Suppressed report on raided file-sharing community reveals users as big-spending entertainment purchasers

Following last June's raids on the filesharing site, the Society for Consumer Research carried out research on the users' entertainment consumption habits. The study concluded that's users were among the entertainment industry's best customers, using filesharing as a sampling method to determine which media to purchase, spending premiums to attend weekend showings of new films, and generally outspending average consumers in their media consumption. The unnamed client who commissioned the research reportedly rejected the findings and refused to publish them.

The raids were accompanied by inflammatory press releases that characterised Kino as "a criminal organization to commit professional copyright infringement" and threatened criminal prosecution for Kino's users.

Obviously it would be of great interest to see the report in full, but it appears that is not going to be possible. According to an anonymous GfK source quoted by Telepolis, the findings of the study proved so unpleasant to the company that commissioned the survey that it has now been locked away "in the poison cupboard."

GfK says it has a policy of not revealing who they conduct research for if their clients don't want to be exposed. However, they do carry out research for the movie industry. Telepolis go a stage further and call that work "lobbying".

The GfK source says that the study shows "If you download films, you have an increased interest in the cinema", which only highlights how stupid it would be for the authorities to carry out their implied threat of prosecuting users.

Suppressed Report Found Busted Pirate Site Users Were Good Consumers


  1. *sigh* isn’t this all just a load of guff – the basic theme seems to be powerful stakeholders want to control access to information.

    Fight! Fight for your rights! The UN has even declared access to information a fundamental right.

    I bet the report is in Rupert Murdoch’s cupboard.

    1. Fight! Fight for your rights! The UN has even declared access to information a fundamental right.

      *devil’s advocate* question is, can hollywood blockbusters be considered information alongside impartial news, scientific findings and howtos of various kinds?

      1. *devil’s advocate* question is, can hollywood blockbusters be considered information alongside impartial news, scientific findings and howtos of various kinds?

        Nah, it’s just entertainment product, and IMO, it’s not very important.

        I happen to think that people who download movies and songs are in fact stealing from the copyright holder… but on the other hand, I think the punishment should fit the crime. Download a CD and get caught? Pay a restitution of, say, $15.00.

        Between the increasing period of copyright, it’s increasing scope, and its increasing reach (attempts at squashing Fair Use), I’ve pretty much stopped consuming these particular entertainment products. I suppose I still see the occasional movie (my son will want me to take him to the new HP film), but voting with my pocketbook seems to make more sense than bitching at the companies. It won’t do any good, of course, because as a society we’re addicted to the product…

        1. For me the big issue was always the difference in reaction when various different groups do it:

          1) If a big company copies your content without permission, and you catch them and spend enough effort chasing them up, what generally happens is that the company will agree to retrospectively buy a licence for your content for about what it would have cost them in the first place.

          2) If you copy a big company’s content without permission, and they catch you and spend enough effort chasing you up, what generally happens is they go for your country’s statutory maximum.

  2. Not only it should be familiar to the author, but also it is being displayed on the picture:
    The website is called kino.TO not kino.TV

    1. Cory isn’t really with it today, check the rss feed for some more questionable posts that seem to be nixed on the web site.

  3. It’s like Jesus said, the truth will pin down the weak and fuck them to death. We have nothing to fear.

  4. Whenever I hear tales like this or how sony is a bunch of knobs, or how blockbuster video can’t make money in a world that consumes video content like potato chips I think….

    Man, we should really run Government more like a business

    1. yes, we should whenever a part of the government is not longer wanted, as evidenced by people no longer paying money for its services, it should simply fold up shop and go away.

      You are right, and it is too bad that govt doesn’t operate like that.

      What we sadly see, instead, are businesses acting more like governments (and getting more in bed with them every day)…

    2. I keep telling people to stop bitching about top-level goverment salaries after they say government should be run like a business.

      1. Top Level gov salaries are NOTHING like they could expect to make in the “real world”. There are perks for working for the gov. but gross salary isn’t one of them.

        Running the gov. like a business makes sense in some areas – like the USPS (which does well when run as such.) Other areas, like medicare etc, are there to provide services, not make money on them. Doing so would probably reduce their level of care, and denying care for expensive, risky procedures.

        Certainly, though, the way gov. is run in a lot of areas could be tightened up to conserve money. Often times the procedures in place are backasswards and some tweaks here and there can save a lot of money.

        1. I live in Orange County, CA so I hear people bitching and moaning about government paychecks and benefits on a daily basis. I wasn’t trying to say government workers are over-paid (some are, some are under-paid just like everywhere else). I just hate the trope that government should be run like a business. And as far as the USPS, they do a pretty damn good job. They are mandated to deliver mail to every address in the USA (from Manhattan to BFE, Alaska) Monday through Saturday. Congress sets there rates and operating rules and pile on the fact that the 235 year old business model is trying to cope with e-mail, which has only been around for 20 years.

      2. I think when people mean government should be run like a business I think they mean that fictitious one that you find in Econ 101 classes, where pay is tied to things like work load and importance/responsibility.

        Not multinationals where they trade out CEO’s every couple of years after they have slashes expenditures by firing half the workforce and pumped up stock prices….

  5. “The unnamed client who commissioned the research reportedly rejected the findings and refused to publish them.”

    – “I reject your reality and substitute my own!”

    1. The point is that you can’t interfere with the exchange of information as a preventative measure to keep people from downloading Hollywood movies, whether or not the latter counts as “information”. Although I think the UN finding was more specific (“internet” rather than “information”)?

  6. How much would it cost to commission a redo of the research?
    Could Boing Boing pull together what’s need and readers could chip in a few dollars each.

  7. Back when I was in college, I when I was “sharing” music, I purchased several hundred CDs in only a couple years. Since “sharing” became more of a PITA (with the demise of napster and others), I quit sharing and have only purchased a couple CDs over the subsequent decade.

    The behavior of the record industry made me angry enough I quit buying music all together. Greed on the part of the movie industry has done nearly the same. I quit buying movies a few years ago. I pretty much only watch things on demand (cable) or on Netflix. Previously, I was buying copies of movies which I had seen in theatres or watched on netflix I would never even got around to opening.
    Their behavior towards sharing and greedy pricepoint strategy caused me to quit buying movies as well.


  8. It should be noted that, however “inflammatory” accompanying press releases may have been, *was* in fact a large scale criminal organization for all intents and purposes, and not some harmless kiddies with a file sharing habit. The head organizers that were arrested basically admitted to fully knowing what they were doing there for-profit and to what extend it would transcend legal limits. And they were making a jolly good penny off of it, as it turned out (that is, a few millions). This isn’t exactly a case of the Hollywood mafia going after a grandmother who once copiad an MP3. And besides, prosecution of the portal users was never really part of the equation, due to weak legal footing.

  9. Does a study like this really surprise anyone?

    The vast majority of file sharing is done by your young adult demographic (population wise), which at the same time is going to be the group with the most disposable income as well.

    And I agree with CSBD, I haven’t bought a movie in years. And the last one I did was from BlockBuster in their clearance bin something like 3 for $10…

  10. Wouldn’t they save time if they just told the research company what they wanted the report to say beforehand? This whole business of commissioning a survey and then having to suppress it because the facts don’t support the conclusion you want seems very inefficient to me.

  11. I am a fine example of this – to the negative side.

    I used to buy a lot of music, watch a lot of movies, and download a lot of MP3s. I used to spend $1000s of dollars a year on media.

    I was definitely in the ranks of ‘pirate it and then buy it.’

    But then, something changed. It started about the time of Napster. The record industries, instead of adapting, decided to make war on the consumer. They launched all these lawsuits, without any apparent concern that they were possible ruining people’s lives, people whose ‘crime’ in no way compared to the mammoth judgments rendered against them.

    Through this abuse of the justice system, the RIAA/MPAA themselves became the criminal parties. They love to squawk about these ‘thieves’, but sadly they abandoned the moral high ground back in the early 2000s.

    They stopped focusing on meeting the customer’s demands. They stopped innovating. They stopped using new technologies. The quality of the content (particularly in music) fell off a cliff.

    Instead, the whole industry turned to the courts, turned to DRM, decided to adopt an adversarial relationship with the customers who keep them in business.

    As I saw that, I soured to the whole thing. I stopped listening to ANY new music in any way RIAA affiliated. I stopped going to the movies. I stopped buying movies.

    My total non-book, non-indie media expenditures last year were exactly $0. I can live without your shitty music. I am too busy to watch your shitty movies. etc.

    And they will stay that way. I won’t spend another dime until they abandon their which-hunts, abandon their catastrophically destructive and socially dangerous pro-censorship lobbying, and once again PUT MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY FIRST.

    So long, suckers. Hope you didn’t spend all of the thousands of dollars I gave to you already, because you won’t be getting any more until there is a radical change of attitude.

    A Former Fan

  12. I go see tons of movies, probably more than most people. So, if I buy a ticket to go see Harry Potter, but then hide in the bathroom and then go see Transformers 3, that’s totally cool? Awesome!

  13. I only buy independent music straight from the artists themselves. I see a lot of live gigs and nothing feels better than handing cash directly to the artist who deserves all of it.

  14. Starting to see a pattern here

    You know… as much as Apple has gotten a lot of flack, maybe it’s time to admit they did help bring forward an new era of bringing “copying” to mainstream.

    Anyone remember this Rip. Mix. Burn. ad? It was the very first ad for the Apple iTunes.

    Anyone also remember how controversial that was a decade ago?

    Apple has by no means kept a clean track record (no pun intended) in all DRM matters. But can we all at least in hindsight see that Apple managed to drag the music industry kicking and screaming towards evolution?

    There should be some amount of respect and props for that at least.

  15. I wonder how much it would cost to have the Society for Consumer Research redo the study, for public consumption? I’d gladly chip in the few dollars that I’m no longer spending on movies… :-)

  16. When big pharma suppresses a study showing their miracle drug doesn’t work, that may be unethical as hell, but at least it makes some kind of short-term self-interested sense.

    This? The study is telling the media industry: you’re shooting yourselves in the foot. So why on earth is it to their advantage to suppress it like this? Why don’t they just, you know, stop shooting?

  17. Plus ca change… back in the ’70s (another lifetime really), piracy was about plugging a cassette recorder into your stereo and copying LPs and/or making up mix tapes. The record industry in the UK went apeshit, questions were asked in Parliament, a big campaign was run based on “home-taping is killing music”. And when some objective research was finally done… guess what? Home-tapers were the biggest buyers of legit vinyl. Same as it ever was…

  18. Giving any money to any RIAA or MPAA member is immoral. They destroy people’s lives while cheating on their taxes and cheating the original artists.

  19. When ‘The Matrix’ came out, I worked at a big company that had hogh speed net access, and I managed to download a TS copy of the flick from usenet (and it was TOUGH to find that stuff back in 1999).

    My 2 brothers & I saw it in the theater, prompting me to want to download it. That night, I popped the cd in my pc at home, and my brother walked in to see what I was watching. After about 5 minutes, we both said “Lets see when the next showtime is”, and ran out to see it again in the theater.

    In total, I think we paid to see it at least a dozen times, just from 1 downloaded copy…

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