File Sharing Cost Research

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File Sharing Cost Research

Postby robharris » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:01 pm

As a skeptic I've got a bit of a thing for evidence based policies, while I agree with the hypothesis that file sharing doesn't lose the industry a lot of money because people wouldn't buy all the music they download and it acts as advertising encouraging people to go to gigs/buy merch etc, I'm not aware of any decent research done into the area.

Do people think it would be a good idea for the party to do this kind of research as, if positive, it would be a very good press release and, hopefully some coverage.

My initial thoughts are a survey with questions such as: How much music would you have purchased if you couldn't download it? Has downloaded music ever lead to you spending money on a band through live performances/merchandise purchase?

Just need to find a good way of getting the results, obviously party members only would be a biast sample. Ideas?
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby Infomage » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:13 pm

Great idea! Don't forget the good old "try before you buy."

Speaking for myself, I have acquired music in various ways, be it borrowing a CD from a friend, listening to Spotify or *gasp* downloading. The stuff I have "borrowed" is either returned or in the case of downloads, deleted to free up precious storage space If I like it, I either purchase the CD(s) or just buy the music from iTunes.

Of course this relies on trust, and there will always be people who take liberties, but I'm with Mr Fry on this one - If you can afford it and you like it, buy it. It's an honour thing.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby ktetch » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:04 pm

One of the big problems with surveys, is that they tend towards people answering the questions with a specific viewpoint in mind. Especially when it comes to something like this, with the possibility of court actions etc. people are going to err on the side that makes them look 'better'.

There have been quite a few such studies done though. All the ones funded by the relevent industries, have found that (surprise) it's costing them money. All the ones by groups on the other side, and by independant groups have found that it either made no difference, or increased sales.

But yes, doing research is important. As a party not in any sort of office, research papers etc. should be done, evidence collected, and weighed in. It's a huge positive thing, and good for both publicity, and for showing we understand the issues.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby azrael » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:49 pm

I agree with the voices that say it is extremely difficult to match up policies that support the state mandated monopoly over exploiting 'ideas' while at the same time supporting policies that totally contradict.

If we believe creators deserve the privilege that copyright grants them, then how can we legitimately support ignoring that privilege?

If instead we believe that no-one owns 'ideas' or rather such rights to use ideas are naturally granted to all of society, how can we be supportive of copyrights at all?

We do not need research into what does or does not hinder industry. We need a clear statement of our moral beliefs. Are 'ideas' free for use by all or not? If they are not, why do we accept filesharing?
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby robharris » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:28 pm

azrael wrote:I agree with the voices that say it is extremely difficult to match up policies that support the state mandated monopoly over exploiting 'ideas' while at the same time supporting policies that totally contradict.

If we believe creators deserve the privilege that copyright grants them, then how can we legitimately support ignoring that privilege?

If instead we believe that no-one owns 'ideas' or rather such rights to use ideas are naturally granted to all of society, how can we be supportive of copyrights at all?

We do not need research into what does or does not hinder industry. We need a clear statement of our moral beliefs. Are 'ideas' free for use by all or not? If they are not, why do we accept filesharing?


As far as I was aware it is not party policy to abolish copyright in its entirety, but to change it and bring it up to date. From the manifesto: "We will legalise use of copyright works where no money changes hands" and "profiting directly from other people's work without paying them, will remain illegal." So it has been aknowledged that we believe ideas can still be owned, and free for use only when not making money. Please correct me if my understanding of this is incorrect.

One of the arguements I hear from people against filesharing is an economic one, talking about money and jobs lost in the music industry, and even sometimes suggestions that the arts will die out. If you believe the numbers industry give us, which I don't, that is a legitimate arguement, especially in the "current financial climate". It would be great if we could just argue this point on a freedom principle alone, but it would be better for the party, in my opinion, to take the arguement on from the same viewpoint that it is argued aswell.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby robharris » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:32 pm

ktetch wrote:One of the big problems with surveys, is that they tend towards people answering the questions with a specific viewpoint in mind. Especially when it comes to something like this, with the possibility of court actions etc. people are going to err on the side that makes them look 'better'.

There have been quite a few such studies done though. All the ones funded by the relevent industries, have found that (surprise) it's costing them money. All the ones by groups on the other side, and by independant groups have found that it either made no difference, or increased sales.

But yes, doing research is important. As a party not in any sort of office, research papers etc. should be done, evidence collected, and weighed in. It's a huge positive thing, and good for both publicity, and for showing we understand the issues.


I know there are problems with leading questions, have had those issues helping with market research for another organisation. As far as court action goes, most people I expect would be pretty open after they know who we are, and know it's anonymous.

Have you got any links handy to the research by both sides?
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby Finlay_A » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:37 pm

The "privilege" should only apply to commercial exploitation of an idea. By granting copyright we say "you are the only one allowed to make money from this for the next x years". It's not a gaurantee of income, we're not going to force people to buy your product, we're just making sure your can't be ripped off for big profits by e.g. record companies. I see no contradiction here.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby azrael » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:59 pm

The contradiction that I see is: On one hand we say that someone does have the right to exploit their ideas, but on the other hand we also want to prevent them from having any say in how those ideas are freely used. It seems that our position of freedom of ideas is basically down to if the idea is sold or not. Where is the moral standpoint on freedom of ideas if I tell you that you are free to use ideas any way you want as long as you don't make money?

I would like to hear *why* people believe that ideas and creativity should be free for everyone. And then try to understand why they hold those views and at the same time still believe in copyrights.

and robharris, you are right. It isn't party policy to abolish copyrights. I'm just challenging opinions
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby samgower » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:11 pm

One way to avoid bias questioning may be hire a recognised polling firm like Ipsos MORI, equally split the cost with a pro-copyright organisation, and make sure both us and the other organisation sign off the questions as appropriate.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby borgs8472 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:12 pm

Ipsos MORI are too expensive for us. (true fact, I worked for them for 2 whole weeks!)
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby Finlay_A » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:21 pm

azrael wrote:I would like to hear *why* people believe that ideas and creativity should be free for everyone.


Because it's the basis for all human advancement? That's maybe just me.

I also would like to ask the opposite: "why not"?

It's natural to copy ideas, it's what we do, it's how we learn. You can't "own" an idea, and that's not what copyright is about, or has ever been about.

Copyrights are somewhat of a compromise. They limit our freedom to share and use ideas but they're supposed to enable new ideas to have time to develop, and to encourage them to be shared, and to encourage people to create them, and continue creating them. Of course this is completely useless if these ideas are never allowed to be free, or not for 70 years at which time they may be obselete and irrelevant, and so we have gained bery little from our compromise. Of course what we want is to reform copyright so it serves the purposes I've mentioned, and so that society get's something back for the rights it has (willingly, for the benefits) given away.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby robharris » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:51 pm

Whether people can "own" ideas or not is pretty much down to definition, I mean it as "owning the commercial rights" which is fair enough for a period of time. If someone comes up with an money making idea, they deserve to get the money. Also I feel it is wrong to be making a living of someone elses work, either by ripping them off or transfer of copyright.

On the other hand if I'm using someones work in a way that doesn't make any profit they why should that be stopped. The main argument is it harms the "owner" through by means of loss of earnings, which I believe to be factually false aswell as a flawed principle.

There are two grey areas for me though: firstly using an idea within a new idea (either remixing a song, or copyrighted component in a new machine etc.). Which I would fall on the side of its ok; Secondly a not for profit organisation using a copyrighted idea for commercial purposes, such as a charity or political party using a song for an advert, that is an area I'm really not sure where I stand on.

On using IPOS or similar, would be the best way to go, although I don't have a clue what the party's bank balace is like, I know its not cheap to out source polls.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby samgower » Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:05 pm

azrael wrote:I would like to hear *why* people believe that ideas and creativity should be free for everyone.

"Why should ideas and creativity be free for everyone?" the wrong question to ask.

A pirate's benefit from a creative work doesn't harm the creator, even though copyright owners would like people to think that they or the creator are "losing" something unless everyone pays through the nose for it. If we are to follow the principles of liberty, laws that don't protect someone from being harmed by another are unnecessary, excessive and authoritarian.

So the question to ask is not "why should ideas and creativity be free for everyone?" but rather "why shouldn't they be free for everyone?" as it is that freedom that would exist without the law there to remove it. The answer, of course, is that creativity should be rewarded.

Since liberty is all about having the power to make your own decisions, an acceptable reason to curtail liberty would be if everyone decides by consensus to forfeit some of their liberty for the greater good -- in this case encourage creativity. That's what copyright is, a forfeit of liberty for the greater good. So good questions to ask would be "is there consensus on the strength of copyright?" (hint: this party wouldn't exist if there were) and "does copyright currently reward creativity?"
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby borgs8472 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:02 pm

azrael wrote:I would like to hear *why* people believe that ideas and creativity should be free for everyone. And then try to understand why they hold those views and at the same time still believe in copyrights.

I don't believe this. I feel the technologies have outstripped the means of corresponding revenue generation and this will take many years to reverse. *\o/*
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby ktetch » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:10 pm

robharris wrote:I know there are problems with leading questions, have had those issues helping with market research for another organisation. As far as court action goes, most people I expect would be pretty open after they know who we are, and know it's anonymous.

Have you got any links handy to the research by both sides?

Off the top of my head, there's a bunch of industry ones, including the rand-mpaa one, that formed the basis of a film09 segment last year (6 weeks after the study was heavily debunked), the LEK study, the BVA also dose an annual one.

On 'our' side, there's been a lot, I can think of the figures, but not the attributions offhand. I think there was an Industry Canada one, done for their C-61 bill (industry canada is like the uk's BIS) and some done in the Netherlands, and elsewhere. If I get time, I'll try and dig out some references, but check out Ars, wired, slyck and torrentfreak. many of those studies will be covered there.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby cabalamat » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:00 pm

borgs8472 wrote:Ipsos MORI are too expensive for us.


Out of interest do we know, in general terms, how much they and other polling organisations charge?
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby Aradiel » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:54 am

borgs8472 wrote:
azrael wrote:I would like to hear *why* people believe that ideas and creativity should be free for everyone. And then try to understand why they hold those views and at the same time still believe in copyrights.

I don't believe this. I feel the technologies have outstripped the means of corresponding revenue generation and this will take many years to reverse. *\o/*

This - technology has improved beyond the current mainstream business models and so business models should evolve. One way of encouraging this is that is to weaken copyright from the insane monopoly position it is in. If terms are shorter, people will not be able to sit on their laurels any more and will instead need to create new ideas and models of exploiting those ideas for financial gain.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby Finlay_A » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:56 pm

Another are we could do research into would be Patents, sepcifically our policy on drug patents. This is a policy which I've found really stuck a chord with a lot of voters, some even later cited as one of the main reasons they voted pirate! It would be good to develop this somewhat.

Also, you might find this interesting Rob, I found an old article by Ben Goldacre on drug patents in the third world: http://www.badscience.net/2009/09/please-give-us-all-your-money/ Was thinking this would be a good project for me, you and laura-anne to collaborate on, what with Strathclyde being a big drug research place and all.
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby PeterBrett » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:15 pm

I'd absolutely love to see the party carrying out research like this -- however, it occurs to me that actually it's the sort of activity that would be more appropriate for ORG (possibly with our support). Does anyone fancy contacting ORG to find out if they're interested in collaborating with us to gather some quantitative evidence to support our positions on things like patent and copyright reform?
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Re: File Sharing Cost Research

Postby Finlay_A » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:37 pm

Actually Peter, you're right, and on the scale we could do things at Strathclyde it would suit a contribution to a bigger research project more than one in its own right. Wasn't Philip a founding member of ORG?
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