Entertainment industry incredibly profitable, healthy: but demands special pirate-hunting laws anyway

You know how we hear so much about piracy destroying the entertainment industry? Well, not according to the industry itself. The Intellectual Property Alliance's report on the health of the industry paints a rosy picture, which begs the question: why are we prepared to sacrifice free speech, free assembly, privacy, and human rights for an industry that outperforms the US economy overall, nets more foreign profits than the pharmaceutical industry or the food sector, and is enjoying year-on-year growth?

The International Intellectual Property Alliance unveiled the new report today in association with the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus at an event in Washington, DC. The report doesn't even try to quantify losses to piracy anymore--last year, an official US government report concluded that such estimates were all deeply unreliable. Instead, it simply asserts without evidence that "piracy inhibits… growth in the US and around the world."

"Inhibits growth" doesn't quite equal "causes staggering job losses," the traditional anti-piracy rallying cry. Indeed, copyright industries are being "hard hit" by piracy in the way that plenty of other US industries are desperate to get "hit." (In this sense, the report is bit like the MPAA's routine announcements of record-setting box office revenues even as the movie studios conjure visions of apocalypse.)

During the recession of the last few years, the report shows that copyright-based businesses have far exceeded the US economy as a whole.

Piracy problems? US copyright industries show terrific health


    1. Come all ye young fellows/
      Who follow the sea/
      Singing waaaay, heeeey/
      Blow the man down!

      And please pay attention/
      And listen to me…/
      …Give us some time/
      To blow the man down!

  1. Corporate policy it to always try to increase profits no matter what it takes, legal or otherwise. (‘if we get away with it, it’s legal’)

    Screwing workers, firing workers, exporting jobs, screwing customers, poisoning customers, corrupting the legal system, bribing politicians, lying, bankrupting poor people.

    All to increase dividends by 0.001%  so the CEO gets his $150 million bonus

  2. “But think how much money we’d have been able to make if we’d been able to impose mandatory DRM on every computing device more powerful than a dishwasher, install spy cameras in every teenager’s bedroom, and read all your email! By our most conservative estimate, we’d have made so much money we could have bought South America as a vacation home for our CEO, and still had enough left over to fund a manned mission to Venus! That money is ours by right, and we’re not giving up until we get it!”

  3. Every time you download a song, the entertainment company fires the unpaid intern who was in charge of that song. That is how piracy kills thousands of jobs, yet profits are usually up.

  4. Seems like you’re preaching to the choir here.  I’ve yet to see a post on Boing Boing or Slashdot supporting these draconian internet laws. 

  5. We would truly be in dire straits if it were ever more profitable to move refrigerators and install microwave ovens than to play the guitar on your MTV.

  6. We must also remember the RIAA or MPAA openly admitted they faked a Report on how “Piracy” Hurt the Entertainment Industry to force College campuses to crack down on students downloading files “Illegally”

  7. According to the report, most of the growth in the “copyright industries” over the past four years is in computer software.  Music and publishing are actually down.

  8. I’m no fan of massive corporate entities & wouldn’t mind seeing a nice rattling of this modern state of Corporatism gripping our world like a serpent. 

    That said, I’m wondering what happens to the little guys & girls who rely on copyright laws to keep things straight with our clients?  

    Example: Client A wants me to do a photo shoot for 7 bones + expenses because they “really like my work but have a super tight startup budget.” I say, the only way I can agree to 7 bones is if you accept my license terms (which rely on copyright laws) for specific areas of use. Deal. Six months later Client A runs with the licensed images beyond our agreement, using the shots in a $Gazillion multi platform ad campaign (I think, oh snap, they actually had a “budget” after all) OR Third Party C thinks everything that reaches their monitor is free as a bird and creates an interactive calendar/game with my images. 

    I must say, I like having recourse via laws that can help me, the little guy, in situations like that. 

    So it would be cool to see some balance in this copyright debate. Perhaps some solutions that take the little guys and girls into consideration beyond what CC offers. That’s reasonable isn’t it?

    1. Excuse me if I have trouble understanding you point, but where exactly is the balance lacking?  No one here is arguing that copyright should be abolished, but we are arguing that there is a limit to the measures necessary to prevent copyright infringement.  All of your examples can be handled by lawsuit.  They don’t need laws requiring DRM or laws against breaking locks on DRM or laws requiring that every ISP cut off anyone accused of violating copyright or laws which give you the right to hack other people’s computers to find out if they’re violating your copyright.  None of that will even help in your situation.  But these are exactly the things which the big guys are arguing that we absolutely must have to protect their copyrights.

      As for some solutions which take the little guy into account, what’s preventing you from getting legal remedies in the current system?  All we’re saying is that we don’t want more laws to take away more rights from anyone who isn’t a record company or movie studio.  How is that inconsiderate to you?

      And, frankly, I don’t see how CC fits into this discussion at all.  All that CC offers is an optional license which falls between “all rights reserved” and “no rights reserved”.  It’s not mandatory and no one is advocating making it so.  It’s not an alternative set of laws which would replace copyright or anything like it.

    2. Nobody’s saying copyright should be abolished.

      The assertion being made is that the entertainment content industry is trying to reshape global law to benefit them to the disadvantage of everyone and everything else because of supposed losses due to piracy, when the actual numbers show them doing quite comfortably well and beating the average. They’re trying to claim piracy as an excuse to manipulate the laws of sovereign countries.

  9. It’s called a return for investment on campaign contributions… Gotta think about all those shareholders!

  10. It’s shit, but I can understand they’re setting a precedent. If they didn’t even attempt to chase up pirates and set motions in play to deter them then I’m sure their profits would be more affected. Completely optional to hate the player, but most definitely hate the game.

    It’s very unrealistic in a capitalistic society to think “hey, they have money so they don’t need more!” is justified. I suggest putting that energy into supporting local/grassroots bands/organisations. Keep that money closer to the ground rather than in the ivory towers, etc. I’m an independent self-released artist and could really use some bones if you like my work 8)


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