Meganomics: The Future of ???Follow-the-Money??? Copyright Enforcement

Addendum: Regarding the monetary harm of Megaupload???s activities, the Justice Department characterized it, without explanation, as ???well in excess of $500,000,000??? since 2006. And although that number is probably meant to impress, it???s somewhat baffling. Even without a per annum breakdown, it comes nowhere near the annual piracy losses claimed by the major industry groups???whether the BSA???s $58 billion loss claims for software losses in 2010 or the ???conservative??? $26 billion estimate for movie, music, and software piracy from 2007, which lazy journalists still allow to circulate. This for the site that MPAA called ???By all estimates??? the largest and most active criminally operated website targeting creative content in the world.???

Since we???re using made up numbers here, let???s make up some more???and for the sake of argument, some extremely favorable ones for the Justice Department???s effort to paint Megaupload as the big bad. Posit that all $500 million in losses came in 2011. Posit the $26 billion loss number. Megaupload???s contribution to the pirate economy tops out at 2%.

“meant to impress” with little other value.

Numbers of Mass Distraction: Part 2

It is clear that recent events surrounding SOPA do not represent the end of the war waged by the copyright industries; at most it’s a skirmish they will concede, albeit very grudgingly, as lost. Judging from the experiences we faced in the UK with The Digital Economy Bill (I covered some of those shenanigans here in Musing About Downloads In The UK) dealing with SOPA (and PIPA) is going to be a long hard war of attrition. A war where every one of us needs to understand the weapons being used against us, as well as the absolute flimsiness of the ammunition.

I intended to write another long post on this flimsiness, then found that someone else had done a far better job than I could’ve. So what I shall do instead is to link to the wonderful post on the subject by research fellow Julian Sanchez at the Cato Institute. Headlined How Copyright Industries Con Congress, it’s a must-read. While you’re at it, it’s also worth reading Julian’s earlier piece on the subject in Ars Technica. The elevator version is as follows: numbers related to the value of illegal downloads as well as numbers related to the number of jobs affected are at best wild unsubstantiated estimates, and at worst devious attempts to flim-flam a legislature crying out to be flim-flammed. The $200-$250 billion number, while it came from a sidebar in a reputable magazine, was actually an unsourced estimate of the value of all counterfeit and pirated goods worldwide, and was clearly stated in the magazine as such. And the 750,000 jobs lost number was taken from a 1986 speech by the then Secretary of Commerce, a number that has never been endorsed by the Department of Commerce.

2011: Piracy Wars and Internet Censorship

Looking back at the past 12 months it???s fair to conclude that 2011 was the year that the entertainment industries focused on piracy-fueled Internet censorship. Domain seizures, DNS blockades, raids and arrests dominated the news, and the threat of the SOPA and PIPA bills in the US left millions of Internet users worried. Let???s see how events unfolded.

At the end of the year when new developments draw to a close, it???s time to take a look back and take stock. Below is our overview of some of the most interesting events we reported during the first half of 2011.

Take a deep breath???

And hold your nose.

RIAA: Someone Else Is Pirating Through Our IP-Addresses

A few days ago we reported that no less than 6 IP-addresses registered to the RIAA had been busted for downloading copyrighted material. Quite a shocker to everyone – including the music industry group apparently – as they are now using a defense previously attempted by many alleged file-sharers. It wasn’t members of RIAA staff who downloaded these files, the RIAA insists, it was a mysterious third party vendor who unknowingly smeared the group’s good name.

Yeah, right. Like RIAA would accept that from any one else. Their deceit is only exceeded by their greed, stupidity and hypocrisy.