According to torrent site poll downloading results in lost sales

So I stumbled across this poll on a torrent site and I just had to share it.  You hear all the time how content owners equate each download with a lost sale.  The filesharing crowd is quick to dismiss this.  Then they counter with anecdotal stories about filesharing making people buy more than before.  It’s all theoretical and it’s pretty easy for people to just say whatever when they are being surveyed, so knowing the actual truth is pretty much impossible.

That being said, according to this actual poll on a torrent site, 57% of the nearly 44,000 respondents are either buying less now that they discovered free downloads, or stopped paying for content COMPLETELY.  Nearly 44% claim that they stopped paying for content completely once they found piracy sites.  While 40% are either spending the same or more than they were before, with only 9% saying they are spending MORE.  You do the math, sounds like piracy is costing copyright holders losses, at least according to this poll.

Cue the “this poll was fixed by the MAFIAA” drones who believe any time the numbers don’t jive with the narrative they want to advance that the numbers must be wrong.

Where to start?

A reader emails:

Dear Mr. Nate,

I don’t care for the technicality of the law in regards to piracy – laws can change.

I care about morality, wrong and right. Of course, they’re 100% subjective, so there are no wrong answers, however..

Since the media industry rakes in Billion upon Billions and every person involved with the media industry who doesn’t have a 7-figure income is technically a contractor who gets paid absolutely regardless of pirating..

Wouldn’t pirating only be classified as “taking from the super-rich and giving to the poor”? Because people who pirate are just that – they don’t have the money to buy a movie at 30$ a pop. And who does? I barely do.

Which is to say, the only people who are hurt by piracy are the people who are already extremely rich.. and are likely to remain extremely rich or even richer even if pirating becomes more widespread than it already is.

So, in summation, I put it to you that piracy might be illegal, but it is not “wrong” as much as stealing a loaf of bread to feed your semi-starving family in a world where the bread shop is filthy rich because bread can be copied as many times as one wants.

I’d love to hear your counterargument,


Clearly the misconceptions about income show how poorly people understand different industries. But when you equate downloading Transformers with stealing a loaf of bread to feed your family, I lose all respect for you. It’s an insult to actual starving people. You aren’t going to die if you don’t get your Justin Bieber for the week.  Our education and values are so messed up, I don’t even know where to start.