Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Admits it Overstated College Student Piracy by Nearly 300%

February 6, 2008

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has issued a statement in which it admits that the figure it has been touting since 2005 - that piracy of movies by college students accounted for 44% of all of the motion picture industry’s domestic losses - was overblown by nearly a whopping 300%.

In reality, the amount of losses due to piracy by college students amounts to just 15% of the motion picture industry’s total domestic losses.

Now, granted, 15% of total losses in an industry that experiences billions of dollars of losses a year is not chump change, but consider that 85% of all of the motion picture industry’s losses were due to other factors, and then consider the massive witch hunt which the industries have conducted at colleges and universities across the country.

Said Seth Oster, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications for the Motion Picture Association of America, in a written statement:

“In 2005, the Motion Picture Association of America hired LEK, one of the world’s top consulting firms, 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.

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 percent 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 percent — or nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in stolen content annually by college students in the U.S.

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.”

Um, weren’t you confident that the last report provided an accurate and reliable assessment of piracy? You know, that report on which you predicated that witch hunt?

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