15 June 2007

The New Great Lie

Here's a dangerous development:

“Our law enforcement resources are seriously misaligned,” NBC/Universal general counsel Rick Cotton said. “If you add up all the various kinds of property crimes in this country, everything from theft, to fraud, to burglary, bank-robbing, all of it, it costs the country $16 billion a year. But intellectual property crime runs to hundreds of billions [of dollars] a year.”

Cotton is spearheading the new effort, christened the “Campaign to Protect America,” as chairman of the newly formed Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy.

This is clearly total poppycock: the figures for the supposed losses due to "piracy" are hugely exaggerated and the result of wishful thinking - as if every copy represents a lost sale, which is patently false, even for analogue goods, never mind digital ones. Moreover, comparing the theoretical loss of revenue because of copying with the very real loss and pain that a burglary causes is a total insult to the victims of the latter.

It's also worth noting that in the "Campaign to Protect America" we have an apotheosis of weasel words: protect it from *what*? I think we need a campaign to protect everyone from the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, who are clearly a bunch of sad and selfish people if they can come out with statements like the one above.


Anonymous said...

As you noted earlier in the week about traffic shaping, this will be used to justify a future clamp-down on the 'internets' here in the US, allowing lawmakers to tax, spy, and intercept whatever packet they please.

Yes, yes, that's paranoid, but over the years, I've found that the most outrageous explanation is often the one closest to true!

Glyn Moody said...

That's why it's important to expose this for the lie it is, and to spread that fact as widely as possible....