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Piracy figures are inflated say criminologists

Tue Nov 07 2006, 15:04
A DRAFT REPORT by the Australian Institute of Criminology says copyright holders are making up piracy figures in order to sway governments to their side.

The report says that piracy statistics are "self-serving hyperbole" which are "unverified and epistemologically unreliable".

A leaked draft of the report has ended up in the sticky paws of an Australian newspaper. It says that copyright owners "failed to explain" how they reached financial loss statistics used in lobbying activities and court cases.

Recently the Business Software Association claimed it had lost $361 million a year to Australian pirates. Author of the report Alex Malik, seems to imply that these figures are being plucked out of thin air.

Malik who is working for the AIC under a commission from the Attorney-General's Department and IP Australia, slammed the use of such statistics in court.

Malik's report also dismisses claims that copyright theft is being carried out by organised crime. He said that either there is no evidence of any links between piracy and organised crime or no one has been able to find them."

Malik added that either these statistics should be withdrawn or the purveyors of these statistics must supply valid and transparent substantiation. However it looks like the report is set to be watered down. Since the draft has been made public, the BSAA has had a hissy fit.

Now Institute principal criminologist Russell Smith said the report was "an early draft" that was "being edited" by the agency.

Smith said that the institute wouldn't use language like Malik's because it's not accurate, hyperbolic and overblown. Of course this does not stop it being true and it is nice that someone official actually tried to say it. µ


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