Steve Walker

Some less or more well-organised thoughts

A little more on the cost of piracy to the economy – this time in the USA

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A little while ago, I wrote a blog entry (£12bn cost of one file sharing server) examining claims made about the size of the impact of illegal filesharing on ‘creative’ industries (the habitual inverted commas are a note that people who self-define as belonging to these industries are largely incapable of seeing the creativity in other endeavours, such as science, technology, engineering etc). John Naughton just pointed out a recent report to the US House of Representatives Committee from the Government Accountability office: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods. From the covering letter comes the following:

“Three widely cited U.S. government estimates of economic losses resulting from counterfeiting cannot be substantiated due to the absence of underlying studies. Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data. Efforts to estimate losses involve assumptions such as the rate at which consumers would substitute counterfeit for legitimate products, which can have enormous impacts on the resulting estimates. Because of the significant differences in types of counterfeited and pirated goods and industries involved, no single method can be used to develop estimates. Each method has limitations, and most experts observed that it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts. Nonetheless, research in specific industries suggest that the problem is sizeable, which is of particular concern as many U.S. industries are leaders in the creation of intellectual property.”

Interesting to think what the impact of a similar analysis of UK figures might have had on the passage of the Digital Economy bill. If any.


Written by Steve

April 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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