Federal

Mar 16, 2011

Mysterious anti-piracy report to be released ‘this week’

An anti-piracy lobby group has bowed to pressure and released a controversial report on the impact of internet piracy on the Australian economy, following howls of protest over its existence and veracity.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

An anti-piracy lobby group has bowed to pressure and released a controversial report on the impact of internet piracy on the Australian economy, following howls of protest over its existence and veracity.

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2 thoughts on “Mysterious anti-piracy report to be released ‘this week’

  1. drsmithy

    However, far from the world of software theft […]

    It’s not “theft” (unless someone ran out of a store with a box under their arm), it’s copyright infringement.

    Accurate terminology is important in any debate, especially one as important as this. Copyright infringement bears no resemblance to theft, in statute, action, or outcome.

  2. GlenTurner1

    In summary: they took the estimates of a similar consultancy which reported on the “retail loss to creative industries” in five EU countries and scaled the figures to match the Australian economy. Page 6 is where the rubber hits the road, and as usual with economics the most interesting action is in the footnotes.

    Footnote 22 tries to carry forward the essence of the TERA report without carrying forward exchange rate fluctuations. Unfortunately, the methodology ends up relying upon the ratio of “creative” to “retail” jobs being constant. Something for which no evidence is offered, which would seem unlikely, and which is counterfactual in the one reported-upon country I checked (Spain) for a change in ratio between 2008 and 2010.

    A classic error is made when the report averages the results of the five European countries. That is, the average implies that Australia is 20% like Germany, 20% like France, 20% like the UK, 20% like Italy and 20% like Spain. There is no justification at all for assuming that the weights of each country in the average are the same. Think about that — the report’s ratio requires that English speaking Australia is as much non-English-speaking Italy as it is like English-speaking UK. Despite the greater competition in English-speaking countries from English-speaking North American creative product.

    “We have assumed that volume of internet piracy grows at the same rate as IP traffic” is argued in footnote 34. This footnote is key to the estimates in “Projections 2010-2016”. Firstly, that assumption ignores new non-infringing applications which the greater bandwidth of the NBN will enable. Videoconferencing is an obvious example where ADSL data rates currently constrain traffic. Secondly, the assumption requires consumers’ demand for unpaid cultural product to be unlimited, yet there is a strict upper bound to the number of hours in a day.

    Obviously, any shortcoming in the TERA report examining the five EU countries also applies to the application of that report to Australia.

    It worries me that a report where I can see major errors in methodology within minutes is being used to “inform” Australian parliamentarians.

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