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Researchers Find Megaupload Shutdown Hurt Box Office Revenues 203

An anonymous reader writes "We've heard this one before, over and over again: pirates are the biggest spenders. It therefore shouldn't surprise too many people to learn that shutting down Megaupload earlier this year had a negative effect on box office revenues. The latest finding comes from a paper titled: 'Piracy and Movie Revenues: Evidence from Megaupload.'"
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Researchers Find Megaupload Shutdown Hurt Box Office Revenues

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  • Shallow research (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso ( 153703 ) * on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:01PM (#42087971) Homepage Journal

    What movies did they use in their control group? I'm sorry but a 3 page paper with little details on the research is not enough to convince me that they can
    make any kind of valid conclusion.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:11PM (#42088083) Journal

    So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

    Who cares? The only thing that matters is how to protect the internet from those who interfere. It far to easy to knock people offline, and that's what needs to be stopped.

  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:11PM (#42088085)
    Was this report written by the same people who scream that "correlation does not equal causation" when we point out that US per-capita music sales revenue has dropped by 70% in the last 10 years (to the lowest point anytime in the last 50 years) - during the exact period when piracy was on the rise?
  • by geekboybt ( 866398 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:13PM (#42088093)

    There's only a small, finite number of movies in theaters at any one time - the article mentioned 1344. If each one were hosted once, that'd be 1344 files. Meanwhile, MegaUpload was hosting files numbering many orders of magnitude beyond that. Therefore, it's possible that both are correct - most files were not piracy related, but there were some that did, and they may have had an effect on the market.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:13PM (#42088101)

    If Megaupload did hurt box office sales, then they obviously hosted lots of pirated material. This is against how the pirates are saying that Megaupload was mostly used for non-piracy related files. So did they host mainly pirated movies etc or did it not?

    I've never used megaupload and I don't know how much of what it hosted (my impression is that most users wouldn't know what other users were using it for but maybe I'm wrong there) buy clearly it is perfectly possible both for it to be mostly used for non-piracy related files and for it to host lots of posted material. There is no contradiction between the two.

    I suspect that the internet as a whole is mostly used for non-piracy purposes but clearly shutting it down would reduce piracy significantly...

  • by seepho ( 1959226 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:14PM (#42088105)
    I could write a paper that shows that the bacon shortage hype earlier this year affected box office revenues that would make exactly as much sense as this paper does. It reads like the only research tool the writer used was a thesaurus.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:19PM (#42088127) Homepage

    NO ONE is denying that OP content lives on these and other servers. NO ONE.

    Claims asserted include that Megaupload is used for MORE than just that and that innocent users and businesses were harmed by the overzealous acts of the US government... not just overzealous, but illegal acts.

    By the reasoning you are implying, public parks should all be shut down because drug deals are known to occur in them.

    Now for a psycho-medical opinion of you: You suffer from omission and denial of the obvious along with selective evidence and conclusions based on belief. The result of this is your apparent manufacture of statements made by this imaginary "singular entity" that are 'pirates' which are not even pirates by correct definitions.

  • Re:Good and Bad (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:30PM (#42088201)

    Sounds perfect: Make more money and push the "competition" out of the market.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:33PM (#42088215) Homepage

    If anyone thinks a bad camcorder copy of a screener will keep someone from going to see a film, then they are a complete and total idiot. 90% of the "pirated" movies on the internet are really low quality screeners or early edits that have crap audio and video quality. And these same videos are the ones the MPAA are claiming HURT their income. Where in fact it helps their income. When you are looking at dropping $40-$80 to go see a movie in the theater, Yes $40 is a realistic number, I recently paid that to take my wife to see SkyFall, you will have people that will not see a film unless they are sure it is not crap.

    But the executives out there are so under educated they cant see marketing that is working for them. Now we have metrics that show that "pirated" films do in fact increase sales....

    After my experience of taking my wife to a movie opening, I'm not going back again. The movie was OK, but smelling the disgusting feet of a unbathed idiot in the row behind, me or the rude idiots that must text on their phones through the movie as well as the sticky seating and floor means I'll watch them at home when they ome out on BluRay. My theater at home has better sound anyways....

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:40PM (#42088249)

    So no real effect either way then. Then why was it shut down again? Because people who are cheap (or have no money) will not go see it anyway? Yet they could affect others slightly?

    Eventually digital music will cut its own throat. Once you get a 'good enough portable copy'. There is 0 reason to buy it again, ever. Unless someone can convince you that their digital copy is better. Also the 'album' format is basically dead. Instead of 10 songs you may or may not want, people just buy the 1 or 2 songs they want from it. So instead of basically 15 dollars margin per album they are getting 1-2 bucks. Digital single sales are imploding the market. Even without piracy margin is less than 10% of what it was. They have been lucky in that year over year total number of sales are up (hitting more people who would not bother to buy music at all at 15 bucks a copy).

    Also a lot of that 70% could also be that the market has basically tanked. So discretionary spending is *way* down across the board on everything. Music/Movies is not somehow immune to this.

    Keep your eye on 'subscription' services. That is where all the big studios will move to. You will hear things like "access 15 million songs for a low per month cost of 10 bucks". They need to figure out ways to resell you the same album you have bought 3 times already...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:45PM (#42088287) doesn't mean anything in the bigger picture of whether piracy affects sales. Closing Megaupload didn't shut down piracy, everyone just moved onto another hosting services, not to mention all the plethora of peer-to-peer downloading options still available.

    I would be far more interested if research would focus on the effect of transformative use of copyrighted material. If there's one change to copyright law that I would back without hesitation, it is a strengthening of protections for, and an expansion of fair use, parodies, and incidental usage. All of those would largely achieve the same positive word-of-mouth effects that the researchers tout, without the negative aspects of piracy.

  • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:50PM (#42088321) Journal

    If Megaupload did hurt box office sales, then they obviously hosted lots of pirated material.

    You get an F in Logic 101 today. It is quite possible for a site to host no pirated content and yet hurt box office sales. For example, movie critic web sites could give low ratings. A site could have only trailers (presumably that would be legal), which could backfire, convincing people to skip the movie. Perhaps the most damaging blow is an entertainment related discussion site ignoring the existence of a particular movie.

    You demand a yes or no answer to an unfair question we all know can already be answered with a yes. This is the springboard to an obvious and contrived implication, which is "Megaupload broke the law/is evil".

    Have you ever told a lie? Ever? If you've told just one lie in your entire life, then you are a liar! The number of adults who aren't liars under that standard might well be zero. The world is a sink of depravity.

    And your black and white view is, as others said, beside the point. The real enabler is technology in the form of the Internet and extremely capacious and fast storage media. Bashing Megaupload is just shooting the messenger.

  • by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <marc,paradise&gmail,com> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:01PM (#42088389) Homepage Journal

    The proof is far more solid than any proofs given of the damage caused by piracy.

    Yet you've never once whined about that, have you.

    Shoddy research is shoddy research. No matter if you agree with the premise or not.

  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:32PM (#42088527) Homepage

    I think the content industries have a perfect streak going: they always oppose technologies that turn out to be, not only not harmful, but actively good for their bottom line.

    Radio was going to ruin record sales. A few decades after they lost that one, they were shelling out payola to get on the air.
    The cassette tape recorder was going to destroy records. After losing that one, they made a mint selling everybody the same record twice, the new version being portable.
    VCRs were going to be to the movie industry what the Boston Strangler was to women; after the Betamax decision, they made money selling cassettes.

    The lesson is, that when content industries oppose a new technology, they have to be beaten ... for their OWN good....

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:51PM (#42088607) Homepage Journal

    Movies still in the theater aren't sold for a long time. Logically, if someone DLs a movie and likes it enought to see it in the theater, he's going to buy it when it comes out on blu-ray.

    The "article" was an abstract from the study, I saw no flaws. "We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenues." What was flawed?

  • by noh8rz10 ( 2716597 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:29PM (#42088829)
    "We find that the shutdown had a negative, yet insignificant effect on box office revenue" This is in the abstract! nothing to see here, just fodder for pirates who want some legitimacy. Advice to pirates: don't read the abstract and you'll feel better about it.
  • SO what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:13PM (#42089389)

    The article states an observational fact: less mega upload results in less purchases of second tier films. But the implication is that "piracy is good and not a crime". It is a crime whether you think it's good or not. Moreover even if it helped some sellers it may not have helped others (blockbuster owners). So one cannot point to a net increase in sales as being beninficial to all. FOr all we know the per sale profit is also lower of selling cheaper titles. The bottom line however it ultimately it's the copyright holder's decision not yours on whether to sell a movie or not. They are free to act contrary to their own interests. That's the point of giving then the control in the first place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:23PM (#42089427)

    Box office != to Movies sold.

    I assume you're referring to DVD/BluRay sales. It's worth noting that the industry also claimed, at one point, that VCRs should be illegal because they enabled piracy. A couple of years down the line, legitimate VHS sales were a major part of their revenue.

    It's ad hominem, I know, but the industry doesn't have a great track record of accurately forecasting the effects of new technology on their business. They follow the same MO each time...try to block all progress to maintain the status quo and then, once there's no other option, adapt. Studies like this are needed to help bring that adaptation sooner rather than later.

  • by arkane1234 ( 457605 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @07:20PM (#42089671) Journal

    No operating system can be secure enough to stop a person from installing something. That's how it spreads.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:44AM (#42091841) Journal

    If it can be said in 3 pages, it should be said in 3 pages. End of story.

    Indeed! Einstein's famous 1905 paper was three pages long and had zero references.

    The longer a paper is, the more likely it is, that it’s complete bullshit.

    Reversing the "logic" does not make one jot of difference, judging the worth of a document by the number of words is just plain silly.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller