We all are aware of the MPAA and RIAA crackdown on file sharers and torrent seeders over the last two years. Well now that the crackdown is getting cold, recent studies have shown that it was all overrated. Most of the piracy claims and stats were overrated. The Government Accountability Office of the US government has checked and declared that it is
difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts
of software and music piracy. This study has been conducted over a year and a 32-page report has been released in PDF format.
There was a factor of a “Substitution Rate” in earlier estimates of piracy. According to it, every lost sale was considered as a piracy. So basically, just the fact that you did not buy the software and inquired about it added to the piracy figures. It did not matter if you really bought a pirated copy after that, or just switched to a free alternative.
MPAA went further to manipulate stats to show that college student accounted for 44% of piracy when the actual figure was close to 15%. Though, later they covered up by calling it a human error. Now, we all know it was a human error though not so much of a humane error!
An interesting citation from the released PDF say that file sharing can actually help in sales and promotion. It appears at Techdirt and says,
Consumers may use pirated goods to ‘sample’ music, movies, software, or electronic games before purchasing legitimate copies,” the GAO continued. “(This) may lead to increased sales of legitimate goods.