Friday, July 09, 2004

Watching the watchdogs, questioning the questioners

The MPAA, the movie version of the RIAA, claims that Movie Piracy Is the New Plague, based on a survey of online users in eight countries. The survey purports to show that almost 25% of online users had "illegally downloaded" a movie in the past year. Skipping, for the moment, over the fact that simply downloading a movie isn't illegal, no one reporting this story appears to be questioning the methodology, or motives, of the surveyor. I can't, either, since the survey documents aren't available (as far as I can tell) from the agency, OTX. But OTX is a subsidiary of Zelnick Media, which describes OTX as specializing in "entertainment industry market research." Zelnick goes on to say that: "OTX research includes creative testing, tracking, screenings, and virtual exit polling for the film industry." Hardly a disinterested observer when it comes to the MPAA, I would think! The OTX website also cites their "...advanced netcasting system using state of the art proprietary technologies for distributing digital media to a mass audience." That sounds like their own interest might be conflicted when reporting results of a survey on distribution of digital media. Illogical results from a suspect company - this can be safely ignored except to show the lengths that the MPAA will go to!

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