MPAA admits error in campus piracy study


MUMBAI: The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), admitted that it grossly overestimated college students’ contribution to its reported $6.1 billion in annual global piracy losses.

The MPAA has claimed for some time now that college students account for 44 per cent of its piracy losses in the US. However, now MPAA says that only about 15 per cent of its losses happen within campus broadband networks.

In 2005, the Motion Picture Association of America hired LEK to conduct a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive study of the global economic impact of movie piracy. That study shed light on the international effects of motion picture piracy and gave the industry its first look at the extent of Internet piracy both domestically and in 21 other countries.

The statement from MPAA read, “While in the process of recently updating that study with current data, we discovered there had been an isolated error in the LEK process two years ago that resulted in an inflated number for piracy by college students. The 2005 study had incorrectly concluded that 44 per cent of the motion picture industry’s domestic losses were attributable to piracy by college students. The 2007 study will report that number to be approximately 15 per cent — or nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in stolen content annually by college students in the US.”

“We take this error very seriously and have taken strong and immediate action to both investigate the root cause of this problem as well as to substantiate the accuracy of the latest report. Additionally, the MPAA will retain a third party to validate LEK’s updated numbers. We are confident that when the report is complete it will provide an accurate and reliable assessment of worldwide piracy,” the statement added.

“Piracy remains a profound global problem that affects not only the motion picture industry, but consumers, the overall US economy and American workers generally. American workers miss out on thousands of new jobs each year and billions of dollars in earnings, in addition to the cities and towns that lose millions of dollars in tax revenue – all due to piracy. The latest data confirms that college campuses are still faced with a significant problem. Although college students make up three percent of the population, they are responsible for  a disproportionate amount of stolen movie products in this country. We will continue to aggressively fight piracy on all fronts including working to forge alliances with other copyright organizations, deploying technologies that help combat piracy and  working closely with governments around the world who recognize the importance of intellectual property to a strong economy,” said the MPAA statement.