Podcast Audio | Posted by Phil Leigh on February 12, 2008
Summary: If you would like to learn how the Motion Picture Association of America overestimated digital piracy on our nation’s college campuses, this interview is for you.
Our guest today is Jim Burger who is an intellectual property attorney and Partner at Dow, Lohnes, in Washington, D.C. Jim has been a repeated contributor to Inside Digital Media on matters relating to copyrights, media protection, and piracy.
From the Stanford (University) Daily:
College students made up the biggest slice of the film industry’s pie chart for illegal movie downloads until recently. Now Hollywood is revising its numbers.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced in 2005 that college students were responsible for 44 percent of lost revenue on movie sales in the U.S. through their illegal downloading activities. The compelling statistics — detailed in the MPAA’s study on the international impact of movie piracy — underpinned an anti-piracy campaign targeting student offenders and urging universities to tighten their file-sharing policies.
This January, however, the MPAA announced that L.E.K. Consulting, the firm it hired to conduct this study, made a crucial miscalculation. It now estimates that only 15 percent of its revenue loss stems from college students. The MPAA chalks up the 29 percentage point mistake to “human error.”
Phil’s Take. I don’t know why the MPAA chose to confess the error recently, but perhaps there was a latent whistleblower. Both the studios and the record labels have been pressuring Congress to enact laws requiring college administrators to do even more to minimize on-campus piracy. Some of the proposals are thought to be burdensome, and now that the MPAA has admitted that campus piracy is significantly less prominent than their lobbyists apparently have been saying, maybe Congress will move with greater caution.