MPAA asks judge to exclude evidence on piracy losses

In a crowded field of talented practitioners, MPAA piracy figures are standout examples of misleading, silly, outright BS. No wonder then, that the MPAA has asked a judge to exclude any data on losses due to piracy from its lawsuit against Isohunt.

“To permit consideration of actual damages under these circumstances would be perverse – and particularly unfair – given that Plaintiffs elected statutory damages precisely because their actual damages are not capable of meaningful measurement,” the MPAA’s legal team writes.

The MPAA argues that since the court has decided to award statutory damages, it is irrelevant to what extent their revenues are negatively impacted by online piracy.

“Defendants should not be permitted to exploit the inherent difficulty of proving actual damages in a case such as this as a basis for lowering the statutory damages award, especially when the very purpose of statutory damages was to provide a remedy that is not dependent on proof of actual damages.”

MPAA Says Piracy Damages Can’t Be Measured [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

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  1. Thing is, they name a figure that's big. The value of all the pirated everythings expressed in terms of first-release retail point of sale. Gazillion$.

    Judge, media, public say "stupid figure. Only a tiny fraction of all those would have been actual sales, because you charge too much." And they'd be right.

    Go with a genuine low figure, stooping for sympathy. Everyone laughs and says "what a little one! is that what all the fuss is about?!!"

    Judge should require they go, at the minimum, with a quantified, validated, independently verified, with some big names on it, people who can't afford to embarrass themselves, range of figures.

  2. Don't forget that some studies show that "pirates" actually purchase more media...

  3. Spamky says:

    Relevant to this conversation (Rob Reid: The $8 iPod)

  4. teapot says:

    Here is a way to calculate your losses MPAA: The more you behave like moneyed brats the more we don't give a fuck about ripping you off.

    Think about it.

  5. But do the costs really compare?

    Comparing "stealing" vs "infringing" ( http://offtheshelf.nowis.com/index.cfm?ID=5 ): stealing = $100,000 fine vs infringing = $3,400,000 fine, with a year in prison for both.

    Comparing music piracy to other crimes in Illinois ( http://gapersblock.com/mechanics/2009/08/17/seven-crimes-to-consider-befor/ ): stealing a CD is a fine of $2500 and a year in jail vs the nearly $2 million that Jammie Thomas was hit with.

    Comparing pirating music to stealing a CD in Massachusetts ( http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2012/05/22/bu-student-fined-675000-for-pirating-music-6-crimes-that-will-cost-you-less/ ): first offense for stealing retail goods less than $100 is a fine of $250 maximum vs the $675,000 that Joel Tenenbaum was fined

    So, while the numbers vary, none of the fines for stealing a physical CD come close to the fine for downloading the same CD. Of course, downloading music is different than stealing a physical CD since the person is not holding onto an object that would otherwise be sold to someone else.

    Comparing copyright infringement not with stealing a CD, but with crimes where someone fails to pay the required amount: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120201/01172117619/how-does-penalty-content-theft-match-up-with-similar-crimes.shtml

    How do the civil damages or penalties for the different types of such “theft” compare? Failure to pay expected money under a contract doesn’t trigger a penalty: contract law usually says that a party can recover the money she expected but not punitive damages or attorneys fees (unless parties have specifically bargained to pay attorneys fees for a breach). Failure to pay rent usually requires payment of rent to cure the default. Failure to put money in the parking meter prompts a ticket for $60. In New York City, failure to pay the $2.50 subway fare results in a maximum fine of $100. [...] If we take copyright law’s maximum-penalty-to-price ratio as applied to an illegal download, and apply that same penalty-to-price ratio to the New York subway, the maximum penalty for jumping that turnstile and avoiding the $2.50 fare would be $375,000 instead of $100.

    (I am not so sure that those other crimes really are similar since with places of residence or parking spots you really are dealing with a limited supply.)

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