NPD Confidential II: Die, Substitution Studies, Die

Following up our piece on music collections and the apparently surprising result that P2P users buy a lot of digital music, and also our piece discussing some pushback from NPD–the survey firm used by the RIAA–we offer a response to comments by the record industry association IFPI.  Here’s what they said:

While previous studies have shown that some unlicensed P2P network users also pay for music, and a few are serious fans who pay a lot, they are far outnumbered by the bulk of unlicensed P2P network users who pay little or nothing for music. Research by The NPD Group during 2010 in the US found that just 35 per cent of P2P users also paid for music downloads. P2P users spent US$42 per year on music on average, compared with US$76 among those who paid to download and US$126 among those that paid to subscribe to a music service. The overall impact of P2P use on music purchasing is negative, despite a small proportion of P2P users spending a lot on music. That finding was corroborated by a study in Europe by Jupiter Research in 2009. Continue reading “NPD Confidential II: Die, Substitution Studies, Die”

NPD Confidential

Well, the Music Collections post certainly got around. Among other places, NBC News’ tech blog picked up the bit about P2P users being the biggest buyers of music and sought comment from the RIAA. The RIAA sent the reporter to NPD, the firm that handles their survey work. At NPD, Russ Crupnick offered the following response:

“We hear this argument all the time and it makes no sense,” Russ Crupnick, NPD’s senior vice president, industry analysis, said in a phone interview. Continue reading “NPD Confidential”

Where do Music Collections Come From?

In our last installment, we noted that there’s a sharp generational divide (in the US and Germany) in attitudes toward copying and file sharing, with those under 30 showing more acceptance of these practices in general and much more acceptance of sharing within loosely-defined communities of ‘friends.’  Not rocket science, right?    But how does that translate into actual behavior?  Here are average music file collections, divided by age group:

Continue reading “Where do Music Collections Come From?”

Crime Inc. Inc.

Growing up in Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s, I have fond memories of watching Bill Kurtis on Channel 2 news. He was sort of a local Walter Cronkite–a personification of the news. At our house, he was on every night.

So I felt some nostalgia when I got a call from a staffer on Kurtis’ current show, Crime Inc., about an episode they wanted to do on media piracy. And also some apprehension, since we’ve been pretty adamant in our work that criminality–and especially organized crime–is the wrong way to look at piracy. But since I’m a regular complainer about press coverage of these issues and an optimist that the debate can be changed, I agreed to help. Continue reading “Crime Inc. Inc.”

File Sharing and the Greek Crisis

What else is going on in Greece these days? Did you guess: a major crackdown on Greek file sharing sites?

On this subject, I’m very pleased to publish a guest essay by Dr. Petros Petridis of Panteio University in Athens.


File Sharing and the Greek Crisis

Petros Petridis
Panteio University
petros.petridis at
twitter: @petridispetros

According to the major copyright industry groups, Greece has among the highest rates of “piracy” in the European Union. The Business Software Alliance recently put this number at 61% of the software market—exceeded only by Romania and Bulgaria. The IFPI listed Greece in its top ten ‘priority countries’ for music piracy in 2006. The US Trade Representative’s office has kept Greece on its “Watchlist” of badly behaving countries since 2008.

It is easy to see file sharing through the lens of the larger Greek crisis—as part of the wider breakdown and circumvention of formal institutions. But the file sharing story in Greece is both simpler and more complicated than that.

Continue reading “File Sharing and the Greek Crisis”

Piratería de Medios en las Economías Emergentes

Estoy muy contento de anunciar la publicación de Piratería de Medios en las Economías Emergentes–la versión en español de Media Piracy in Emerging Economies.

Muchas gracias a nuestros dos traductores, Clio Bugel y Guillermo Sabanes de la Asociación para el Progreso de las Comunicaciones. Y a Geraldine Juárez por el apoyo editorial excelente.

Para resumir:

La piratería de medios ha sido llamada un “flagelo mundial”, “plaga internacional” y “nirvana para delincuentes”, aunque la mejor descripción tal vez sea la de un problema de fijación de precios. Los altos precios de los productos de medios, los bajos ingresos y el bajo costo de las
tecnologías digitales son los principales ingredientes de la piratería de medios en el mundo. Si la piratería está presente en casi todas partes es porque también están presentes esas condiciones.

Lazy Censorship: It Can Happen Here

Or, Free Moose A. Moose!

I’ll say this for jury duty in New York City: they’ve added WiFi in the waiting rooms!  Given how much time prospective jurors sit around waiting, it’s a major improvement.

And surfing around, one quickly discovers that the local network blocks certain websites.  With some cursory exploration, it’s clear that this is a very arbitrary list that encompasses many legitimate sites.   It blocks game sites but also game news sites.  P2P sites but also news sites that cover P2P and digital rights issues.  Porn sites but also sites like 4chan, that, ok, host a lot of porn but also a lot of legitimate speech.  There’s a mysterious BLKLST category which blocks–on my cursory surfing–an Apple news site.  Bandwidth management you say? It doesn’t block Hulu, Netflix, or YouTube.

The filter uses categories that are visible in the URL.  I found four. Continue reading “Lazy Censorship: It Can Happen Here”

The MPAA in Latin America

Frederic Martel’s Mainstream (2010) is a very rich account of Hollywood’s (and America’s) global cultural dominance, based on a huge quantity of original research and reporting.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t been translated into English (from French–it should be!).

Among many other things, Martel provides interesting detail on the global lobbying and enforcement practices of Hollywood–a subject we treat in our Media Piracy report.  You get a clear sense from Martel just how good these guys have been at their jobs, mixing product and politics, working the domestic and international angles simultaneously, and always cultivating the powerful.  Chris Dodd’s public threats, post SOPA, reflect how unusual it is for them to lose.  Here’s Martel on the history of MPAA lobbying in Brazil and Mexico, cobbled together from pp 28-32. Translation mine. MPA, btw, is what the MPAA calls itself outside the US.


In Brazil, the MPA’s top guy is Steve Solot. From Rio de Janeiro, he coordinates the studios’ business across Latin America. Solot explains: “For the MPAA, South America doesn’t count in terms of box-office, but it’s more and more important in terms of influence and number of tickets sold. American films take over 80% of Brazilian box office receipts. And even for the remaining 20%, you have to remember that many Brazilian films are co-produced with the Americans. Overall, it’s over 85%.” …

Continue reading “The MPAA in Latin America”