I have often told the “tale” that 43% of all statistics are made up on the spot (hey, why make up a new number when the same one gains credence in the endless retelling). Well, I’ve been usurped in that by none-other than Dilbert who suggests that entire business cases can be based upon totally imaginary data.
The continued action in Sweden against The Pirate Bay and its founders Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Warg and others continues to offer laughable justifications to back up the amount being claimed. They’re suggesting that a movie might be worth between $AU40 and $AU46 and every copy of Prison Break (goodness, how apt!) valued at $AU73. I hope that’s a reference to a series, not an individual episode!
Interestingly, the MPA’s Swedish lawyers, MAQS attempt to justify the inflated value by observing that the material available for download is DRM-free and often pre-release. Are they seriously going to float that argument? That (by implication) material encumbered by DRM is of lesser value? That (by further implication) the material available via Torrent sites is worth more than that available through ‘legitimate’ sources.
Oh, and if you bother to wander over to the MAQS website, you’ll find this amusing corporate motto slogan: “Our aim is clear and simple. To be the best at finding the solutions that help strengthen your business. Even if it means challenging the conventions of how a law firm should act.” Emphasis mine.
I have so much I could say to this, but I think I value my bank balance and assets too much! I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions…
Coming back to the Swedish action against The Pirate Bay; no-one would reasonably argue in defence of out-and-out theft. However there are three comments to be made in defence of there guys.
1. No music, video or other copyrighted material ever resided on their servers. Ever.
2. Nothing was diminished by any illegal acts the site might have facilitated. Not one single physical item of stock in any warehouse or store can be identified as stolen.
3. Not withstanding the first two points, when assessing the value of a loss, it would be wise for the MPA to be conservative. That way they might just garner a little support from equivocal observers (you know, those people often referred to as ‘customers!’). The case might also avoid being laughed out of court!
Numbers can be rubbery things and unfortunately they can snap you on the bum when you least expect it.