TorrentFreak says that a new report about the costs of piracy to various industries is overblown and in some cases an outright manipulation of numbers. Reports on piracy do tend to be overblown, or at the very least hard to substantiate because they tend to contain a lot of industry estimates. In other words, it is a lot harder to track the activities of pirates and file-sharers than it is to track sales. Hell, the games industry cannot even accurately track digital sales because it doesn't have the full access it needs (they are at least working on it, according to NPD and UKIE).
A new report announced by the Australian Content Industry Group claims that of Australia’s 22 million citizens, nearly 5 million are pirates. The report goes on to say that file-sharers were responsible for $900 million in losses to the games, movie, film, music, and software industries in 2010. The report even takes a shot at Australia’s National Broadband Network, which it claims will cause losses to rise to $5.2 billion by 2016.
As TorrentFreak points out, the study is not available anywhere, and the group that produces it has ignored requests to get a copy of it. So instead, they decide to do a little math with the numbers that the report contained and some editorializing:
"If we believe the researchers, 6.5 million pirating Australians will be responsible for $5.2 billion in losses by 2016. This means that without piracy those people – including children and the unemployed – would spend an extra $800 per year, on average. Right.
Even if we assume that this would be even remotely possible, why would it go to $800 per head from the $187 they estimate now?
We suspect of course that the report makes some wild claims, such as arguing that every download is a lost sale. So with more and better broadband connections people will download more, and so cause more losses. Of course, this type of reasoning lies far from reality."
Perhaps the Australian Content Industry Group will release its report and prove web sites like TorrentFreak wrong with hard numbers..