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Piracy losses fabricated - Aussie study

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

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A draft study commissioned by the Australian Attorney General's office finds that the music and software industries attributes sales losses to piracy without any evidence to back their claims, The Australian reports.

According to a draft report by the Australian Institute of Criminology, the music industry can't explain how it arrives at its statistics for staggering losses through piracy. The Business Software Association's claim of $361m per year in lost sales is "unverified and epistemologically unreliable", the report says.

"Of greatest concern is the potentially unqualified use of these statistics in courts of law," the authors observe.

According to The Australian, the study is due to be revised after the institute's senior members disagreed with its conclusions. "We have an extensive quality control system in the institute, so that drafts are read by most senior staff," principal criminologist Russell Smith told the paper.

It will be interesting to compare the final revision with the current draft to learn if the language is merely softened or if the aforementioned "quality control system" should involve reaching conclusions that the report's purchasers would prefer. ®

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