Awhile back, I wrote that a quasi governmental organization was pressuring colleges to install a program so that this organization could spy on those using University computers, and that Congress was considering laws to make such spying mandatory.

No, it wasn’t the FBI, or the CIA, or the NSA. It was the MPAA; and their aim was not to stop terrorists or spies, but to finger nefarious college students who exchanged films on line…and to make things worse, the program that they wanted the Universities to use would allow real hackers to invade the university’s computer network.
Now it turns out that the MPAA used fake statistics to justify their attempt to pressure universities.

Tom Coralis at The Daily Tech writes:

In a humbling admission of error, the MPAA revealed that a crucial statistic used in its campaign against file sharing was overstated by almost three times: college-campus movie downloading cut into the organization’s domestic revenues by only 15 percent, as opposed to its previous statement of 44 percent….Unfortunately, the admission also means that the MPAA’s overstated figures mislead its lobbying targets, which includes congress, presidential candidates, and university IT staffs. It’s even possible that a number of bills – some of which are still floating through congress – were influenced by the incorrect information.

He then notes:

Mark Luker, vice president of the nonprofit advocacy group EDUCAUSE, thinks that the MPAA’s adjusted figures are still too high as they don’t properly account for the 80 percent of college students who live off-campus. With that factor under consideration, says Luker, a more accurate figure might hover somewhere around 3 percent.

So while I can buy the latest films from vendors at the Palenke in our rural Philippino town the week after they open in Asia, thanks to Chinese pirates who have a very efficient copying and distribution system, instead of going after China, the MPAA is instead faking figures to ferret out penniless college students exchanging movies on line.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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