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Dutch Study Says Filesharing Has Positive Economic Effects 336

An anonymous reader writes "In a study conducted by TNO for the Dutch government the economic effects of filesharing are found to be positive. According to the 146 page report (available for download, but in Dutch) filesharing is good for the prosperity of the Dutch: with filesharing more media are available, even though this costs the media industry some profit. One of the most noticeable conclusions is that downloading and buying are not mutually exclusive: downloaders on average buy just as much music as non-downloaders, but they buy more DVDs and games then people who don't download. They also tend to visit more concerts and buy more merchandise."
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Dutch Study Says Filesharing Has Positive Economic Effects

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  • by alxkit ( 941262 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:20PM (#26516697)
    ...but where's the torrent?
    • by gravos ( 912628 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:38PM (#26516915) Homepage
      We should also point out the frequently cited possibility that downloaders' propensity to purchase is positively correlated with downloading (the so-called sampling effect). Google around for this and you will find at least 10 papers that discuss it.

      Example: http://www.rufuspollock.org/economics/p2p_summary.html [rufuspollock.org]
      • by aurispector ( 530273 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:43PM (#26517765)

        Music downloads are just a form of free advertising. Hell, people are falling all over themselves to write software to do it, set up websites to promote it and use them to get the music. The music industry doesn't have to do a thing. There's still a ton of money to be made on merchandising, touring, advertising, etc.. If only the music industry could just grasp this very basic point...

      • by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @02:25PM (#26518255)

        What worries the various *AA's is the opposite effect. When someone downloads the next big thing and discovers it's crap so they don't but it.
        They would rather just have you buy everything sight unseen. It's not like you can take it back.

        • by M1rth ( 790840 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @03:32PM (#26519043)

          *Gasp* you mean the MafiAA's business model is predicated on the customer being too stupid/uninformed to know when what they are buying is worth the money?

          For Shame! I would never have known... well actually I would, because I make it a point not to purchase anything without doing the research first.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

          Obviously they fear this.
          The overhead cost of managing a single, huge superstar is much lower than managing dozens of smaller bands.
          So they'd rather have the consumer buy the latest Britney Spears album than go out and discover new artists and bands, regardless of any musical qualities.

      • by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @03:27PM (#26518975)

        Sometimes it is a matter of exactly who either makes or keeps their money. In the case of the Dutch they probably import more software and music than they export. It keeps those nice dutch dollars at home.
                  Florida used to be like that. All phone sales were fine with local law enforcement as long as money was being brought into Florida no matter how crooked the sale. The trick was that it was understood that they were never to try their sales pitches on Florida residents. Salesmen rarely really know the entire game plan. The salesmen were simply told that no Florida residents were to be called as then sales taxes would have to be collected. Back in 1980 there were probably at least 60,000 crooked phone sales persons working in the Ft.Lauderdale area alone.

      • Well I can give my own personal anecdote that backs that up. In the late '90s I heard all these critics going on about this show called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" written by this guy I had never heard of and based on a movie I hated. But they didn't have a WB station within reach from where I lived. So finally out of curiosity I fired up the mule and downloaded a couple of eps to see what the fuss was about.

        I liked the show enough I ended up buying the complete Buffy, Angel, and Firefly which I have sitting in their pretty boxes on my shelf. If it wouldn't have been for P2P I would have never seen it(we never did get a WB station around here) and thus wouldn't have dropped nearly a grand on the set. So in at least my case they made a nice profit off of P2P.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Firefly was actually a FOX show. Not that you would have known that, since FOX kept removing it from the schedule to show other junk ("When Gerbils Attack"). I hope FOX treats Whedon's new Dollhouse show better than they treated previous shows (like Sliders, Brisco County Junior, et cetera). Buffy ended its career on UPN (right after Star Trek).

          For me the shows that P2P helped me to discover were cable programs, since I lack cable. The Shield. Monk. Galactica. Rome. Sopranos. All of these ar

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:21PM (#26516717) Homepage Journal
    since 15th century, dutch speaking countries (low countries) have led the world in modern and visionary concepts, in areas ranging from humanism to trade. erasmus, spinoza and more. and now this ....

    a little big nation. kudos.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 )

      They also were the worst colonizers (have a look at the dutch east indies corporation).

      So, as I'm sure most dutch will tell you, they're far from perfect.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by daniorerio ( 1070048 )
        I'm not sure what you are referring at, but I'm quite sure the Dutch East Indies corporation was (largely) responsible for making the Netherlands one of the richest countries on earth (at that time) and initiating the Dutch "golden century". So define "worst" colonizers?

        Honouring my Dutch blood, I couldn't agree more with the second part of your post :-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

          I believe he refers to what this colonizing has done to the colonies.

        • So define "worst" colonizers?

        • So define "worst" colonizers?

          The Belgians.

        • define "worst" colonizers

          Doesn't Afrikaans derive from Dutch?

    • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:38PM (#26516925) Homepage Journal
      If only they'd learn to cook, they'd be perfect.
    • Translation (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrvan ( 973822 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:46PM (#26516997)

      And to do something in return I'll give you my attempt at translating the interesting parts of the article (which is quite interesting). Note that the net effect on the content industry is still negative, and the net gain for Dutch prosperity is positive, this might be because quite a bit of the losses are outside the country. It can also be seen as a proof of the failure of the normal free market model to give an optimal allocation of resources in the case of near-zero marginal costs.


      File sharing has positive net effect on economy

      The economyic effects of file sharing on Dutch prosperity on long and short term are positive. Consumers obtain access to a wide range of cultural products due to file sharing. On the other hand it is likely that there is a decrease of turnover in the sales.

      This was shown by a joint study of TNO, SEO Economic Research, and the Institute for Information Rights (IViR) into the economic and social consequences of file sharing for music, films, and games ordered by the Ministries of Education & Culture, Economic Affairs, and Justice. This analysis is conducted based on a study of statistics and recent scientific literatur, interviews with frequent downloaders, a representative survey of the Dutch population and a number of informative workshops with the [media] sector.

      Estimates of the volume of global unauthorised downloading are widely divergent. The global count is at least several billion files per year, a substantial part of the international Internet traffic. Around 4.7 million Dutch Internet users of 15 years and older have downloaded something without authorisation in the past year. Citizens view downloading and sharing of music, films, and games as socially accepted, but know little of the technique and regulation involved.

      Net prosperity gain

      For the music industry the downloaded recordings cannot be translated 1-on-1 into lost sales. Many downloading consumers would not have bought the same amount of music [that they downloaded] against current prices if downloaded would not be possible. Additionally, there are people who download music in order to get to know it and buy it if they like it.

      Although there are also positive effects of downloading music on sales, a negative effect on the turnover of the involved sectors is likely. This is especially the case for music because downloading music has become the most normal. There is a differentiated effect based on the artist: well-known artist are most impacted negatively, while relatively unknown artists can even profit when file sharing increases their reknown. For society at large the lost turnover of the [media] sector is opposed to the gains by the large group of downloaders that would otherwise not have made a purchase. The net effect on prosperity is substantial.

      Rise of new business models

      The music and film industry are faced by the challenge of matching their supply with the changed consumer demand. New business models are on the rise. The music industry is moving to use new sources of revenue (concerts, merchanise, sponsoring). There is a place for music recordings, but in the future it will probably become impossible to run a company on music recordings alone. Within the movie industry the markets of cinema and DVD sales are still growing. DVD rentals are down strongly. In the longer term this might change as faster internet becomes available. Here also new business models are important. The gaming industry is growing in spurts, especially console games and their combination of hardware and software. Especially here file sharing is less prevalent than in e.g. PC games, where turnover is stagnating. A platform bound official game has so many advantages that it is not inconceivable that this branch will be able to aboid file sharing to a larger degree than the music industry.

      • Re:Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

        by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @03:19PM (#26518871) Homepage

        > It can also be seen as a proof of the failure of the normal free market model to give an
        > optimal allocation of resources in the case of near-zero marginal costs.

        Wrong. The purpose and effect of copyright is to prevent to operation of the free market. This is not a judgement of the value of copyright: it is just a fact. The economics if "intellectual property" monopolies have little to do with markets.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cliffski ( 65094 )

        This study keeps talking about DUTCH prosperity and the positive effects. Please note that hollywood is in the USA. If none of the businesses that are affected by piracy are in your nation, then you dont need a phd to realise that your countries prosperity is affected differently to the countries actually making the content.
        Not suprised to see slashdot stories glossing over this with a YAY FILESHARING IS GOOD spin.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thiez ( 1281866 )

      We're morons about the whole magic mushroom thing though. Current government is being a bitch about drugs.

    • Ok, apart from the humanism, trade, Erasmus and Spinoza - what have the Dutch ever done for us?!

      • by Alinabi ( 464689 )
        They also gave us Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        We've sold you New York, for a ridonculous low price, for one thing.
      • Supply a good excuse to download music and other media? :-)
      • the lists STARTS with spinoza. go to wikipedia, search spinoza, read who he actually is, then keep on reading. you'll get stupefied with the sheer number of dutch names on the list that will grow in front of your eyes.

        a little clue tho, for the sake of charity ; reading spinoza will start you on the subjects of Age of Reason, which evolves into Age of Enlightenment, which evolves into modern day societies and societal norms like freedom of speech, individual freedoms, equality and more.
      • by aoteoroa ( 596031 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @03:05PM (#26518719)
        Ok, apart from the humanism, trade, Erasmus, Spinoza, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, and inventing the stock market - what have the Dutch ever done for us
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BrentH ( 1154987 )
      Just a reminder: Dutch is spelled with a capital D, just like how american is spelled with a lowercase a. Thanks,

      The Dutch.
    • in areas ranging from humanism to trade. erasmus, spinoza and more. and now this ....
      Particularly in the trading of humans, and getting chicks to pay for half. Hooray Dutch. And having a football team whose name is spelled like a household cleaner but pronounced eye-ax.
    • Seriously Slashdot. Is your collective brain just switched off? Why bother doing any analytical thinking when we have something pro-piracy? If the story was "Study Says Filesharing Has Negative Economic Effects", and the study simply associated file sharing with low purchasing rates, the thread would be bursting with people flexing their sceptic muscles, repeating "correlation is not causation", and quite rightly too. Now we have a study associating piracy with high purchase rates. Come on: a five-year-old

      • we all know that the mentioned causes and their effects exist, due to the examples we live and see in our daily lives.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mozk ( 844858 )

        And I'm tired of seeing every study like this tagged as correlationisnotcausation. We understand, taggers. Yet you don't seem to understand that given a large enough number of samples, correlation implies causation. It's like you're saying, "Hey, I learned this clever, semi-alliterative phrase in eighth grade and I'm showing everybody how intelligent I am by abruptly and automatically stating it whenever there is any mention of a study correlating two things."

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hedwards ( 940851 )

          Except it doesn't imply causation either. Correlation of that sort implies that there is some sort of meaningful relationship between the two. It does not imply a causal link in most cases.

          What it implies is some sort of reliable link between the two. It could be a causal link, or it could be that there's a common precondition or it may be that it just is the natural consequence of a favorable environment for both.

          But it certainly does not imply causation. It's that sort of thinking that's got people convin

  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:23PM (#26516731)
    This is the evidence to wwhat I've suspected all along - file sharing is patriotic and the RIAA is trying to destroy the economy by undermining media sales with their spamigation method!
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:31PM (#26516841) Homepage

      Well... discouraging consumption is discouraging consumption.

      Piracy can contribute to a perception of plenty. Many people
      tend to spend more freely on many things when they percieve
      that things are "going well". Push people to "do without"
      and they might do just that. They may also become entirely
      too good at it in the process.

      That's not even getting into the psychological implications
      of "doing without". Most people associate this with dire
      economic misfortune.

    • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:35PM (#26516881)

      I think the first response by american institutions will be:

      "It has a positive benefit for the dutch because they are stealing from us. Which clearly proves it has a negative benefit for us".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

        And thus grows the axis of evil ;).

        • Maybe it's all a marketing ploy to promote Empire: Total War.

          Dutch Pirates are stealig your mojo*!

          *: That's how intellectual property was called in empireal** times.

          **: The times of The Empire. Not to be mistaken with empirical times, i.e.: Time which has been derived from experiment and observation rather than theory.

          ***: There's no "***" call; why the hell are you reading this?

    • by artg ( 24127 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:45PM (#26517781)
      I know it's not the same thing, but I wonder what the result would be if a similar study were done on burglary ? It might show it's good for the economy (growth in replacement sales, higher turnover for insurance companies etc.) even though some group (householders) suffer a little. Given that politicians currently want us to spend our savings, maybe they'd even see it as a good thing and give burglars a tax break or something ? After all, they're happy to help the thieves in the stock market.
  • Filesharing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xaemyl ( 88001 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:23PM (#26516739)

    This is definitely the case for me. I'll download an mp3 or two, and if I like them, I'll go out and buy their album (normally directly from the band if Im able to), and go to their shows if they play locally, buy their merchandise, etc.

    I've discovered a lot of great music from filesharing, that I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise, and went on to buy their stuff.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:31PM (#26516833)

      Information wants to be $17.99

    • Re:Filesharing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:07PM (#26517255) Homepage
      So what they've discovered here is that people who are really interested in music (i.e. they download a lot of it) tend to buy more music than people who are not that into it (i.e. they download very little). This is not surprising ("obvious" would be a better word), nor does it say anything definitive about the effect of downloading on sales, because (all together now) correlation does not equal causation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by swilver ( 617741 )

        I'm getting tired of this stupid "correlation does not equal causation" phrase. It's a phrase people add to any article these days when it has any kind of statistics in it, probably because it looks cool.

        While in general it is true, especially when comparing two completely unrelated subjects, that does not mean that there's no causation at all when comparing two sets of statistics. Chances are pretty good for example that downloading music and buying music are related, although it is of course unclear as

    • The article isn't talking about it having a positive effect on media sales. Even the summary said this:

      even though this costs the media industry some profit.

  • I knew it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:23PM (#26516743)

    This is the final proof that pirates are destroying the economy!

    Pirates are like terrorists!

    And they pervert children to pirate more!

    Pirates steal music and musicians everywhere are suiciding because they're so poor.

    Did you already forget the article? Or do I have to blabber about children and wars for a while until I totally misdirect your atten... Until we really concentrate on the pirate comunist music thieves.

  • by knutkracker ( 1089397 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:25PM (#26516771)
    Double Dutch?
  • Google translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by I cant believe its n ( 1103137 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:31PM (#26516843) Journal
    File sharing net positive economic impact

    The economic effects of file sharing on the Dutch welfare in the short and long term net positive. Consumers will benefit as a result of file sharing access to a wide range of cultural products. On the other hand, a fall in turnover from the sale of sound recordings, DVDs and games as a result is plausible.

    This is reflected in joint research by TNO, SEO Economic Research and the Institute for Information Law (IViR) to the economic and cultural consequences of file sharing for music, movies and games on behalf of the Ministries of Education, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Justice. The analysis was conducted on the basis of a study of statistics and scientific literature, interviews with fervent downloaders, a representative survey of the population and a number of informational workshops in the sector.

    Estimates of the volume of the global download unauthorized movement vary widely. The world is in any case, many billions of files per year, a substantial part of international Internet traffic. Some 4.7 million Dutch Internet users aged 15 and older in the last 12 months unpaid ever downloaded. Citizens see the download and share music, movies and games as a general social acceptance, but know little of the technology and regulations that it faces. Regulatory unclear

    It appears that there are many unclear about the admissibility of download. The download for personal use of copyrighted music and movies may. Downloading games is prohibited. In the case of p2p networks is often not only downloaded, but material, often automatically, again made available to others. This upload files without the permission of the owner, as such not allowed.

    The effects of unpaid downloading the purchase of paid content are difficult to determine. Download and buy are not mutually exclusive: an average music downloaders buy more DVDs and more games than people who never download. Even more downloaders go to concerts and buy more merchandise. Net profit prosperity

    For the music industry is that downloaded pictures of 1-to-1 can be translated into lost sales. Many consumers who download music would not be in the same amount at current prices to buy and download unpaid not feasible. There are people who download music and get to know where to buy if they like. Although there are also positive effects on the purchasing behavior of downloading, is a negative impact on the turnover of the sectors likely. This is particularly true for the sale of recordings, especially as downloading music has become the most established. In addition, there are differences between artists known artists seem to have more damage, while relatively unknown artists may even benefit when exchanging files increased their awareness .. For society as a whole is against this turnover of the sector the benefits of the large group of downloaders who would otherwise never have to purchase. On balance, there is a significant welfare gains.

    New business models emerging The music and film industries face the challenge to match their offerings with the changing consumer demand. New business models are emerging. The music is made for new movements to tap revenubronnen (concerts, merchandise and sponsorship). There is a place for music recordings, but in future it does not seem possible only on the basis of recorded music to run a profitable business. Within the film industry to grow the markets visit cinema and DVD sales still. DVD rental has fallen. Over time this can change quickly if the Internet is available. Again, there are important new business models. The game industry is growing boisterous, especially the console games and their hardware-software combination content. Here is file sharing on the watch less than eg PC games, where turnover is now stagnating. A related official platform game has so many advantages that it is not inconceivable that this industry is the file-sharing practice the music industry now faces a far greater extent could avert or circumvent.
  • Study Conclusions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yotto ( 590067 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:34PM (#26516873) Homepage

    So, assuming this study is accurate, there are two conclusions one could come to:

    1) Downloading opens people to things they would not know about, causing them to buy more. So, downloading should be allowed as advertisement.
    2) The people who download are the most fervent fans. So, downloading should be allowed as a means to not drive them away.

    Any others? /I was a a 1) when I stopped downloading, and consuming, all RIAA media.

    • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:58PM (#26517133)

      3) People have a fixed amount of money to spend on entertainment, by downloading shitty music on the internet they spend that money on other entertainment products/services.

      For the Netherlands that's a win because the loser is the music companies and they are mostly overseas corporations and the winners are live performances which provide local employment and so on.

      Of course I haven't read the article, not knowing Dutch and not bothering with a translate this page thing, and I know nothing of the music industry - for all I know the Dutch produce 99% of the world's music, though I doubt it.

      • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

        I think this needs to be clarified.

        I personally believe, that every human has a fixed amount of money he or she is willing to spend on music. Those who are unable or unwilling to spend a single buck won't do so no matter if or if not downloads are available.

        Those who will spend, say 50 bucks a month on music would still do so if, and only if, they had found something worthwhile to spend the money on. I believe the possibility of downloads does indeed have a negative impact on the music industry insofar as p

    • 3) Copyright for most media downloaded without authorization in the Netherlands is held by parties outside the NL. Not paying for foreign products leaves the Dutch consumer with more money to spend locally.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I would say that the most important conclusion is that the *IA*'s of this world are actively reducing the welfare/wellbeing of the people in order to make more profit.

      Communism/socialism without bounds has been failing for some time now; I get the feeling that we can see more and more that capitalism without boundaries is also failing.
  • Not spending money on music = Spending money on something else

    If people don't spend a thousand "dollars" on music, they might buy a new TV... TVs are probably bringing more money to the Dutch economy than buying songs online where not even a penny is going back to the country's economy...

  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:42PM (#26516953)
    The music industry doesn't care if the end result of file sharing is good for the economy (which I can easily agree it probably is) because they don't make money from the economy as a whole. They don't care if fans of music (including file sharers) are more inclined to pay outrageous prices to see a concert - most music companies don't make money from concert proceeds. For me, however, POLITICIANS should be paying attention to this information. Sure, they may have some lobbyist chewing their ear out about how bad file sharing is and that it must be stopped before the end of the world comes as a result but they need to be shown the bigger picture so that they can make the best decision for the people.

    I know. I know. I can hope that there are still some politicians who are actually interested in doing the right thing for the people they represent...
  • by smchris ( 464899 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:49PM (#26517025)

    That American corporate/government policy would have it backwards?

  • Initial situation: 100 people have the file. Music company has x dollars.

    Process: I get copy of file.

    Final situation: 101 people have file. Music company still has x dollars.

  • If this study was meant to persuade the RIAA to change their policies, then so be it. But until those policies are changed, it remains true that rights are being violated. The ends do not justify the means.
    • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:21PM (#26517437)

      What you say is true.

      Those rights were created so that society would benefit, not so the individuals would benefit.

      The point of those rights was to encourage the creation of new works.

      The rights have been expanded to the point that they now frequently prevent the creation of new works.

      I think we should respect those rights as far as they promote new works and not any further.

      I am particularly against paying money to encourage artists who are dead to make new works.

      • Those rights were created so that society would benefit, not so the individuals would benefit.

        Beaumarchais, the french man who came up with the novel idea of "authors' rights" was a buddy of Jefferson, and his idea was most defiantly about protecting the rights of the authors from the (then) printing industry who felt they could profit from any text as they pleased without having to share their profit with the author.

        Media cartels have since perverted those ideals and once again moved the power from the author to the businessmen who control the means of distribution... until the internet took that c

        • Firstly,

          I should say that I am coming from the original american idea of copyright and that other countries may have different ideas. However, since american corporations are pushing the extension and perversion of copyright, it is that version I think needs to be addressed.

          On that point, the constitution said,

          " To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

          Notice that it does not

  • A counter argument (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @12:56PM (#26517113)

    This works because the Dutch still generally care about private property rights, and have a sense of the need to reward people for hard work. The "entitlement mentality" has not fully set in because most of Dutch society is still working from the older mindset, but slowly we are seeing this falling away across the Western world. Give it another 100 years, and it's doubtful that this will be true.

    The fundamental problem with this issue is that the business model is forced to work based on the good will of the buyers. In every other area of the economy, you don't get access to the goods and services until you pay for them or come to an understanding that allows you to get them for free. Why should this be any different?

    One of the things we need to face up to here is that in another century or two, manufacturing technology will be advanced enough to allow people to fabricate complex physical goods from raw materials. What will happen when any good on the store can be replicated at the cost of materials? I suspect that a pirate culture would end up meeting with utter disaster here.

    So really, we need to face up to the fact that we need a culture that says "you don't deserve it just because you can't pay for it or don't want to pay for it." That sort of thing would pay dividends in other areas, since such a culture would also tend to promote an attitude that you have no right to tell others what to do on most things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And that's why capitalism sucks. Business model is based on maximizing profits instead of the good of the public. I'd much rather have an economic model that depends on the good will of the public than the good will of private corporations.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by swillden ( 191260 )

        Barring government involvement to prop up the private corporations, capitalism IS an economic model that depends on the good will of the public. If the public doesn't buy, the corporations fail.

      • And that's why capitalism sucks. Business model is based on maximizing profits instead of the good of the public. I'd much rather have an economic model that depends on the good will of the public than the good will of private corporations.

        The business model cannot function in the long run if the only thing allowing the business to profit at all is the tendency of the people to no plunder its products. You can argue until you are blue in the fact that there is a major difference between copyright infring

        • by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @02:43PM (#26518463) Homepage

          Give me one good reason why anyone has a natural right to simply copy the recorded work of an artist or musician.

          Give me one good reason why anyone has a natural right to prevent someone from making a copy of any recorded work.

          You can argue until you are blue in the fact that there is a major difference between copyright infringement and outright theft, but in the end, the entitlement mentality that justifies both on moral grounds is the same in both cases.

          The justification isn't the same unless you've already made the assumption that copyright is a legitimate form of property. The moral argument supporting private property rights is a product of scarcity, which doesn't apply to copyrights. Even the pro-copyright crowd doesn't really treat copyrights as though they were property; differences include time limits, statutory damages, higher penalties than are imposed for outright theft, etc.

          If the law simply set the same standards for damages for copyright infringement as for theft it would resolve the issue instantly, as there are no damages for copyright infringement -- not unless you consider competition itself to be a tort demanding recompense (the "lost sale" argument). It is copyright itself, not infringement, which demands justification.

  • Small (niche) content producers benefit from file sharing. Because more and more people encounter content that isn't advertised or played in the mass media. When there wasn't no Internet people had rely on the radio/tv/newspapers for bringing them the newest cultural content but now people can find suitable content for them self. Therefor I think that it's fair to share files. Look how much the big corps. earn and how much the musician/actor/director etc earn. The revenues are too large to complain.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Because more and more people encounter content that isn't advertised or played in the mass media. When there wasn't no Internet people had rely on the radio/tv/newspapers for bringing them the newest cultural content but now people can find suitable content for them self.

      Which exactly why the media cartels are investing so much money and energy to fight it: They're becoming irrelevant.
      It scares and angers them.

      They had built themselves a vast and complicated system for controlling the creation and distribution of culture, and now the people are taking that power back!

  • Downloading is really self-inflicted advertising.

    When more companies understand this, information will flow more efficiently.

    (And we will be billed for services and other stuff instead of just the data.)

  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:10PM (#26517305) Homepage Journal

    I've posted this before but when Napster was in its height, I bought more CDs in the year I used Napster than in the 13 previous years I owned CD players. I downloaded a LOT of music (I'd search for the letter A, download, listen to bits of tracks, then go out and purchase new CDs with the tracks I liked, etc.) and discovered a lot of new and old acts I would never have been otherwise exposed to, in genres ranging from rap to country; jazz to pop, and everything in between. I also tracked down tracks I remembered listening to on 8-track when I was a toddler but couldn't remember anything other than most of the tracks had names of foods in them - it turned out the album I was looking for was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' Whipped Cream and other Delights -- and the specific track I was trying to find was Taste of Honey. Well, the next day I actually went into work late because I had to run out and find and buy that CD. I felt like I was in heaven - I had tracked[sic] down a childhood favorite! I played that 8-track so much I wore my parents' copy out. It took me a long, long time using Napster to find that song. Then, I'd export the list to a spreadsheet, delete everything and download more to try. The vast majority of tracks I'd play I'd think "crap" but there were many, many downloaded tracks that would prompt me to go out and buy the CD. On the way to work, I would usually listen to top 40 radio, too - and buying what I liked.

    There were many, many others and I was buying up to 15 CDs a week at one point. I would literally go to Best Buy, Strawberries (now defunct) or drive down to RI to Luke's Records every single day and I'd buy 3 to 5 CDs. That was every work day, on the way home from work, or if I found something I really "had" to have, shift my schedule and work a later day and buy it on the way to work. Granted, I had a lot more "disposable" income then, but were it not for the RIAA turning against its biggest "fan base"/"consumer base" I'd still be buying at least 3 to 5 CDs a week.

    As soon as the RIAA started making noise about filing suits I quit not only using Napster, but I also quit listening to top 40 radio. In fact for quite a few years I listened to only Christian talk radio and the local big classical station (then WCRB 102.5 and 99.5, now it's just on 99.5).

    I only recently started purchasing CDs but my purchases are very few and far between, and it is usually based on recommendations of my favorite artists (for example: Dave Gilmour recommended Radiohead for folks who like Pink Floyd, since fans are clamoring for more), or on what I find on Pandora or what friends in bands or who are composers expose me to. :) I also check out Youtube a bit, but the RIAA labels are trying to alienate me even further by demanding that obvious Fair Use projects are being removed at their demand.

    The RIAA has lost me as a big-spending customer. I track down USED CDs now, on the rare occasions I do buy.

    They need to embrace models such as the original Napster; I am NOT happy with the rip quality of downloads - I used it to sample music at random, and would discover whole new worlds of music that appeal to me in genres you normally couldn't PAY me to listen to (e/g. rap, country) because I could try it for free and then go out and buy the perfect-quality product on CD. I'd always shop around though - I nearly always refused to pay more than $15 per CD.

    That's a lot of revenue the RIAA has "lost" - and because I don't expose myself to top 40 radio, I'm not even tempted to buy new material. I have most of the old material I want. RIAA members, are you reading this? That's up to $225 per week I'm not spending on music now, and the temptation truly is not there because I don't expose myself to stations where payola drives the play lists.

    Now, I spend my entertainment dollars on DVDs and cable TV.

    I might consider iTunes when I upgrade to an iPhone - I hate Windows (it's installed on my desktop ONLY for games) but might put Tiger on my

    • Worth mentioning -- while it depends on the album, you can find plenty on BitTorrent now in FLAC format, which means you're getting exactly the same quality you'd get from buying a CD.

      Is sound fidelity the only reason you were buying CDs?

      For my part, I don't buy CDs, because I can no longer trust physical media. There's always the (good) chance an optical drive will crap out on me, or the disc will be scratched. More worrisome is the chance that it will come with some form of DRM.

      However, I find things like

    • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @04:10PM (#26519497)

      I've posted this before but when Napster was in its height, I bought more CDs in the year I used Napster than in the 13 previous years I owned CD players. [...] As soon as the RIAA started making noise about filing suits I quit not only using Napster, but I also quit listening to [music] radio. [...] The RIAA has lost me as a big-spending customer. I track down USED CDs now, on the rare occasions I do buy.

      Same here. I bought half of my CD collection during the year I used Napster. Most of the other half was from the years before. I have bought less than 10 CDs in the years since then (less than 5% of my collection), and almost all of those are later albums by bands I bought in that period or albums by indie artists not sold through the RIAA.

      My tastes broadened immensely, and I went on buying frenzies because of being stoked about music because of Napster. Now, I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore, and I just can't get excited about music. I pretty much listen to NPR or podcasts in the car, and when I do listen to modern music (almost always because an NPR fund-raising drive has finally driven me nuts after several days), I just don't ever feel like buying an album. Part of it's the fact that my tastes in music have fossilized with age, but even when I do like a new group, I just don't want to give the RIAA my money. Screw 'em. They killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

  • Ignoring that "downloader" is being used in a derogatory way, I believe it. I'm the music companies' worst nightmare; I don't listen to their music. Since I don't know what the latest band/song/blond-bimbo is, I am far less likely to buy a CD or MP3 of the music.
  • The Dutch get a positive economic effect because that's where all the gray-area seedboxes are leased! And since there is likely far more U.S. content being shared than Dutch content, the net result for the Dutch is a positive.

  • While I don't have any verified tests or studies to support this claim, I do have my personal experiences to draw my own conclusions.

    (1) Electronic file sharing has not affected music/movie purchases. Some percentage of people will always share. There were a lot of dubbing cassette decks in the 70s and 80s designed specifically to copy cassettes. In the 90s and this decade, we use MP3s.

    Similarly, we recorded TV and movies on our VCRs. There were pulse amplifiers to eliminate the effects of copy protection.


    • While I don't have any verified tests or studies to support this claim

      I guess that means we can completely ignore the rest of your post because it is, at best, an anecdote.

  • Warning... TNO... (Score:3, Informative)

    by thrill12 ( 711899 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @01:47PM (#26517813) Journal
    ...big grain of salt needed.
    While TNO has been in the far past a research *company* with a respected name, nowadays they are more and more on the hand of whoever it is that pays them to do a study.
    When I saw this headline in Dutch papers, it clearly was that "more and more people are downloading without paying". Maybe somewhere in the appendix, it read that they would buy songs when downloading.

    TNO was the same agency that approved our voting computers multiple times [wijvertrou...ersniet.nl] in a row - the same ones that are forbidden right now.
    TNO also researched the chip used for the public transport system in The Netherlands, and approved its security multiple times. [heise-online.co.uk]
  • Am I the only one who is utterly bored of the correlationisnotcausation tag?
  • From the few English language translations it seems as if the study was limited to studying the economic impact of file sharing to content publishing businesses (Seagate products store a lot of porn, you know, their CEO said so).

    Nor did it seem to address the economic impact of reinventing/remixing/reusing/repackaging/redistributing/mashing up digital content available for free (legally or illegally)

    If so, then the study, by no means, is an accurate depiction of the economic impact of file sharing.

  • Sounds like the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org] to me.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker