The Bogus Piracy Math

It’s hard to write good blog posts about really excellent articles because you wind up not having a lot to say about them. So let me just quote Julian Sanchez’s lede:

If you pay any attention to the endless debates over intellectual property policy in the United States, you’ll hear two numbers invoked over and over again, like the stuttering chorus of some Philip Glass opera: 750,000 and $200 to $250 billion. The first is the number of U.S. jobs supposedly lost to intellectual property theft; the second is the annual dollar cost of IP infringement to the U.S. economy. These statistics are brandished like a talisman each time Congress is asked to step up enforcement to protect the ever-beleaguered U.S. content industry. And both, as far as an extended investigation by Ars Technica has been able to determine, are utterly bogus.

The story of where these numbers come from, and how bogus numbers are able to circulate endlessly is pretty fascinating. Check it out. And hopefully some day Big Content and its allies won’t be able to get away with recycling these talking points any more.