Weekly News Roundup (11 May 2014)

It’s my fault. I totally forgot to mention the International Day against DRM, which took place last Tuesday, in last week’s WNR. I don’t know about these types of protests though. Most people are aware of DRM, most people are against it, so it’s not really an issue that’s crying out for more public attention. It’s like having a protest day against murder – ultimately it doesn’t really change anything. What will change things is if we modify our buying habits to reflect our disdain of DRM, but that can only be possible if there are legitimate choices. And with the film and gaming industries having a firm control on every step of the distribution process, it’s hard to see it happen unless a company like Apple or Amazon takes the brave step to go DRM free, like what Apple did in respect to iTunes music.

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day to my mum and all other mothers out there!

Let’s get started on the news roundup.


Those naughty Finns. You don’t really hear a lot about Finland in the news (well, not until Putin launches his Finland invasion anyway … I kid, I kid), but it is clear now they’ve all been busy, staying under the radar, and downloading tons of music (and some movies). $67 million worth on average for each person that lives there, apparently.

Spotify Logo

Finns need to download less pirated music, and use more Spotify, perhaps

A study of 6,000 random Finns, aged from seven to 84, found that on average, each of the 6,000 downloaded more than 2,900 pirated songs, and 90 movies. The $67M figure comes from multiplying the 2,990 “works” with the $22,500 per work fine that infamous perennial college student Joel Tenenbaum was slapped with. And yes, I know that’s not how it works, that lawsuits tend to take only a small sample of all possible acts of infringement and slap huge damages on these as a way of avoiding having to prove each of the 2,990 or whatever acts of infringement (which is what exactly statutory damages are used for). But you do have to argue that if Tenenbaum was guilty of $675,000 worth of piracy, then that’s at least what each Finn (on average) owes, based on the result of this study.

The study also found that heavy (as in the number of movies they download, not as in weight) movie pirates were more likely to pay for stuff than the more committed music pirates. Could be a statistical anomaly though, as they found movie pirates were also more likely to be wealthy. I would conclude that wealthier people are always more likely to pay for stuff, any stuff, than people who have no money to spend at all. But I’m not an economist or statistician.

The study also found that “monetary savings and quality perceptions” played a bit part in influencing piracy habits, but you have to pay to read the full study, and I’m definitely one of those that have no money to spend at all (but I’m not a big music pirate, I swear). It would be ironic is someone pirated the full text of the study though!

Three Strikes

Three strikes comes to the UK (becomes four strikes, and the strikes don’t really do anything)

So with so many pirates not just in Finland, but all the other ‘lands’ as well, such as England, Scotland and Walesland, something effective must be done about these dirty miscreants! Or we could just send them letters.

The UK’s version of three-strikes (well, four-strikes technically) does not have much bite compared to other similar regimes around the world. It doesn’t have the French’s Internet bannings, nor the varied punitive options under the U.S. system (which precludes bannings). It only has letters, four of them, after which no more letters will be sent, which I guess means the piracy problem is solved at that point.

The letter’s tone will increase in harshness apparently. Not sure what this means from a British perspective, but I hope at least one of the letters will feature the phrases “careful now” and “down with this sort of thing”.

The total waste of time will at the very least require financial input by the rights holders themselves, up to 75% of the set up costs, and tens of thousands of pounds per year to ISPs. As part of the agreement, the rights holders have the right to kick up a fuss and ask for harsher penalties (a fifth letter?) if this thing doesn’t bring down the piracy rate. Which it won’t.


I really hate to bang on about the Wii U, but I had to cover the news that Nintendo has just posted a $457 million loss on the back of poor Wii U sales, the third year in a row that the company has failed to delivery a profit. The company had already revised down its Wii U sales forecasts for the Japanese fiscal year that ended on March 31, from the originally very optimistic 9 million to only 2.8 million – an estimate that still ended up being higher than the actual sales figures of 2.72 million.

Wii U

Wii U sales for the last Japanese fiscal year are only a quarter of what Nintendo had hoped it would be

For those keeping count, and I suspect you’ll have to be firmly in the Sony or Microsoft camp to actually want to keep count, this brings the Wii U’s lifetime numbers to 6.17 million. In comparison, the PS4 has already sold 7 million units after the first 6 months, and the Xbox One will eventually get there by the end of the year at the latest. More disappointing for Nintendo was that game sales, which has “high profit margins”, failed to materialise.

If it wasn’t for the 3DS, Nintendo’s fortunes would have been even worse. Nintendo forecasts 3DS sales to slow this year, with the Wii U selling a bit better at 3.6 million units. Somehow this will bring in an operating profit of $394 million for this current fiscal year. I think perhaps Nintendo is being a bit too optimistic again!


That’s all folks. Just let me check if there are any other days of protest going on next week that I should inform you of. Hmm … nothing comes to mind. See you next week!


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