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Old 05-10-2012, 09:49 PM   #1
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If You Think The Cost Of 'Piracy' Is High, What About The Cost Of Enforcement?

"We've all seen the crazy high claims by the legacy entertainment industry about the "costs" of infringement. Most of these reports have absolutely no basis in reality and have been widely debunked -- even by the US government itself. But, even if we grant that there are some "costs" to infringement, why is it that we rarely -- if ever -- hear about the costs of enforcement? Julian Sanchez has a great post riffing off of the news that Hulu is thinking of requiring proof of pay TV subscriptions to get any free content, and does a neat little thought exercise on how distorting the "cost of piracy" discussions are if you don't also look at the cost of enforcement.


What's amazing is that even when the costs are explicit, they barely enter the conversation. Take, for example, the predecessor to SOPA/PIPA: the ProIP Act, which passed in 2008. A report by the Congressional Budget Office showed that the cost of this bill, which is almost entirely focused on increased enforcement was $435 million. Yes, you read that right. Taxpayers have been on the hook for nearly half a billion dollars for the increased enforcement initiatives -- like the spectacular flop known as Operation In Our Sites. Is this really a wise use of taxpayer resources?

Add to that, of course, the negative externalities created by such enforcement -- such as the chilling effects of increased censorship, expensive court cases and other such efforts, and it's kind of amazing that these costs never seem to even enter the public debate, even though many of them are a lot more real than the "costs" presented by the industry for "piracy.""

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...orcement.shtml
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:05 PM   #2
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Yes, the pirates are costing tax payers a lot of money. But I wouldn't blame it on the copyrights holders, I would blame it on the pirates. Don't blame the victims. The problem is that the attitude "piracy is no big deal" is becoming quite common. Education is the key here. From the enforcement side going after TPB by blocking them and initiatives like the "3 strikes" in some countries are new ways of simplifying matters and keeping enforcement costs down.

But in the end, the important thing is that people again begin to realize that piracy is a crime, not some harmless prank.

You can't make a simple cost-benefit analysis for fighting crime. If you did, you would decide to leave most criminals alone. Does it pay to go after a thief who stole $200 worth of items from a store? Of course, not. Part of fighting crime is prevention. Make people afraid they will get caught and have to pay often goes a long way.

Last edited by HansTWN; 05-10-2012 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
Yes, the pirates are costing tax payers a lot of money. But I wouldn't blame it on the copyrights holders, I would blame it on the pirates. Don't blame the victims. The problem is that the attitude "piracy is no big deal" is becoming quite common. Education is the key here. From the enforcement side going after TPB by blocking them and initiatives like the "3 strikes" in some countries are new ways of simplifying matters and keeping enforcement costs down.

But in the end, the important thing is that people again begin to realize that piracy is a crime, not some harmless prank.
Yes, but does piracy occur at the moment of reading? Or does piracy require profiting from the action of anothers read?
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:27 PM   #4
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"We've all seen the crazy high claims by the legacy entertainment industry about the "costs" of infringement. Most of these reports have absolutely no basis in reality and have been widely debunked -- even by the US government itself. But, even if we grant that there are some "costs" to infringement, why is it that we rarely -- if ever -- hear about the costs of enforcement? Julian Sanchez has a great post riffing off of the news that Hulu is thinking of requiring proof of pay TV subscriptions to get any free content, and does a neat little thought exercise on how distorting the "cost of piracy" discussions are if you don't also look at the cost of enforcement.


What's amazing is that even when the costs are explicit, they barely enter the conversation. Take, for example, the predecessor to SOPA/PIPA: the ProIP Act, which passed in 2008. A report by the Congressional Budget Office showed that the cost of this bill, which is almost entirely focused on increased enforcement was $435 million. Yes, you read that right. Taxpayers have been on the hook for nearly half a billion dollars for the increased enforcement initiatives -- like the spectacular flop known as Operation In Our Sites. Is this really a wise use of taxpayer resources?

Add to that, of course, the negative externalities created by such enforcement -- such as the chilling effects of increased censorship, expensive court cases and other such efforts, and it's kind of amazing that these costs never seem to even enter the public debate, even though many of them are a lot more real than the "costs" presented by the industry for "piracy.""

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...orcement.shtml
Exactly. the cost of enforcement is always neglected!
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:06 AM   #5
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Yes, the pirates are costing tax payers a lot of money. But I wouldn't blame it on the copyrights holders, I would blame it on the pirates. Don't blame the victims.
That may have been the case at the beginning, but there has been little or no changes to business models or distribution methods over the last ten or so years to encourage purchase.

Take for instance Disney who continue to have a totally ludicrous vault system where they lock away movies for an unspecified period of time, artificially restricting the market. If you miss out on a movie when the vault is open, bad luck.

They continuously bleat about how nefarious and evil piracy is, but do nothing to reduce it except bankrolling more copyright trolls and spending vast sums funding bought US senators in attempt to make the world change around them.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:07 AM   #6
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Yes, but does piracy occur at the moment of reading? Or does piracy require profiting from the action of anothers read?
It occurs at the moment of downloading illegally. When you profit from it it is commercial piracy, a step up from casual piracy. Sort of the difference between a drug user and a dealer.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:11 AM   #7
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That may have been the case at the beginning, but there has been little or no changes to business models or distribution methods over the last ten or so years to encourage purchase.
Really? No change in the past ten years. No iTunes? No Amazon? No Hulu or Netflix streaming. No DVDs/Blu-Rays with digital streaming?
Quote:

Take for instance Disney who continue to have a totally ludicrous vault system where they lock away movies for an unspecified period of time, artificially restricting the market. If you miss out on a movie when the vault is open, bad luck.

They continuously bleat about how nefarious and evil piracy is, but do nothing to reduce it except bankrolling more copyright trolls and spending vast sums funding bought US senators in attempt to make the world change around them.
Publishers have completely changed in the past ten years and almost everything is now available digitally.

But they still get blamed for piracy.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:13 AM   #8
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Really? No change in the past ten years. No iTunes? No Amazon? No Hulu or Netflix streaming. No DVDs/Blu-Rays with digital streaming?

Publishers have completely changed in the past ten years and almost everything is now available digitally.

But they still get blamed for piracy.
No Hulu or Netflix available for consumers here in Australia.

Blurays cost upwards of A$35 here in Australia for new releases. Top 10 CD albums cost over A$25.

Last time I looked the USD was less in value that the AUD, yet CD's, DVD's and blurays are much cheaper overseas.

No movie digital download available in Australia from Disney or other MPAA members either.

The cost of seeing a movie at a cinema for a typical family of two adults and two children costs upwards of AU$75.

Oh and yes iTunes works well, but prices of songs are still double what is paid in the US.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:32 AM   #9
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I will go with my forté in life and state the obvious.

A Corporations lose money because of pirating.
B Tax-payers always foot the bill for any law-enforcement.
C Corporations run (or have major influence on) all western governments.
D Corporations therefore pass the bill to the taxpayer by pressuring governments to pass restrictive laws or demanding the government increase spending to enforce their copyrights.
E Regular joe six-pack consumers and taxpayers are screwed again.
F All is normal.

I do not endorse pirating, though I have been guilty of doing it myself once in a while. I have my own "code of conduct" for what I "pirate". It is not legal, but I think it is moral.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by VaporPunk View Post
I will go with my forté in life and state the obvious.

A Corporations lose money because of pirating.
B Tax-payers always foot the bill for any law-enforcement.
C Corporations run (or have major influence on) all western governments.
D Corporations therefore pass the bill to the taxpayer by pressuring governments to pass restrictive laws or demanding the government increase spending to enforce their copyrights.
E Regular joe six-pack consumers and taxpayers are screwed again.
F All is normal.

I do not endorse pirating, though I have been guilty of doing it myself once in a while. I have my own "code of conduct" for what I "pirate". It is not legal, but I think it is moral.
It's not just large corporations who are affected by piracy - it's "normal" people, too. I'm a software developer, and I'm constantly seeing my software illegally sold on eBay, offered for download on torrent sites, and Usenet newsgroups, etc etc, and, on the whole, there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I'm not alone in this; innumerable other software authors, books authors, musicians, etc, see their work pirated in this way, too.

Piracy hurts "ordinary people" and, given that most people do not have the resources to be able to take legal action to prevent it, we have to rely on governments to put laws in place to protect us.

Last edited by HarryT; 05-11-2012 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by VaporPunk View Post
I will go with my forté in life and state the obvious.

A Corporations lose money because of pirating.
B Tax-payers always foot the bill for any law-enforcement.
C Corporations run (or have major influence on) all western governments.
D Corporations therefore pass the bill to the taxpayer by pressuring governments to pass restrictive laws or demanding the government increase spending to enforce their copyrights.
E Regular joe six-pack consumers and taxpayers are screwed again.
F All is normal.

I do not endorse pirating, though I have been guilty of doing it myself once in a while. I have my own "code of conduct" for what I "pirate". It is not legal, but I think it is moral.
So your idea is what?
Make the publishers pay for book piracy enforcement
The movie studios pay for movie piracy.
Car manufacturers for all traffic violations & upkeep of the roads
House builders / Locksmiths / Glaziers for burglaries (Depends on method of entry)
Shops for shoplifting
Microsoft/Apple for all computer releated crime


All these companies are already taxed and should be able to rely on law enforcement to, well, enforce laws.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:07 AM   #12
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Piracy does hurt individual companys and their employees and right holders in some degree. I can agree on that.

But, this money isn't "lost". No it's spend in other sectors. No money is lost realy, it's just allocated and spend at some other place. It might be hard to say if it's beneficial or not. But certainly in general sense it isn't lost...
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:22 AM   #13
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Piracy does hurt individual companys and their employees and right holders in some degree. I can agree on that.

But, this money isn't "lost". No it's spend in other sectors. No money is lost realy, it's just allocated and spend at some other place. It might be hard to say if it's beneficial or not. But certainly in general sense it isn't lost...
So if you go to work and your employer doesn't pay you, he spends your salary for 2012 buying a new car, would you be ok with that? After all, the money isn't lost in a general sense...

And if you use your line of reasoning, then theft of physical goods is actually great for the economy. Someone steals your e-reading device. He now doesn't need to spend money to buy one and can spend his money on other things. And you have to buy a new one. I see a win-win here!

Last edited by HansTWN; 05-11-2012 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:24 AM   #14
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Piracy does hurt individual companys and their employees and right holders in some degree. I can agree on that.

But, this money isn't "lost". No it's spend in other sectors. No money is lost realy, it's just allocated and spend at some other place. It might be hard to say if it's beneficial or not. But certainly in general sense it isn't lost...
That's a complete red herring. If someone illegally downloads my software, how does it help me if they then spend their money on something else?
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:31 AM   #15
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So if you go to work and your employer doesn't pay you, he spends your salary for 2012 buying a new car, would you be ok with that? After all, the money isn't lost in a general sense...

And if you use your line of reasoning, then theft of physical goods is actually great for the economy. Someone steals your e-reading device. He now doesn't need to spend money to buy one and can spend his money on other things. And you have to buy a new one. I see a win-win here!
To me and you it does matters, to other tax payers in general it doesn't. Loss of physical goods is loss material and manufacturing costs, which is different.

If someone downloads and copies your IP, you loss potential sale. Tax payers generaly won't lose anything, money is just spend in other ways.
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