Two recent news stories that should give one pause (but probably won't because the subject matter's too esoteric). First, AfterDawn reports that the Government Accounting Office has taken a hard look at the numbers the RIAA and MPAA have quoted for years. Numbers documenting how much they lost to piracy. Numbers showing how file-sharers are destroying their livelihood. Numbers that were totally made up.
In the second story, TorrentFreak shows that -- according to their own numbers -- piracy seems to have little impact on the growing digital download market. According to the numbers, it looks like a simple case of market shift. CDs -- which are very profitable -- are declining in sales, while digital downloads -- low margin items -- are on the rise.
So what do these two stories mean taken together? At the very least, it means that the entertainment industry is not just in deep denial -- it's delusional. Instead of adjusting to a changing market, they're placing the blame on a minor problem by making it a major one.
So the MPAA and the RIAA have gone to war. People have been dragged into court, and hefty fines levied -- based on made-up numbers. Legislators have been stampeded into passing draconian laws that trap the innocent -- based on made-up numbers. Countries are being strong-armed into complying with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) -- based on made-up numbers.
As the laws continue to become more severe, more former innocent (and legal) acts are becoming grounds for prosecution. Have you copied a CD to your computer? Used to be legal -- RIAA claims it isn't anymore. Loaned a DVD to a friend? You're doing some unauthorized distribution, friend.
And what happens when everyone becomes a criminal (and liable for arrest, prosecution and fines) -- based on made-up numbers? What happened to alcohol consumption during Prohibition?