05 March 2008

Getting the Facts About Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement is an emotive area, generating more by heat than light. Hard facts are hard to come by, which makes this mammoth report on the subject in the UK particularly valuable. It's full of good stuff, but for me the killer was page 209, which looked people's attitudes to copyright infringement.

Here are the numbers: 70% don't think that legal download sites have the range of materials that illegal ones do and 64% would pay for stuff if it were available. As for the "three strikes and you're out" idea, 70% said they would stop if they got an email from they're ISP - but practically the same number, 68%, thought it very unlikely that they'd get caught anyway, suggesting that things aren't quite as black and white as some would have us think. (Via TorrentFreak.)


Anonymous said...

The problem with anything that asks for intention is that people will often give the "right" answer even when, in practice, they would do the exact opposite.

NIN recently released an album online that you could download for $5 but many people still went for the free version anyway. (Many people on slashdot noted that the NIN website was down and you couldn't get it from their site but I still suspect the numbers don't add up.)

Initially people said there were no legal downloads, then they said that everything was DRM-crippled, then they said it was too expensive. $5 for four CDs worth of music suggests that it's not really the money...

Glyn Moody said...

Well, of course you're right: people do give the answer they think they should. But it's not clear to me what the "right" answer is here; and it cuts both ways.

And I'm afraid I don't buy M. Orlowski's analysis. The question is not about how many downloaded it as a torrent, but how many bought it that wouldn't have done so at a higher price.

I have downloaded the free sampler, and intend to pay the $5 for the rest: it's such a low price as to be almost negligible (well, in a Western context). I'm sure many others will feel the same.

Moreover, the mega-expensive option has sold out apparently, so the model NIN are using looks pretty successful to me.