Saturday, September 05, 2009

Seven million filesharers? More or Less

The good people at More Or Less have been having a poke around in the figures for filesharing cited by Mandelson and chums to justify the clunking fist.

It turns out - after they dug and dug - that the figure is based on a report commissioned by the BPI. So, not entirely impartial, then.

Oh, and the survey size was quite small. So it turns out these 7 million filesharers are based on the confessions of just 136 people. And they were only 11.6% of the sample, so the research company just whacked the figures upwards:

That 11.6% of respondents who admitted to file sharing was adjusted upwards to 16.3% "to reflect the assumption that fewer people admit to file sharing than actually do it." The report's author told the BBC that the adjustment "wasn't just pulled out of thin air" but based on unspecified evidence.

How would you even be able to have a solid figure for making that assumption?

Oh, and also, the seven million figure is not only based on deciding arbitrarily to boost the numbers of filesharers, but by also adding an extra six million people to the numbers online - Jupiter, who did the research, estimated the size of online Britain as 40 million people, but at the time, the official estimate was just under 34 million.

If you adjust the figures to reflect the truth, then the seven million filesharers turn out be closer to 3.9million. Still, on the bright side, the Government can now claim to have helped reduce the figures sharing unlicensed files by almost half.