeit of something available, that means you're probably being ripped off when you buy that item. Notice that it's mostly the overpriced luxury goods that get ripped off. And movies and such, but that's just because blank DVDs are dirt cheap compared to a DVD movie - again, you're getting ripped off when you pay $20 for a piece of plastic. Money too - worth $100, costs a couple cents.

      Anyway, my point is that there only has to be a cheaper version if the original version is a colossal waste of money.

    • $200 billion lost because of the presence of counterfeit goods? Easy. The direct losses might only be a few million, but pushing the idea of "just as good as" in front of people pushes the originals out completely.

      Really? If it wasn't for counterfeits, nobody would buy cheaper goods? Let's see... I can get an Audi A3, or a Honda Civic for about 15k less. Or heck, the VW Golf, from the same company, can be had for 5k-8k less. I can get a Sony Bravia TV, or I can get a Vizio for about 30% less. Heck, if you want to push the comparison all the way, you can look at the audio industry, where "as good as" systems and components can be had for 95%.

      Face it, "just as good as" is built into the capitalist system. Counterfeitin

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Some things are actually worth the price. For example, the manufacturer's auto parts fit better, last longer, and run better than your typical 3rd party OEM part. A $100 bookcase from Ikea is not going to compare to something made from solid oak. The Model M isn't just a fancy name for a keyboard.

      But when it comes to designer stuff, it's like a set of Monster cables. The presence of $5 cables that are functionally equivalent is just an indicator of what the cables are actually worth. Those companies that ma

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aceticon (140883)

      So you're telling us that counterfeiting produces informed consumers which means that those selling high-price-high-margins branded products loose money because people ... *gasp* ... know better!?

      We should close price comparisson sites then: by the same argument they cause the loss of trillions of dollars by letting consumers find out where to buy equivalent products for the cheapest price.

      Same thing for reviewing sites and magazines: if they didn't inform people, they might very well have gone and bought t

  • by feepness (543479) on Monday August 02, 2010 @11:13PM (#33119252) Homepage
    The "victim" still has their product to sell. It's not like I'm "stealing" something from them.
    • by Raineer (1002750)

      The "victim" still has their product to sell. It's not like I'm "stealing" something from them.

      This is a very valid point. They should stop calling this "theft".

  • Fair use is worth $ Trillions in the US alone. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/fairuse-economy/ [wired.com] An independant, peer-reviewed study.

    Oh wait... finally. I get it now. Copyright trolls want a slice of that untapped uncontroleld trillion dollar economy.

    I'm not going to RTFA, or all your comments. I just read the headline and posted this. Any redundancy is intentionally accidental.
  • The manufacturing industry sold it's soul to China and now we are supposed to feel bad for them?

  • The internet is full of viruses, hackers, porn, movie pirates funding al queda, terrorists and sexual predators. A day doesn't go by with the mainstream media spreading these fearmongering stories.

    Why do they do this? Because their business depends on it.

    Ask anyone who gets their opinion of things from the 6pm news about the internet and they'll tell you what they've been told to say.
  • Bad numbers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @12:37AM (#33119764)
    I've said it a thousand times, and I'll say it again: the statistics that the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, etc. claim are misleading, and very wrong. They are drawing conclusions that suite their cause (wallets), not getting to the root of things. I do not condone outright piracy and counterfeiting, though hopefully this explains some of it. They count every instance of and illegal or unauthorized copy being transferred as a lost sale, or a net loss. This is not so, and I contend that most downloads or sales of cheap counterfeit merchandise are in fact a direct result of ridiculously high prices for legitimate items, rather than a cause of high prices.

    Back in the days of cassettes and when VHS was king, I used to get all sorts of things from the local library. I'd often dub copies for myself and return the borrowed copy almost immediately. When we all transitioned to CDs, I kept up this practice. I was also known to download a fairly hefty amount of software from local BBS's, and later the internet. My reason for doing this? I simply could not afford to spend $12 on a tape I wasn't sure I'd even like, $15+ for a CD that might include one song I liked, or $20-$30 for a movie I'd watch once or twice then stick on a shelf. Buy a shirt, a hammer, or a TV, or a pizza that turns out to be crap? You can return it for a refund. Not so with music, movies, software, etc., even if it doesn't work right (in the case of lots of software and computer games). Nearly everyone has bought a CD they don't like, and they are all screwed.

    So perhaps downloading, torrents, and p2p file transfers are rampant. I'm sure of it. But much of this is due to high prices and the flooding of the music/movie/software markets with utter crap. Were the opportunity to download for free not there, most of these unauthorized downloads would absolutely NOT translate into sales. I buy a few CDs a year to support my favorite few artists, as I have for the past 15+ years, which is what I can afford to buy. Yes, I download more than that, but if I couldn't, I still would not buy more. I did not buy movies before I could download them, and I never will - not enough re-use value. Software? I use linux and almost strictly free software now, and have no need for windows junk. A lot of people are like me, too.

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