MPAA Takes Unfairly Blaming College Students For Illegal Downloading Very Seriously

WHAT: The MPAA commissioned a study that blamed 44% of movie downloading on college students. The real figure is more like 15%.
WHERE:MPAA admits mistake on downloading study [Yahoo!] (Thanks, Robert!)
THE QUOTE: “We take this error very seriously and have taken strong and immediate action to both investigate the root cause of this problem as well as substantiate the accuracy of the latest report,” the group said in a statement.
BONUS QUOTE:“Illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing is a society-wide problem. Some of it occurs at college s and universities but it is a small portion of the total,” [Terry Hartle ,vice president of the American Council on Education] said, adding colleges will continue to take the problem seriously, but more regulation isn’t necessary.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bladefist says:

    When will we finally start putting everything behind these stupid polls, focus groups, etc. They are never right.

    Any why does it matter what % are college students. They know college students are doing it, so what? Knowing the % changes things?

    These people are idiots. And props to all colleges who refuse to work with them.

  2. Bladefist says:

    start should be stop. Wow, bad place to make an error.

  3. leefur5 says:

    What’s really sad is that these are the same people (as well as the RIAA) that are trying to push through a law turning Universities into policemen – either the Universities filter and block all copyrighted material transmitted through their networks, or the government will withhold their funding. So it looks like our rights are being whittled away due to bad math.

  4. Saboth says:

    2015: “I’m sorry sir, can you prove that music on your computer was purchased legally? Our mobile truck with listening equipment detected music from this abode.” “Umm how? This is my Run DMC CD from 1992…I don’t have the CD or case or anything” “No receipt eh? Sir, you are charged with high treason, presented with the evidence, I find you guilty. Sentence is immediate termination. I AM THE LAW!”

  5. miburo says:

    Screw the RIAA when is the music Industry going to learn they will be their own downfall?

  6. miburo says:

    whoops!!! wrong group :P same general statement … MPAA… need more coffee in the morning

  7. rmuser says:

    How, exactly, would they know what the losses were, anyway? There is no way they can possibly keep track of every single instance of every file traded over the internet. And even if they could, that’s no guarantee that the filesharers would have actually bought the property in question were it not available online. I suspect their statistics are garbage, 44%, 15% or 1329%.

  8. NotATool says:

    …and the other 85% are illegal downloading and pirating operations in China but we can’t do anything about them. You see, we have this trade deal. We send them free movies and they send us lead toys. A win-win!

  9. jaydez says:

    No more regulation is necessary….


    we dont want the government involved becasue we want to be able to sue someone for an insane amount of money if they cross us.

    criminal court = very little money,
    civil court = big payout!

  10. snoop-blog says:

    could you imagine if only the rich could afford to listen to music? that would be ate up.

    does anyone else wonder how an entire song costs $.99, but if you want to play 15 seconds of that song when your phone rings, $2.50! i don’t get it. i wonder how much money artist make off of ringtones.

  11. NotATool says:

    @snoop-blog: The make probably nothing off ringtones. It’s worth it to get your own software to rip songs off CD’s and make your own ringtones.

  12. proptart says:

    The MPAA and RIAA are out of control.

  13. KleineFrau says:

    “MPAA admits mistake on downloading study”

    Read: We got caught fudging the numbers.

  14. Boy Howdy says:

    “We take this error very seriously and have taken strong and immediate action to both investigate the root cause of this problem as well as substantiate the accuracy of the latest report

    I love that. There was a ginormous error in our report, but they’re confident that everything else in it was correct, and that they can prove it.

  15. zundian says:

    My favorite symbol that the record industry is out of control? You can buy an older movie new on DVD for $7, but the soundtrack/score for same movie costs at least $15.

    How does that make sense to anyone?

  16. SacraBos says:

    @Saboth: While you think this may be satire, did you know that the Business Software Alliance will sue companies for copyright violations of Microsoft and other vendors software you may have at your business unless you can produce the receipt? The little “Authentic” stickers, CD’s, etc mean nothing unless you can provide the store/vendor receipt for the products.

    I think we can add this to list of “biggest lies”, since I’ve heard it hear twice this week already:
    1) I’m from the government, and I’m here to help
    2) The check is in the mail
    3) We take this error VERY seriously

    Of course, previously they just took the error seriously. Now that it’s been made public, they take it VERY seriously.

  17. SacraBos says:

    @snoop-blog: Not only that, but on some plans you have to pay per kilobyte download charges, etc. Our son bought a ring-tone for $2.99, and by the time you factored in all the related charges, it was something like $10+. What a rip-off. What I do now is download the song from YouTube (there’s a site that will let you download the .flv file), convert the audio stream to MP3, then copy it to the phone using a USB cable. YouTube: $0, moto4lin: $0, favorite ring tone on my phone for free: less price.

  18. smitty1123 says:

    I blame China and Mexico.

  19. Joafu says:

    “The 44 percent figure was used to show that if college campuses could somehow solve this problem on this campus, then it would make a tremendous difference in the business of the motion picture industry.” Sounds like they padded the number to try to get colleges involved, with their Batons of Antipiracy and Mace of Justice and whatnot. Music industry and movie industry can suck an egg; video games, don’t let me down!

  20. econobiker says:

    But college students are easier to get to since just one easy to target and find network admin can be slapped with a lawsuit versus tracking all the different isp’s circulating around out there in regards to suing individual citizens.

  21. CurbRunner says:

    Soooo… MPAA says that they want to “investigate the root cause of this problem”. They could start by looking in a mirror.

  22. stinkingbob says:

    The solution people is to stop buying music. Period. Let your wallet do the talking. These record companies are complaining about getting ripped off, yet, they rip off the performers that they are signing by giving them a few cents on the dollar for every CD sold.

  23. JustAGuy2 says:


    If you don’t have the CD somewhere, then it shouldn’t be on your computer. It’s copyright infringement to buy a CD, copy the songs to your computer, and then sell the CD, without deleting the songs from your machine.

  24. twonewfs says:

    Hey, I use the library – sort of antique file-sharing for things called books. You know reading really is over when the RIAA doesn’t go after those of us who check out cookbooks from the library, without buying the book!

  25. Eric Aitala says:

    Also, note that the 15% refers to ALL colleges students, both on and off campus….


  26. Joafu says:

    @JustAGuy2: You’re serious?

  27. lincolnparadox says:

    @JustAGuy2: Unless you have a receipt for an online purchase via iTunes, amazon, etc.

    Or if you have a tape or album copy of the song.

    @Joafu: Basically, you need a receipt or hardcopy of every song on your computer. Which is why it’s so easy for the RIAA to sue you and have you settle out of court.

    At least for now. The times is a’changing…

  28. Starfury says:

    I don’t download movies; if they’re good enough I’ll buy the DVD. I do download some BBC TV shows that I can’t get here in the states but that’s it.

  29. JustAGuy2 says:


    Absolutely, with the exceptions (legal download, non-CD recording) that Lincolnparadox noted.

    You bought the CD, you certainly have the right to listen to that song on your computer, MP3 player, etc. You don’t have the right to buy, copy, sell, keep. What would make you think you do?

  30. Szin says:

    @JustAGuy2: Didn’t one woman from the RIAA claim, at one point, that ripping a CD that bought onto your Computer was illegal? That could be why!

  31. camille_javal says:

    @JustAGuy2: I have had a number of CDs lost and stolen over the past few years – here and there, adds up to probably about twenty – not the sort of thing I’m going to file a police report about for each incident. So how should I prove that I owned them in the first place?

  32. SonicPhoenix says:

    What if I bought the CD but it was accidently destroyed or got too scratched up to be read properly? Just because I don’t actually have the physical media anymore, doesn’t mean that I didn’t pay for it.

  33. LionelEHutz says:

    Bow to your media masters and oh, don’t forget to blame Clinton.

  34. JustAGuy2 says:


    Tougher issue, and grey area. Scratched? No problem, you still have the purchase? Accidentally destroyed? Seems fine, so long as you really did purchase it.

  35. scoosdad says:

    OK, Consumerist, seriously, this is getting old. We get it… enough of the ‘taking things seriously’ stuff. I’m serious. It was funny the first twelve times.

  36. Mr. Gunn says:

    scoosdad: What if the CD has ridiculous DRM on it so you can’t load the songs onto your MP3 player? What if you’re away on a trip and want to listen to an album you bought but didn’t bring? What if you don’t have a CD drive, or your drive breaks, and you want a digital copy?

    They’re just pissed off because the chain of rebuying your music collection on the latest format has finally broken.

  37. Joafu says:

    @lincolnparadox: @JustAGuy2:
    This sucks. I had my car broken into and lost the hard copies for a several dozen cds. I have of course made new ‘hard copies’ for myself only, but I don’t have any receipts. If the RIAA has a problem with it… well, they have a problem with everyone and everything, so I guess I don’t care.

  38. meneye says:

    @Saboth: lol. more like: You will be executed as an example to others! if they could do this without making so many bloody mistakes, I wouldn’t care

  39. Angiol says:

    @JustAGuy2: Innocent until proven guilty.

  40. scoosdad says:

    @Mr. Gunn: Why, I guess i’d have to take the RIAA ‘seriously’ then.

    I don’t think you meant to reply to my post. Try again.

  41. Mr. Gunn says:

    scoosdad: LOLNO, FAIL for me.

    I meant to reply to JustAGuy2‘s post right above yours.