Lies we tell ourselves about IP infringement

NBC/Universal has convinced itself that the world needs more IP police. The truth is somewhat different.

Tech Culture

Glyn Moody has a disturbing post on the latest attempt to stave off the IP hemorrhaging the industry apparently suffers. Quoting from Glyn's post:

"Our law enforcement resources are seriously misaligned," NBC/Universal general counsel Rick Cotton said. "If you add up all the various kinds of property crimes in this country, everything from theft, to fraud, to burglary, bank-robbing, all of it, it costs the country $16 billion a year. But intellectual property crime runs to hundreds of billions [of dollars] a year."...

This is clearly total poppycock: the figures for the supposed losses due to "piracy" are hugely exaggerated and the result of wishful thinking - as if every copy represents a lost sale, which is patently false, even for analogue goods, never mind digital ones.

I agree with Glyn's assessment, and will take the critique one step further: one of the biggest problems that NBC/Universal and other content companies have is not IP theft, but rather IP clinginess.

In other words, they need to learn alternative ways to profit from content. Look at Google - Google seems to have no problem whatsoever profiting from content largely because it has learned how to deliver value around content. (Sounds a bit like the best open source vendors, too, right? Sell value around the software, but not the software itself.) I wrote about this early on - the content providers need to figure out new ways to get paid. They don't have an IP infringement problem; they have a basic business model problem.

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