Why Book Piracy Isn’t Costing U.S. Publishers $3 Billion Per Year

Why Book Piracy Isn’t Costing U.S. Publishers $3 Billion Per Year

no_bullshitIt’s always incredibly aggravating when entities with what is clearly a misdirected hatred of the internet decide that being able to exchange data freely means that we as a society are on our way to an anarchic wasteland.

Copyright watchdog group Attributor is claiming that around $3 billion a year in the publishing industry is being lost to piracy. Their facts? That “nearly 10,000 copies of every book published are downloaded for free,” according to a report the group published.

But here’s why the study is just completely without a leg to stand on: there is no data which could lead anyone to believe that everyone who downloaded a book would have bought it otherwise.

This is the same irrational argument that the recording industry makes against music piracy. Just because someone will take advantage of something when it’s free of monetary cost to him does not at all mean he would purchase it otherwise; anyone with even the most basic understanding of economics can tell you that.

Another reason to be wary of this study: Attributor is trying to use this data to sell a service to publishers to shut down copyright infringement. The company

goes after the ad networks most of them use to make money by showing ads on the download pages for ripped books. Attributor tries to get the ad network – Google, Yahoo, AdBrite — to withhold a percentage of the money they would pay to the site’s operator, and give it to the book’s copyright holder instead.

Essentially, Attributor is trying to scare publishers with bogus numbers to sell them a service they may not need. People, it’s time for the fearmongering to stop.

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