The BBC is reporting that the results of a survey show that file sharers on average spend £77 compared to those who don’t whose spending comes in at £44.

People who download music illegally also spend an average of £77 a year buying it legitimately, a survey has found……Those who claimed not to use peer-to-peer filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay spent a yearly average of just £44.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8337887.stm

Ive been critical of the BBC and its tech reporting before, but this article in my opinion does not consider the implications of that survey.  Lets first of all look at the survey itself. To me this BBC article tries to present a £77 average as a justification for a file sharer.

This, in my opinion is typical BBC.  Im not sure if the aim is to jump on the bandwagon of the file sharing debate and thinks it can be “cool with the kids” or its simply a badly considered piece of journalism.

Lets look at the survey results and pretend that they are accurate.  What the BBC article fails to consider is that everyone of those £77 file sharers are helping to spread copyrighted material (the hints in the name BBC, file sharer) so any “benefit” of allegedly extra money being spent by them is offset by the fact that they are sharing material with others who as a result of receiving something for free WILL NOT go on to spend anything at all.

I am sure the message the BBC wants to put out is anti-piracy however are they really going to simply reprint surveys without any consideration of the results?    Who knows? and lets see if the BBC celebrates the £77 average when its Xmas shows are distributed through a BT tracker and hamper DVD sales in the new year.

Of course the BBC see it another way:

It also raises questions about the draft Digital Economy bill, which is due to be submitted to parliament later this month and proposes disconnecting file-sharers who repeatedly break the law.

Don’t be silly, the questions raised about the DEB come more from a policing and law/human rights point of view than they do any claimed £77 average .  Even if we believe these file sharers spend on average £77 (and keep in mind that they are committing IMO a dishonest act in the first place, so who’s to say they are being honest for the survey?) the act of downloading and sharing material which you do not have permission from the IP owner is surely wrong on a moral level at the very least.  If a friend asked you not to share their essay with others and you did, would that not be wrong? food for thought there.

I agree that prices are high, especially for new DVDs, thats why if there is a film that I really want to see but its too pricey, I wait until Blockbuster sells it ex-rental, I dont consider BT/NG/IRC/FTP or anything else because I can wait and I don’t believe in the “do as you please” view which seems all too common these days.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com