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MPAA admits it overstated the effects of college piracy, times it made a beer run

Nilay Patel

The MPAA has never been too high on college kids -- remember the dishonor roll? -- but it looks like Hollywood set is bummed about not being invited to that last kegger, because the MPAA is now admitting that it drastically overstated the effect of college downloading in previous studies. Back in 2005, the MPAA claimed that a whopping 44 percent of revenue losses came directly at the hands of carefree coeds nationwide, and used that number to pressure colleges into enforcing harsher downloading policies and even propose legislation currently before Congress that would tie federal education funds to copyright enforcement requirements. We're not sure why the industry is now backing off that 44 percent number, but it's now saying that "human error" resulted in a miscalculation, and the revenue loss from college piracy is more like 15 percent -- a number which is further disputed by campus IT groups, who say it should be more like three percent. Of course, while it's good to see the MPAA take an upfront stance on this, simply admitting you're sleazy doesn't actually wipe the slime off, so let's see how the industry approaches future studies, shall we?

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