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Miscalculating Sales Losses in Copyright Debates  (View post)

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

Monday, April 23, 2007
11 years ago4,000 views

Philipp – You will always see inflated stats like that when it comes to piracy or illegal copies of videos on websites. You can't take # of views as total number of people that watched the entire film. I know for a fact that I open a lot of Google Video videos and then never watch the whole thing or just move on to the next link.

Also, how can they say that if someone watched the film that they would have purchased it. Maybe they would have rented it through Netflix or one of their local video stores.That would greatly reduce the amount of so called 'lost revenue'.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

It's a bit like saying that the supermarket loses a bottled water sale for every liter that someone gets out of their tap for free.

In fact, supermarkets succeed in selling lots of bottled water even though it is available for free, by providing a packaged, branded product in the right place, at the right time, with the right image, for a reasonable price.

In the same way, the entertainment industry could still sell lots of CDs and DVDs even if there was no copyright. They would just need to provide a packaged, branded product in the right place, at the right time, with the right image, for a reasonable price.

jk [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

very true.... because I watched the movie on google video in english and they day afterwards it would have come on arte in tv in german (and they don't have ads)...

so I preferred watching it in English, thus I chose to watch it on gvideo

loss=0

just 1 of 1000 examples

Kevin [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Thanks for setting the record straight both here and on the Epicenter blog.

LCMoomaw [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Just anecdotal,but...
I can think of 3 DVDs I purchased in the last year, out of maybe 50 or so I watched at least part of, that I WOULD NOT HAVE BOUGHT OTHERWISE. This is value added advertising, something that cost the the studio nothing but convinced my to purchase a DVD so I could watch it in something other than than the crappy little flash player thingy that pops up. I can't be alone in this...

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

I agree in the idea of previewing music and video content before you buy is a good thing. I probably have 30 or more CDs on my shelf that I only like one song off of. The CDs I do buy now are ones I know I like because I've listened to them online before I made a purchase.

MJ Rich [PersonRank 6]

11 years ago #

Intellectual property is crazy.

Hashim [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

saying "potential sales would be more accurate.

ZZ [PersonRank 3]

11 years ago #

It is what they call "ghost demand" in business.

Veky [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

One point it seems nobody mentioned (not to diminish the importance of other points):

Maybe I've lost touch with today's commerce, but for Heaven's sake, they are not selling _views_, they are selling material DVDs. DVDs I can view as many times as I want. And, I hope it's not illegal if my girlfriend watches it together with me. :-P

Josef Sábl [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

This reminds me of one stupid idea that one of the bosses in my town reportedly had.

He said: "Well, local swimming pool costs $1 per visit and it has 10.000 visitors every year. Let's raise the cost to $20 per visit. We will earn $190.000 like this."

One is amazed how influential people are often pretty dumb.

Josef Sábl [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

to MJ Rich... I think you are crazier :-)

Martin [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

So they claim a price insensitive (=vertical) demand curve for the video? Yeah, right.

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

I can't tell you how many times my kids have watched the same movie over and over... sometimes in one day!
I'm with Veky....

Eric W [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Now, what I'd LOVE to see (and could never, ever possibly get the data for) is a plot of views per day vs. time compared to a plot of DVD sales per day vs. time for the same period... align the X-axis and compare the amplitude, first derivative, and second derivatives of the two curves...
Because:
1) The pattern of viewings should expose some idea of what portion of the views are due to a network effect (isolate static, consistent viewing patterns from spikes due to link-storms).
2) With some time-delay after the spikes, I'd expect to see a smaller matching spike in sales of the DVD – say 0.1% of people go buy it because they liked it.

Anybody know if this sort of data is available? Maybe from bands intentionally posting MP3's?

eric dot willeke at gmail dot com

Michael Martinez [PersonRank 5]

11 years ago #

You've misunderstood what is at stake. You're viewing the "lost sales estimate" as if it's a valuation of "lost revenue opportunity" but that isn't what copyright protects.

The performance is protected. The copyright owner is entitled to compensation for every viewing of the protected performance.

To deny them compensation is equivalent to saying, "I'm going to park my car in Michael's public parking garage every day for a year and pay him nothing." You're using my garage without paying me the compensation I am due.

Copyright doesn't protect the media or the packaging: it protects the expression of the idea.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Adario's statement was very clear, and he didn't even talk about copyright laws: he said that because the movie at Google was viewed about 350,000 times, it represents "a loss of about $5 million in DVD sales." And that's just nonsense, IMO.

Eric W [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

What I'd like to get to is a real answer on the financial aspects. There's no question it's illegal and a copyright violation to post that content without express written permission, blah blah blah.

What I believe is that some degree of that illegal activity actually helps the copyright holder generate additional revenue than otherwise, though harnessing the network effect of some free views. Many theaters do that already with free previews a week before the official opening.

Or, better yet, take a look at pandora.com and their model.

mrbene [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Michael (and I'm responding to you 'cause you make your point well, and I agree with you about the current state of the law), it's more like parking in Google's "U-Shovel" gravel parking lot for free (with a few ads along the side) instead of buying a parking spot in Adario's paved parking lot for $25, then Adario saying "since a car went into Google's parking lot 350,000 times, I would have earned about $5 million."

Adario has made several assumptions that can be considered errors:

1) Not comparing apples to oranges. Number of cars going into a parking lot does not equal total unique cars, just as number of views does not equal number of Unique Users, or potential DVD sales.

2) Assuming that a pay parking lot would attract the same traffic as a free parking lot. There's a price point that people are willing to pay – and some people will take a cab or the bus, or rideshare, in order to save on parking (and gas, and all that). Similarly, people will rent movies, watch them at friends' houses, and buy them off sketchy street vendors.

3) Assuming that the quality is the same. A DVD is significantly better quality than a video off Google Video or YouTube. In fact, it could be argued that you're watching a calculable percentage of the movie when you're watching it there – easily 80% of the data isn't delivered. Personally I can't stand that level of lossy compression, and I don't understand why there isn't a stronger push on this difference.

In conclusion, I think that we can agree that a significantly larger number of people are willing to watch a poorly encoded version of a current movie for free after navigating a couple of web pages with advertisements, then are willing to purchase the DVD. This doesn't mean that these people aren't criminals under copyright law, and as such at risk of being prosecuted for up to $1 million, and imprisoned for up to 10 years (if they're repeat offenders). It does mean that the $5 million in DVD sales is overstated.

I'd like to add that any society that considers 100,000 people (assuming an average of 3.5 views per person) to be criminals based simply on the material that they view is unhealthy, and that when 12.8 million people (US Unique Users for YouTube in July, 2006) out of ~300 million are very likely to have viewed copyright material without paying for it, that unhealthiness has become an epidemic that should lead towards change.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Yet another full movie?

Hot Fuzz
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...
All time views: 153,194 – Feb 27, 2007

[Via Digg digg.com/movies/Entire_Hot_Fuz ...]

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

N. points out two more:

The Core
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Hollow Man 2
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

This is going to piss off movie studios even more since some of these movies are still in the theater. Hot Fuzz is a cam recorded movie as the movie is currently in theaters. I'm surprised Google doesn't have an easy way to report copyright infringement. They have a form in the help section but how many users will fill out all of the necessary information to get a movie removed. Also, the list of movies that are available in Google Video will just keep getting longer and longer.

Farenheit 9/11
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

American Pie 5 – The Naked Mile
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Sin City
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

These two movies Hot Fuzz & American Pie 5 – The Naked Mile are now showing the message "This video is currently not available. Please try again later.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Don't know what these are, but they are titled "CNTT" and over an hour long each. Keywords include "Vietnamese drama", and they're appearing in the favorites section of the Google Video homepage:

video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Philipp – Both videos start off showing the name "Golden Faith". After searching Wikipedia, it appears that it's a soap opera from 2002. It was aired on Television Broadcasts Limited. Television Broadcasts Limited or TVB is the over-the-air television station in Hong Kong. Not sure why its labeled as a Vietnamese drama though.

Golden Faith wikipedia page:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_F ...

More about TVB:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Televisi ...

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

It was dubbed in Vietnamese. A full list of the dubbed eipsodes can be found in a pdf through Google.com search.

PDF viewed as HTML:

+ Show PDF

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

More movies:

Transporter: (Good quality)
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Akira (Anime)
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Some TV Shows:
Grey's Anatomy
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Modern Marvels:
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Heroes:
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

Funniest thing I found was a video that was 1 hour and 53 minutes long that only displayed the following text:
"Watch Full Saw 3 at ...website address"
video.google.com/videoplay?doc ...

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