Tuesday, May 23, 2006

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Up until now, most of the harrassment of filesharers has taken the form of outrageous demands of civil restitution, but the RIAA has kept the short, lead tube of criminal prosecution tucked into its sleeve, just in case.

It's now being brought down into the skull of some alleged German file sharers by the IFPI, the RIAA's international wing:

"No one should be surprised that we are stepping up our campaign in this way," said John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. "Internet piracy has hurt the whole music community in Germany, with legitimate sales falling by a third in just five years."

Interesting. Let's look at the IFPI's figures, shall we?

Their facts on German music do, indeed, suggest sales have fallen by a third - although that covered six years between 1997 and 2003, and it was "over 30%" rather than a third. And that was measured by sales rather than units - so a portion of that could be explained by cost-cutting.

Units per capita did, indeed, fall by a third - from three to two. With figures that low, though, that could comfortably turn out to be rounding error rather than actual sales drop - you're measuring the difference between two "virtually none"s, which requires very sharp eyes.

And in the first portion of the sales slump - 97, 98, 99 - how much of the decline there could seriously be put down to filesharers?

And what's the point of the criminal prosecutions? To teach everyone a lesson? But what about this from the IFPI's report on Germany:

# Only 13% of the German population believe that file sharing is legal, compared with 74% who believe that it is illegal

So, virtually the whole of the country already knows it's currently an illegal activity, and yet the country is still so much a nation of filesharers that it's doing so much damage to the German music industry only jailing people will make it stop? Isn't a law that people feel happy about ignoring a bad law rather than one that needs using?


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Only 13% of the German population believe that file sharing is legal.."

That's the same % of people who don't know whether it's legal or not so, despite all the education there are as many misinformed people as there are uninformed ones. Good thing they're not spending the taxpayers' money on beating piracy. Oh...

PS That stats quote reminded me of a recent sex survey: 74% of women admitted to mastub@ting; the remaining 26% thought no-one noticed how long they took in the bath.

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