MPAA admits to lying about college downloading

The MPAA study that showed that students were responsible for 44 percent of film downloading? A big old lie. And now the MPAA has admitted it:
In a 2005 study it commissioned, the Motion Picture Association of America claimed that 44 percent of the industry's domestic losses came from illegal downloading of movies by college students, who often have access to high-bandwidth networks on campus.

The MPAA has used the study to pressure colleges to take tougher steps to prevent illegal file-sharing and to back legislation currently before the House of Representatives that would force them to do so.

But now the MPAA, which represents the U.S. motion picture industry, has told education groups a "human error" in that survey caused it to get the number wrong. It now blames college students for about 15 percent of revenue loss.

Link (via /.)


  1. I don’t see how you can blame college students for even 15% revenue loss when 98% of them don’t have the money to purchase the movies in the first place. Of that 15%, MAYbe 2% could actually afford to buy those movies, and if they could, they probably would just pay for Netflix instead.

  2. It took much longer for tobacco’s attorneys to fess up. Why would the MPAA do this now? TFA says “the U.S. motion picture industry lost $6.1 billion to piracy worldwide, with most of the losses overseas”, which suggests they’d like to balkanize the Internet, and this in turn would surely suit the DeparFEARtment of HomeFEARland SecFEARurity just fine.


  3. Agree with passionchamp(#4). They are still lying, this time the old %-of-downloads == %-of-money. Even if *all* this students could afford paying the dvds, it doesnt mean *all* of then would think it is worth paying for the disc. If you consider that some people who like the movie they download go watch it again with a crowd…

  4. I’ve recently added DVDs to the collection of things that I will not purchase. Also on the heap are CDs, MP3s, and going to the cinema. When these scum drop the hard-ball tactics I’ll support them again. My entertainment choices are dwindling…

  5. Well, they didn’t admit to lying. They admitted to what looks like lying.

    Then again, is lying itself a form of human error?

  6. Yeah, c’mon guys. The didn’t admit to lying. They *admitted* to making a mistake Maybe they lied, maybe they didn’t. But it’d be cool if your headline fit the story. Sheesh.

  7. Indeed. I know BoingBoing hasn’t ever tried to hide under the guise of being “fair and balanced” when it comes to such issues, but the headline is factually misleading. I think all of us here can read between the lines and make our own conclusions concerning the truthfulness of the MPAA’s statement (I happen to think “human error” is utter bullshit, as you do) but you got my hopes up when you said they admitted (ADMITTED!!!) to blatant lying.

  8. They LIED about misleading. They LIED when they call it ‘entertainment’. They LIED when they said ‘we’re sorry’.
    They LIED when they said ‘CD’s will last forever.’ They LIED when they said Britney was the best thing since sliced bread. They LIED when they said there were no bigfoots (bigfeets?) on Mars.
    They LIED when they said ‘bigger, better, tastier.’
    Isn’t just about ALL advertisement some form of lying?
    And then to hear a bunch of lawyers are lying … well, I’m not surprised.

  9. How the hell do they come up with that ridiculous data in the first place?

    How can anyone determine the formula for causality where X amount of movies downloaded by group Y = Z total dollars ‘lost’. It sounds like a weird farce.

    I can’t even imagine how they come up with even slightly accurate figures on how many movies are being ‘illegally download’, let alone by a specific group. And how they equate that to lost sales is a whole other story in itself.

    To me, they’ve been more or less making these figures up from the get-go. 44%, 15%, whatever. Seems totally random.

  10. What a bunch of idiots. Campuses set download limits because it’s a shared network, you download too much, you get a warning, and then your internet gets CUT OFF. (University of Toronto)

  11. #3 I saw the fnords and all I got was this lousy post. And some cheap hoffman lenses.

    In other news, I also lost a couple million today when dirty college kids didn’t buy my stuff either. Dirty college kids.

  12. #9: from Miriam-Webster’s web site:

    Main Entry:

    1 a: an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive b: an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker
    2: something that misleads or deceives

    MPAA statements are clearly lies under both 1)b & 2.

  13. Citrusfreak, no matter how clearly they appear to have been lying, they’ll never say so unless forced to do it. My impression is that it would open the door to additional legal action.

    Gary61, not all advertising is lying. We have to remember that fact. It’s what allows us to be indignant about the ads that do lie.

    GD23, you have a great future writing DEA press releases.

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