Following the shutdown of Megaupload, Internet folk hero Jonathan Coulton asked:

[W]here is the proof that piracy causes economic harm to anyone? Looking at the music business, yes profits have gone down ever since Napster, but has anyone effectively demonstrated the causal link between that and piracy? There are many alternate theories (people buying songs and not whole albums, music sucking more, niches and indie acts becoming more viable, etc.). The Swiss government did a study and determined that unauthorized downloading (which 1/3 of their citizens do) does not create any loss in revenue for the entertainment industry. I remember but am now too lazy to find links to other studies that say the same thing. I can’t think of any study I’ve seen that demonstrates the opposite. If there is one, please point me to it.

Now, before addressing Coulton’s remarks, I want to be clear — since The Internet can be touchy about such things — that I’m not picking on Coulton; I like some of his music.

Having said that, his remarks about the evidence concerning piracy are quite common. Facts and evidence are important to discussions of copyright policy, and it’s important that we understand exactly what those facts are.

Piracy Causes Harm

As for pointing to studies that demonstrate the harm of unauthorized downloading, I would point to the same link Coulton provided. The Swiss government report1 — not, technically, a study — cites an academic literature review that points to not only one such study but fourteen.

The review, The Economics of Music File Sharing – A Literature Overview, by Peter Tschmuck (Microsoft Word version here), examines 22 studies which look at the effects of filesharing on the music industry. Because some are skeptical of industry generated studies, it should be pointed out that all the studies here are independent, academic studies — working papers, academic journal articles, and dissertations. Of these 22 studies, 14 — roughly two-thirds — conclude that unauthorized downloads have a “negative or even highly negative impact” on recorded music sales.2

Studies since Tschmuck’s only confirm these findings. One notable contribution is economist Stan Liebowitz’s study The Metric is the Message: How Much of the Decline in Sound Recording Sales is Due to File-Sharing? released in November 2011. In it, Liebowitz translates the conclusions of existing studies on the effects of unauthorized downloads on recorded music sales into a common metric to answer the question posed in his title.

His conclusion is stunning: “file-sharing has caused the entire decline in sound recording sales that has occurred since the ascendance of Napster.”

Looking at the available evidence, one thing is clear. It is a fact that there are multiple academic studies that show a significant negative effect on music sales caused by unauthorized downloading, and this conclusion has been reached by a significant majority of researchers. Coulton is not alone in being unaware of these findings — you don’t have to look far to find those who don’t know about the existence of these studies.

But there they are.

Enforcement Boosts Legal Alternatives to Piracy

The fact that evidence backs up one of the central premises of copyright law is, however, only a precursor to the real question: what, if anything, should be done to address the harm from online copyright infringement? The role of law in answering this question attracts perhaps the most heated debate. That leads to the next question: does copyright enforcement work?

Some point to the 400+ page Media Piracy in Emerging Economies report, released in 2011 by the Social Science Research Council and funded by the Ford Foundation, as providing evidence that enforcement “doesn’t work.” But that’s not what the report concludes, as the editor of the report itself, Joe Karaganis, pointed out in a Torrentfreak article last week:

We talk about the efficacy of enforcement at some length in our Media Piracy report. Many readers have concluded that enforcement doesn’t work.  But that isn’t what we say.  We say, rather, that we’ve found no evidence that it has worked.

It’s also important to note what the report researchers looked at to come to that conclusion: the research was primarily qualitative rather than quantitative, relying on interviews, focus groups, and analysis of media reporting.

That said, this is but one study. Other researchers have found evidence that enforcement has led to increases in legal purchases of music.

In a paper released last week, Dr. George Barker of Australian National University analyzed the data from a 2006 Industry Canada survey to conclude that “P2P downloads have strong negative effects on legitimate music purchases” and “stronger copyright laws would substantially increase music purchases and music industry sales revenues.”

These findings are confirmed by another recent study by four economists from Wellesley College and Carnegie Mellon University, which determined that France’s graduated response program (Hadopi) caused “iTunes song and album sales to increase by 22.5% and 25% respectively relative to” countries in a control group that hadn’t enacted graduated response programs.

A Multipronged Approach

The idea that there is no evidence showing a harm from online piracy is erroneous, as is the idea that there is no evidence that people will turn to legal alternatives with more effective enforcement.

So where does that lead us?

I think it’s incorrect to draw the conclusion that better enforcement of copyright equals more enforcement. That’s not true in any area of law, including copyright.

But at the same time, I think it’s incorrect to ignore the evidence. There are those who say piracy is only a business model problem, or a marketing problem, and enforcement should play zero role.

This puts copyright at odds with most other issues. Take driving, for example: we prefer to minimize the harm that comes from accidents. To that end, we build safer cars, we have driver education, but we also have traffic laws and cops to enforce those laws.

There’s nothing inherent to copyright law that warrants an exception to this general practice. The challenges faced by creators and businesses that invest in creativity in the online environment are myriad and require continuing innovation to craft sustainable business models and take advantage of emerging technologies. But they also require attention to legal protection of private rights to ensure that the public continues to benefit from the talents and creativity of authors and artists.

Footnotes

  1. The report is in German. I haven’t tracked down an English version yet, but you can read a Google-translated version here. []
  2. Three of the studies found no significant impact while the remaining five found a positive impact. The literature review looked at a 23rd study but did not classify it here since the author presented a mixed conclusion: the overall effect of unauthorized downloads is insignificant, but for unknown artists, there is a “strongly negative” effect on recorded music sales. []

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34 Comments

  1. Pieter Hulshoff

    The cited conclusion from Wellesley College and Carnegie Mellon University was found to be flawed: http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-no-effect-on-itunes-sales-120124/

    • It wasn’t found to be flawed except by “Ernesto” at Torrentfreak. This is certainly not the first time that site has presented misleading or even false information (a previous example here).

      The first flaw noted in the article:

      Let’s start off with how IFPI summarizes the results in their report.

      The analysis found that French iTunes sales saw a significant uplift at exactly the period when awareness of Hadopi was at its highest, in Spring 2009, when the law was being debated in the National Assembly.”

      This is bogus. The researchers don’t conclude this at all. There is no uplift in sales reported. What the researchers found is that in France, compared to five other European countries, more music was sold through iTunes. Looking at the graph below (from the report), it’s clear that the “uplift” in France before Hadopi was introduced (March 2009) is actually much sharper than the two years after.

      I confess I can hardly follow this point. To me, it sounds like Ernesto is calling the conclusion bogus and then simply rephrasing the conclusion.

      The second “flaw” is that the largest uplift in sales occurred when HADOPI was first introduced, not when it went into operation. That’s not a flaw, though — the study’s authors specifically addressed this:

      With respect to the first question, there is no strong theoretical basis in the literature for whether HADOPI’s impact will begin primarily when the public becomes aware of the law or with the actual dates of passage, legal notifications, and legal penalties. Many economic studies of policy changes focus on the date of passage of the new policy as the treatment date. However, because HADOPI went through a significant public and political debate before being passed, and because citizens may not have even been aware of the actual effective date of the law, we believe it possible that public awareness and salience of the law could drive a change in behavior before it actually became effective. Lacking a strong theoretical basis, in our analysis below we test for both effects, finding a stronger impact around the peak awareness of HADOPI than from the specific passage of the law or the dates associated with first notifications of violations.

      Finally, Torrentfreak tosses out an ad hoc theory to explain away the report’s conclusions:

      At the same time Hadopi was introduced (early 2009) there was a lot of buzz around Spotify in several of the countries that were used as a control group in this study. Could it be that Spotify resulted in relatively less iTunes sales in countries like UK and Spain than in France?

      Such a theory would need to be tested, but I don’t see how it could be proven on its face. Spotify was available in the UK and Spain in early 2009, but it also launched in France in mid-2009. What’s more, it wasn’t available in three of the five control group countries — Belgium, Germany, and Italy — until a few months ago. (Other services, like Deezer, were similarly available in France and some control group countries but not others). Not a very convincing alternative explanation.

  2. Pieter Hulshoff

    The review, The Economics of Music File Sharing – A Literature Overview, by Peter Tschmuck (Microsoft Word version here), examines 22 studies which look at the effects of filesharing on the music industry

    Yes, and 12 of those are from the same author: Stan J Liebowitz. I’m happy to see that this author is firm in his beliefs, but if 14 out of the 22 studies concluded it has a negative impact, and 12 of those are from the same author, then the best conclusion is that one convinced author was very active in writing studies.

    • I think you’re mistaken there, Pieter. From my reading of the document, whilst the author indeed lists 12 Liebowitz articles amongst the 61 references in the bibliography, of the 22 studies actually analysed only 2 were by Liebowitz.

  3. It should be emphasised that the criterion for ‘harm’ caused by piracy is not whether sales (of recorded music, etc) are reduced compared to their previous level, but whether they are reduced compared to what they would be in the absence of piracy. In general, if a commodity becomes cheaper and easier to obtain, we would expect sales (units sold) to increase. Online distribution, by means of digital downloads, online ordering for mail delivery, or streaming, makes it *much* cheaper and easier to obtain recorded music (or films, etc) than before (say) 2000. Very roughly, the real price of a music album has fallen by half. And instead of trekking down to a record store, where the item desired may be out of stock, it is now possible to obtain virtually any music ever recorded from iTunes or Amazon at the touch of a button By any reasonable expectation, unit sales should have greatly increased. Yet they conspicuously have not. If this isn’t due to piracy, what is it?

    • Pieter Hulshoff

      A few answers come to mind:
      - Economic problems? The entertainment industry’s actually doing better than most other industries at the moment.
      - A shift in spending from recorded entertainment to going out? The cinema’s report record ticket sales, and concert tickets are selling like hotcakes. Actually, the entertainment industry as a whole is growing at the moment, not shrinking.

      • Is that meant to be an answer to my comment? Because it certainly doesn’t look like one.

        • Pieter Hulshoff

          They’re both perfectly good explanations as to why unit sales haven’t increased, which is the question you were asking.

    • The cinema’s report record ticket sales

      But do they report more actual units being moved? Do people go to more movies now than they did in the ’80s and ’90s? I don’t know, but it seems doubtful to me. Even if you’re simply looking at the gross take of movies adjusted for inflation [boxofficemojo.com], very few modern films break the top 50. But then again, older films obviously have an advantage since many of them had multiple/longer runs in the theaters. I’m not sure this is a metric that can be evaluated definitively. I would like to specifically see stats for the amount of first-run box office tickets sold (not revenue), but that information is not coming up in my admittedly cursory searches for it.

      …concert tickets are selling like hotcakes

      That was not the case for 2010. Once again though, looking at gross concert statistics for the industry is misleading. How is that money being spread around? Not much. Mostly the sales come from top, label-supported, established acts who sell very expensive tickets. A quote from the LA Times about the 11% increase in revenue for early 2011:

      “Totals from those 50 tours added up to $1.65 billion, despite a 2.1% drop in the number of tickets sold — 19.4 million — meaning the bump in the total box office came as the result of higher ticket prices on average.”

      Now, in a “big picture” sense, that is still a good sign for the industry; the Big Boys part of the industry that the internet is supposed to collapse. However, since I’m personally concerned about the smaller, more adventurous independent artists who will probably never reach the level where they can charge hundreds of dollars for a ticket–you know, the “musician middle-class” that the internet is supposed to empower–this doesn’t looks so rosy. There’s only so much entertainment spending a fan can set aside. For every $10-$15 increase in big name ticket sales of an artist a fan likes, that’s one less local band they can afford to support by going to a show. (For that matter, the general rising costs of doing business as a small venue are also making it hard for local artists to gain a foothold, but that’s another discussion)

      Granted, people are not in any way obligated to support any musicians, it’s just that the current climate of the broad music scene is not the warm, beachfront real estate it’s being sold as by some of the larger tech companies that have *ahem* less than scrupulous intentions.

  4. “…instead of trekking down to a record store, where the item desired may be out of stock, it is now possible to obtain virtually any music ever recorded from iTunes or Amazon at the touch of a button By any reasonable expectation, unit sales should have greatly increased. Yet they conspicuously have not. If this isn’t due to piracy, what is it?”

    1) People are buying singles from iTunes and Amazon instead of albums.
    Look at THOSE sales figures.
    Given the option of spending 99 cents for a single or $12-16 for an album of songs, half of which they’ll never listen to, the audience is choosing singles.

    2) Have sales figures risen dramatically since MegaUpload was shut down?
    “By any reasonable expectation, unit sales should have greatly increased.”
    If they haven’t, it puts the lie to the theory that MU was responsible for an incredible “loss” in sales.

    3) When the best examples an analyst can present to justify his conclusion are his own work, something isn’t kosher.

    4) Interestingly, the page documenting info about Liebowitz’ Center for the Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation is…offline.
    Wonder why?
    Who finances the Center, hmmm?

  5. There are those who say piracy is only a business model problem, or a marketing problem, and enforcement should play zero role.

    I know “The Maz” thinks this, but it makes no sense to me. Obviously better business model + enforcement will yield the best results. If everybody played by the rules, then it’d be strictly a business issue. But obviously there are those who won’t play by the rules. And, more importantly, not all competition is fair. “The Maz” seems to think that all problems can be solved in the marketplace. What a silly, utopian view of the world.

    • I cannot agree that this is an accurate characterization of “The Maz”‘s position.

      Let’s try this: Enforcement should play a role, but it should be a role based not on Faith but facts. There’s already plenty of enforcement, plenty of available laws, and the Faith-based assumption that more laws is better enforcement is harmful to all kinds of different actors in this drama.

      • I have yet to see one time where “The Maz” thought any enforcement was good enforcement. It’s hard for me to think he’s concerned about getting the right amount when it appears he’s already made up his mind that none is better than any.

        I have no problem with enforcement being fact-based (although I admit I’m pretty much a straight-up Lockean–economic data doesn’t motivate my position as much as it does others). I’d say that Terry’s article above tends to show that the lack of enforcement the past decade or so has been a problem economically. And from a property rights standpoint, all I see is a dismal failure with rights-enforcement on the internet.

        But your fact-based thing cuts both ways. Where’s the data that the “draconian” copyright laws for the past 15 years have hindered innovation on the internet? It’s just as hard to show injury from infringement as it is to show injury to innovation. I think we should all keep that in mind.

        • I’d say that Terry’s article above tends to show that the lack of enforcement the past decade or so has been a problem economically.

          There doesn’t seem to be any correlation to a harm being caused by lack of enforcement. There are now more musicians, authors, and artists than there ever was before. People share content on a variety of platforms, and distribution channels have increased. So where does the information or the research say there was harm to the market when most of the benefits have shown that the enforcement agenda of Righthaven, USCG, and a ton of game makers hasn’t produced as much?

          Where’s the data that the “draconian” copyright laws for the past 15 years have hindered innovation on the internet?

          Simple. Look at the profits of a game company like Valve, the music industry with Spotify in the Netherlands which don’t use a “sue em all approach”. Then compare that to the DMCA takedowns, the civil disputes of Andy Baio or Rihanna, or the ICE domain seizures. Which ones have caused more economic damage? At this point, it’s a broken window fallacy in saying copyright enforcement creates growth by limiting others from copying ideas.

          • “Simple. Look at the profits of a game company like Valve…..[ect]“

            Err… you do realize that they make money BECAUSE of copyright, not dispite it…

          • Dear god Jay…how many non-sequiturs can you type a minute? Have you ever timed yourself? Somebody get Guinness on the phone.

          • Err… you do realize that they make money BECAUSE of copyright, not dispite it…

            James… For the umpteenth time. They do not make money because of copyright. Get it through your head. They don’t enforce copyright. They don’t use DRM as the main way to make money like Ubisoft. They don’t try to limit people’s downloads by an arbitrary number like EA.

            They provide a better service than the pirates and Gabe Newell has stated repeatedly he is not concerned with piracy. So try to get a better argument. Meanwhile, Techno… Just try to get an argument.

          • They do not make money because of copyright.

            I’ve been thinking about this point.

            They provide a better service than the pirates and Gabe Newell has stated repeatedly he is not concerned with piracy.

            Actually, following your line of reasoning, they don’t make money because of that either.

            They make money because people give them money.

            Why do people give them money? Beats me. Generally we assume that people give them money in exchange for the product they’re offering and that copyright serves to create a market in which those who own and create a product are entitled to sell it, thus obtaining money from those who wish to buy it. But you’re right, that’s just an assumption. Without that assumption we don’t know why. We can only stand back and wonder at the mystery of it.

            So try to get a better argument.

            If the only way you can argue against copyright is by abandoning casualty, then it’s impossible to construct any sort of argument — let alone a better one — since nothing actually follows from anything.

            Mind you, that does explain why your posts are, as Technotopia points out, just a string of non-sequiturs.

          • Generally we assume that people give them money in exchange for the product they’re offering and that copyright serves to create a market in which those who own and create a product are entitled to sell it, thus obtaining money from those who wish to buy it.

            That assumption is false. They create a service and a platform that people enjoy. Copyright has absolutely nothing to do with it. The enforcement of the copyright has nothing to do with it. James ignores all of the benefits of creating a better service to always come to the conclusion that copyright creates profits which is the largest false assumption he can muster whenever Valve comes into the equation. Here, Gabe distinctly says piracy is a service problem. But James never wants to look at any links and comes to the same conclusion that “copyright creates sales” with that same false notion that copyright creates a platform or anything else. It doesn’t. He ignores all of the Kickstarter models, how piracy created the $2 billion a year manga industry, how it spreads all sorts of knowledge and new images, in order to say copyright creates. And he can’t be further from the truth.

            Techno’s MO is always to try to disparage people. As far as I know, he almost never tries to actually bring anything factual to table.

            As far as I can tell, you can use all of the examples in the previous paragraph. To expand what I said before, you can look at the different examples:

            The success of Valve over the monetary losses of other companies such as EA and Ubisoft, who rely on bad business models in the form of DRM and always online services.

            The natural growth of Spotify versus the RIAA’s 2008 “sue em all” strategy, including suing Napster, iMeem, and other services out of existence.

            Compare that to the Andy Baio case (where Jay Maisel sued for infringement), the Rihanna case (where the director sued her for having an idea based off his work, or the frequent abuse of the DMCA takedown (where Universal’s current claim to fame is taking down a rap group’s song when they didn’t own it, or taking down 50 Cent’s song because they didn’t like it.)

            Again, you look at how the successful businesses have been growing without copyright laws, then look at how copyright (in its current form) isn’t doing anything but pissing people off who want to promote themselves or new takes on an idea.

          • Techno’s MO is always to try to disparage people. As far as I know, he almost never tries to actually bring anything factual to table.

            Jay, you are…hilarious. I have annihilated your consistently inept, non sequitur rife “arguments” numerous times since I started commenting here. It’s always been easy. You aren’t a good debater. A litany of unrelated events seemingly poached from hyperbolic Techdirt headlines seems to be your staple argumentative tactic. It’s a tiresome strategy. Most of your arguments are too incomprehensible to be taken seriously much less retorted. There is a reason why so many people call you out on your penchant for non sequiturs: it’s because you have a penchant for non sequiturs. You’ve practically elevated your favored logical fallacy into its own language. It’s obnoxious.

            For the umpteenth time. [steam] do not make money because of copyright.

            I corrected you on this before, Jay. You either have a poor memory or a phobia of reality. Quoting myself to reiterate:

            Valve is a company based entirely upon copyright. They are in the business of selling infinitely replicable copies of their games. They are able to do this because of copyright. It’s a direct relationship. As usual, you are grasping for anti-copyright straws where none exist and it’s nothing short of…pathetic.
            Every product Valve has ever made is copyrighted and every Valve-affiliated game package, EULA, and website has “All Rights Reserved” copyright notices affixed.

            http://www.copyhype.com/2011/04/how-copyright-expands-the-freedom-of-expression/#comment-2612

            But lets continue with your newest round of typical Jay bullshit –

            Get it through your head. They don’t enforce copyright.

            This is patently false. In addition to the aforementioned “All Rights Reserved” tags beneath every Valve property, we also have the Steam subscriber agreement (http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/) where we find choice bits of legalese like this:

            All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the Software and any and all copies thereof are owned by Valve and/or its licensors. All rights reserved, except as expressly stated herein. The Software is protected by the copyright laws of the United States, international copyright treaties and conventions and other laws. The Software contains certain licensed materials and Valve’s licensors may protect their rights in the event of any violation of this Agreement.

            and –

            Except as otherwise permitted under Section 2(C) with regard to the SDK, you may not, in whole or in part, copy, photocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer, derive source code, modify, disassemble, decompile, create derivative works based on, or remove any proprietary notices or labels from the Software or any software accessed via Steam without the prior consent, in writing, of Valve.

            All of that in addition to the fact that pirating on Steam is against the stated rules and many accounts have been suspended and terminated because of it. In fact if you look at their Suspended Steam Account FAQ, “piracy” is the FIRST reason cited for why someone might have their account privileges revoked. Steam actively defends against fake CD keys and pirate copies from being cracked, registered, and utilized. The fact that they use CD keys at all, that fact alone, obliterates your argument.

            So while Gabe Newell downplays piracy for nerd-cred here’s what’s really happening:

            Valve enlists the help of the FBI to track down and subsequently arrest the people involved with the HL2 source code leak.(http://www.play.tm/news/2792/seizures-over-valve-source-leak/)

            Valve files DMCA take down requests for cracked Portal 2 games…(http://www.filesonicsearch.com/portal+2+mac)

            Valve files (very) recent DMCA take down requests for unofficial Steam clients on mobile networks….(http://www.technologytell.com/gaming/88115/valve-sends-dmca-complaint-to-google-unofficial-steam-apps-disappear/)

            They don’t use DRM as the main way to make money like Ubisoft.

            Steam IS DRM. It’s a pay wall, it’s a closed system. They enforce copyright. They send DMCA notices. They utilize CD keys. They shut down pirated accounts. Piracy is expressly forbidden. They get the FBI to arrest leakers of their source code. Everything they’ve ever made is copyrighted.

            There is no polite way to put this, Jay:

            Your arguments to the contrary are fucking stupid.

            And the worst part about it, you’ll never change your mind. Evidence or no evidence, it doesn’t matter. Six months from now you’ll be saying the same ignorant shit you always have, gleefully unburdened by the same facts you accuse others of failing to provide. You are singularly unworthy of debate. The time I spent on this post is utterly wasted on you. Every article Terry writes is wasted on you. Reality itself is wasted on you.

          • Jay wrote:
            That assumption is false.

            That’s a pretty radical statement. Market-based economies date back at least 3,000 years and have spread to every country on Earth — and they’re built entirely on the idea of exchange; people give currency or other goods in return for goods they want or need. If you’re going to claim that’s not how it works, you’re going to need to provide some pretty compelling arguments and evidence to support such an assertion.

            They create a service and a platform that people enjoy.

            Well, in a limited sense, you’re right here. However, the problem is that we’re not talking about a service, we’re talking about a product. Authors write books and then offer copies of the book for sale. Composers write songs and then offer copies of for sale. Musicians perform the songs and then offer copies of the performance for sale. Film Makers make movies and then offer copies of the movies for sale. And so on. Product not service.

            Now, these various groups and individuals may offer services alongside the product, or they may not. You’re right that copyright does not protect the services they offer, it only protects the content of the product.

            Since we’re talking about products all your blather about services is irrelevant. A classic non-sequitur.

            And Technotopia wrote:
            The time I spent on this post is utterly wasted on you.

            On the other hand, I found your post both interesting and informative. I know I wasn’t the one addressed, but I thought it worth pointing out that Jay isn’t the only one reading these things.

          • And the worst part about it, you’ll never change your mind. Evidence or no evidence, it doesn’t matter. Six months from now you’ll be saying the same ignorant shit you always have, gleefully unburdened by the same facts you accuse others of failing to provide. You are singularly unworthy of debate. The time I spent on this post is utterly wasted on you. Every article Terry writes is wasted on you. Reality itself is wasted on you.

            Because Techno, every time you talk you go through the same rant about how everything is a non-sequitar and “obnoxious” based on your own view of the world. FINALLY you bring something to argue to the table instead of talking out of your ass. *slow clap*

            And yet, you continue to ignore how they’ve figured out the European market by competing with piracy. You use a copyright logo to equate to “they’re making money from copyright”. You ignore how they provide sales and word of mouth marketing to keep money in house. No, we never will convince each other of anything because just as I can find as many examples of Valve creating a great service, you’ll say they’re “making money off of copyright.” Your HL2 leak is not there by the way. So I can’t verify that source. Also, the filesonic links? They’re downloadable. Where’s the proof that Valve sent a DMCA notice on those?

            It’s a pay wall, it’s a closed system.

            Nope, see how they allow people to mod the system in their games. If it were like the Ubisoft always on DRM, then that would be a closed system. The only thing you may be at least justifiable right on is the beta takedown. Didn’t know that since it’s a brand new system for the mobile.

            Piracy is expressly forbidden

            If that’s the case, then why can anyone put any non-Steam game into the system that they want on a local drive? If you really want to, you can have Warcraft (a Blizzard game) running on Steam. Great job for saying piracy is “expressly forbidden”.

            Oh, and let’s get back to this:

            Except as otherwise permitted under Section 2(C) with regard to the SDK, you may not, in whole or in part, copy, photocopy, reproduce, translate, reverse engineer, derive source code, modify, disassemble, decompile, create derivative works based on, or remove any proprietary notices or labels from the Software or any software accessed via Steam without the prior consent, in writing, of Valve.

            Then by all means Mr Oh, so smart guy… Why do new games come out based on the Source engine for nothing? Why does Valve look the other way for the modding community if it “obliterates their argument?” Maybe it has something to do with a lock-in effect to the Source SDK that occurs when people are allowed to freely mod with the engine. Typical. You have no idea of how people use the SDK but want to comment as if you know everything about the entire system. More power to ya, but you still don’t know how mods keep the system active. Maybe you should look at the Black Mesa mod one more time.

            So. We don’t agree. I have my reasoning, and you have yours.

            However, the problem is that we’re not talking about a service, we’re talking about a product.

            It seems that’s the major contention. Authors now make good money from ebooks as well as tangible books. They can still offer book signings. Tell me… How have musicians failed in finding new avenues for people to enjoy their songs? Recorded music has gone down. And yet, they still seem to profit greatly despite piracy. Same with film makers that have fully funded their projects without studio loans. The technology is providing new services to allow creators to benefit greatly. I’m confused how you believe better products will always win out when perhaps it may be a better service that can win more money in the long run.

            You’re right that copyright does not protect the services they offer, it only protects the content of the product.

            That’s misleading. You seem intent on going on about products, when all of the services (Spotify, Steam, Youtube, Megaupload) are what are making the lives of creators a lot better in the long run over just one or two songs (the products you seem intent on hyping up that need protection).

          • You use a copyright logo to equate to “they’re making money from copyright”. You ignore how they provide sales and word of mouth marketing to keep money in house. No, we never will convince each other of anything because just as I can find as many examples of Valve creating a great service, you’ll say they’re “making money off of copyright.”

            I don’t ignore the value Steam provides. It goes without saying the services and convenience Steam offers are integral to its success. My argument has never been Steam only works because of copyright. I’ve simply been responding and subsequently disproving your moronic assertions that:

            1) Copyright has absolutely nothing to do with (Steam’s success)
            2) Get it through your head. They don’t enforce copyright.

            Both of which are empirically false.

            Your HL2 leak is not there by the way. So I can’t verify that source.

            Link still works for me. And even if it didn’t are you somehow unable to type “HL2 +source code leak +FBI” into a search engine? Do you not have 2.5 seconds to spare?

            Also, the filesonic links? They’re downloadable.

            All the links are different now. Don’t know what happened. Don’t really care either.

            Nope, see how they allow people to mod the system in their games.

            “Mod the system in their games” is exactly the kind of sentence that makes me think English is not your first language.

            if it were like the Ubisoft always on DRM, then that would be a closed system.

            I was obviously referring to Steam as a closed system so why the fuck are you talking about modding games and the DRM scheme on another company’s game? Non-fucking-sequitur #5,541 and #5,542.

            If that’s the case, then why can anyone put any non-Steam game into the system that they want on a local drive? If you really want to, you can have Warcraft (a Blizzard game) running on Steam. Great job for saying piracy is “expressly forbidden”.

            Non-fucking-sequitur #5,543. The capability to play non-Steam games in Steam has exactly NOTHING to do with piracy enforcement. Playing Warcraft in Steam has exactly NOTHING to do with piracy enforcement.

            And by the way, if you load a cracked game into Steam that Steam itself offers for sale…you’ll get your account disabled. They have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy towards this. Here is the exact message you’d receive:

            “We have found activity in your Steam account related to piracy. Per the Steam Subscriber Agreement, we have disabled your account and any games contained in it. Your account will not be reactivated. The Steam Subscriber Agreement can be found at: http://www.steampowered.com/v/index….iber_agreement In addition to violation of contract, activities on your account may violate federal law and state law. If such activities persist, Valve reserves the right to refer the matter to authorities. – Steam”

            Valve has terminated THOUSANDS of Steam accounts for piracy.

            See here: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1026907776
            And here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4041289.stm

            They don’t even allow you to TALK about piracy on the Steam forums. You’ll get insta-banned just for bitching about DRM…

            See here: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1892205
            And here: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2488461
            And here: http://www.playerattack.com/news/2011/04/12/garrys-mod-catches-pirates-the-fun-way/

            Your assertion that Steam doesn’t enforce copyright is LAUGHABLE.

            So. We don’t agree. I have my reasoning, and you have yours.

            No Jay, you don’t have your own reasoning. All you have is your ignorance and your non sequiturs and your incomprehensible ESL posts.

      • NewEngland, I dare you to cite even one example where that freetard fundamentalist said anything that even remotely resembled “(copyright) enforcement should play a role”.

        Consider yourself called out.

  6. Pingback: Piracy Does Depress Sales | The Passive Voice

  7. I love this from Jonathan Coulton’s download page: “Already Stole It? No problem. If you’d like to donate some cash, you can do so through the PayPal link in the sidebar.”

    It would be so interesting to know if he’s gotten any money that way. I suspect zero, but you never know, I may be harsh.

  8. Pingback: Business Matters: A New Look at an Old Survey Finds P2P Hurts Music Purchases | Business Idea Research

  9. well jonathan coulton, if you are reading this, then Please take a look at how piracy is more than just people wanting stuff for free, it’s people profiting from other peoples creative work, if the pirates are profiting, which they are, then that is revenue that should be going to the content creator. if it doesn’t, then in turn the creator “creates” less. Whether that is conscious or not. Fact, I have witnessed it on many levels. Don’t believe me then watch this. http://wp.me/p13PgI-SP

    • Pieter Hulshoff

      Would that be this film by chance? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1123894/
      I haven’t seen it, but from the looks of imdb, it really wasn’t a very good movie. It’s easy to point at infringement as the cause for not making enough sales, but considering how other movies have made fortunes in spite of overwhelming infringement, perhaps this movie simply didn’t sell well, because it simply wasn’t very good?

  10. It does cause serious harm. Naptser isn’t a service provider under 17 USC § 512(k)(1)(B), and judges and plaintiff lawyers (not the defendants like Napster), literally do not understand the computer science in that definition. They practically give it to the defendents cart blanche, then have the audacity to demand that the defendents don’t qualify under the “safe harbors” (512(a)-512(d)).

    It’s absurd like the recent UMG vs Veoh ruling in the 9th Circuit, making it even more destructive for copyright holders, who have a secured exclusive right to their creations. In that case, the judges claimed that the US Congress would have made it specific for a company like Veoh to not qualify. What brain-dead opinion is that!? It is specific under 17 USC § 512(k)(1)(B). That definition includes 17 USC § 512(k)(1)(A) as part of the entity as a whole in the definition, NOT separate. The legislative material further instructs this from the 1998 law.

    But no! UMG’s lawyers, idiots that they are, said “Veoh is a service provider, but only web-hosting services should qualify under the “safe harbor”. Naturally the judges have never learned the computer science and had to guess in 2012, what 1998 may have been like? This is a sick decision and companies like Google and Facebook are laughing…..they understand the computer science, giving everything for free, including copyrighted content, monetize all of it claiming “we didn’t know”. BS.

    The result is innovation OUTSIDE the threshold qualification of the law; hence, serious, serious harm. We now have supersized unemployment because exclusive rights are NOT secured. New Technology to destroy jobs from the infringement — with Bloomberg West roaring “rah, rah, rah” at it when they know the infringement is exactly what it is, and say nothing — and finally the Occupy Wall Street crew going after the banks, when MarK Zuckerberg gets $28.4 Billion, Eric Schmitz hides $3 Billion off shore or in stock options, and the Wikipedia crew infringing yet requiring 100 Million every 2 years to keep actual encyclopedias out from being sold (in a economy) and academia to cost too much leverging huge debts.

    Oh and did I mention that ALL Files can be downloaded from YouTube through Mozilla, as a YouTube advertisement, funded by Google (claiming non-profit)? In Federal and Appellate court (9th Circuit, case on-going) they say no downloads are allowed. Well, that’s lying. Or is it purgery (spelling)…..did their counsel put their hand on the Bible? No.

    Let them go dark. Silicon Valley “over the knee” regulation is in serious need, if those who do not have computer science degrees want to ever work again. And those with computer science degrees had better get recognized fast with what they have to say. Thanks.

  11. “Mod the system in their games” is exactly the kind of sentence that makes me think English is not your first language.

    You’ve never heard of the game engine? Never heard of all the modders that make weapons, hats, and maps and get paid off their work? Fancy that. Techno being obtuse yet again.

    I was obviously referring to Steam as a closed system so why the fuck are you talking about modding games and the DRM scheme on another company’s game?

    And check what I said instead of being narrow minded as always. . If it were like the Ubisoft always on DRM, then that would be a closed system. Steam’s really isn’t, allowing communities to form around the games and suggest different improvements. You seem to have a hard time understanding the communities of the games Steam has for your view. Might want to work on that.

    The capability to play non-Steam games in Steam has exactly NOTHING to do with piracy enforcement. Playing Warcraft in Steam has exactly NOTHING to do with piracy enforcement.

    Obtuse argument #6981 – You don’t need Valve’s permission to upload any game you want on Steam.
    Obtuse argument #6982 – I didn’t say one damn thing about putting pirated games onto Steam.

    All you have is your ignorance and your non sequiturs and your incomprehensible ESL posts.

    Holy crap, your posts are old and don’t reflect reality of what Valve has changed in years. Those posts are from 2004, with the only exception being 2011 Garry’s Mod. And yet you want to say I’m the one with non sequiturs when you only bring up narrow views of what copyright allows.

    So they enforced a copyright in older times, then the 2011 owner of GM decided to take away the ability to pirate his game for a second.

    All the points I’ve made have been thus:

    – Making money by building a community (TF2, Counter strike, Portal communities among dozens of others)

    – Timely translations and near same window release dates for games

    – Massive sales to entice the fans

    – Word of mouth advertising of sales instead of market ads

    – Economic scaling of games in a global market

    – Constant updating of servers to dissuade piracy
    ————————————————————————————————————————–

    What your argument fails to do is say how copyright

    — Creates monetary incentives by “protecting their works”

    – Find ways to make sales more convenient for purchases

    – Ensure quality translations
    ————————————————————

    You’ve proven that they enforce copyright. Bravo. Now how does your disingenuous argument about copyright prove that they’ve done anything for monetary gain through copyright enforcement? As evidenced by your own link, any bad links are quickly replaced for download. So the piracy isn’t going anywhere. Obviously that “nerd cred” of competing with piracy is doing much better since Valve keeps making more money while other companies are losing revenue with useless DRM protections that just hurt their legal customers.