US piracy numbers over estimated

By Mike on 6:19 pm

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US piracy and counterfeiting estimates have been greatly over estimated.

That's what the Government Accountability Office is saying. The RIAA, MPAA, and the FBI frequently cite the figure of $250 billion and 750,000 jobs lost per year due to copyright theft. The damning report concluded that it was impossible to place a dollar or job figure on looses due to piracy. The GAO concluded that it could not figure out where the FBI had gotten the $250 billion figure.

Pro-IP groups assume that one incident of piracy equals one lost sale. Ars Technia reports that substitution rates, "how much of the infringing activity should be counted as a lost sale", are only based on "assumptions" at best.

The US administration under Bush and Obama has been actively defending the Pro-IP side of the debate. The RIAA and MPAA recently began calling for the government to mandate spyware on computers to automatically detect and delete infringing material. They also want border agents to search travellers' electronic devices and confiscate them if pirated material is found. It's another stepup in their war against piracy that has many online civil rights groups worried.

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