Thinking visually

"A crash course in online piracy"

Earlier this week, I posted a somewhat lengthy response to an article, "Megaupload and the twilight of copyright", written by Fortune senior editor Roger Parloff. When it comes to piracy, dire predictions too often start with loss estimates that are lightly tested, at best.

Last month, Katherine Long pointed me to "A crash course in online piracy", an infographic developed by team of designers and researchers. According to Long, the presentation highlights "how the billions of dollars that Hollywood claims to lose due to piracy, isn't all that they make it out to be. In fact, it may be helping them."

Their work is fundamentally visual, and the sources for the charts are provided in a summary at the end of the presentation.

One statistic I'd love to spend some more time with: There are 1,820 movie theaters in the United States, but there are no services that can legally stream newly released movies. The team presents this data just ahead of a five-year picture of the growth in Netflix, to almost 24 million users in 2011.

Consistent with the content of my post on Monday, there are no clear-cut answers here. It's just hard to have a dialogue and make progress when we can't even agree on the data we have in hand.


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