IFPI music piracy claims labelled 'ludicrous'

Claims by music industry body the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry over the affects of piracy have been attacked as misleading for the public and policy makers.

According to Pirate Party spokesman Andrew Robinson, a report into the digital music sales is one-sided and highly selective of facts, claiming the report is “not just wrong, it is ludicrous”.

The IFPI published its findings into online music sales, and, despite seeing good growth in revenues, derided the impact of piracy on furthering growth.

Digital revenues to record labels actually grew by eight percent globally in 2011, reaching an estimated $5.2 billion and up from five percent in 2010,.  This “unprecedented global expansion” accounted for the first year on year growth rate increase since IFPI records began in 2004.

The increase was largely attributed to an increase in presence of subscription based services such as Spotify and Deezer, with the amount of countries accessing services more than doubling during 2011 from 23 to 58.

Anti-piracy laws such as the French Hadopi peer to peer law were also lauded for increasing moves to paid services rather than free downloading.

However, the IFPI still claimed that ongoing piracy is hampering the industry’s attempts to monetise its move away from physical sales, with the US actually selling more online than in shops these days. According to a release by the IFPI, piracy is “rigging the market for legitimate services, stunting growth and jeopardising investment in music”.

IFPI CEO Frances Moore claimed that “momentum is building in the fight against piracy”, but warned that its impressive year happened “in spite of the environment in which it operates” rather than because of it.

Pirate Party spokesperson Andrew Robinson claimed that many of the claims by IFPI were baseless, and raised concerns over potential impact on the ACTA treaty being discussed between many nations.

“There is no basis to what they are claiming,” he told TechEye. “These are quotes from an unpublished survey they have commissioned, from which they have selected figures purely to suit themselves.”

“For example they claim that iTunes sales went up by 23 percent because of the Hadopi law, but they neglect to say that in the same period sales of iPods went up substantially too.”

“It is also claimed that BitTorrent users are down, but they would likely have just gone to MegaUpload, from which they will probably now return.  They are not getting rid of piracy through  tough laws they are just moving it around.”

What is perhaps most worrying though is the influence that such statistics have on policy makers at a time when anti-piracy laws are being talked up by government.

“These reports are used by governments as facts, yet we are unable to find out about who the people who have actually put together this report or view the full details,” Robinson continued.

“Unfortunately these are the types of figures which are used to inform laws such as the ACTA treaty where it can be used to provide evidence for arguments against piracy.”