Friday, January 13, 2012

How Copyright Industries Con Congress


I’ve yet to encounter a technically clueful person who believes the Stop Online Piracy Act will actually do anything to meaningfully reduce—let alone “stop”—online piracy [..] But then I saw the very astute David Carr’s otherwise excellent column on SOPA’s pitfalls, which took those inflated numbers more or less as gospel. The bogus numbers Carr cites [..] represent a substantial retreat from even more ludicrous statistics the copyright industries long peddled [..].

Intellectual property infringement was supposedly costing the U.S. economy $200–250 billion per year, and had killed 750,000 American jobs. That certainly sounded dire, but those numbers looked suspiciously high, and I was having trouble figuring out exactly where they had originated. I did finally run them down, and wrote up the results of my investigation in a long piece for Ars. Read the whole thing for the full, farcical story, but here’s the upshot: The $200–250 billion number had originated in a 1991 sidebar in Forbes, but it was not a measurement of the cost of “piracy” to the U.S. economy. It was an unsourced estimate of the total size of the global market in counterfeit goods.

January Temperatures

"But there is snow, it is really cold in New York, climate change is not real". Let's look at the overall trend. Pick Janua...