You might recognize statements like “I now pay for room and board!”,”Now I can afford books!” and “I got a new laptop!” from the commercial for Astrive student loans. What might you not hear from that commercial? Maybe something like “Now I have access to tons of bandwidth on my campus network. Now I can illegally download movies that I can’t afford to go see in theaters thanks to Astrive student loans!”

The MPAA gave us an estimate from a 2005 study that stated that 44% of Hollywood’s domestic losses came from college campuses. It turns out that the MPAA was just kidding, but now they are serious. Here is the statement.

In a 2005 study it commissioned, the Motion Picture Association of America claimed that 44 percent of the industry’s domestic losses came from illegal downloading of movies by college students, who often have access to high-bandwidth networks on campus. But now the MPAA, which represents the U.S. motion picture industry, has told education groups a “human error” in that survey caused it to get the number wrong. It now blames college students for about 15 percent of revenue loss. The MPAA says that’s still significant, and justifies a major effort by colleges and universities to crack down on illegal file-sharing. But Mark Luker, vice president of campus IT group Educause, says it doesn’t account for the fact that more than 80 percent of college students live off campus and aren’t necessarily using college networks. He says 3 percent is a more reasonable estimate for the percentage of revenue that might be at stake on campus networks.

So now the MPAA is sure that 15% of Hollywood’s domestic revenue has been up for grabs because of these hacky-sacking hippies. I’m a college student, maybe I’m to blame. Oh wait, I don’t dorm and I don’t use my school’s network. So where does that put me? Mark Luker is right by pointing out that a vast majority of students don’t even regularly access their colleges network, especially when they are not on campus students. Luker’s point that “a more reasonable estimate” would be 3% just goes to show you that the MPAA is willing to blindly blame everyone and anyone about their problems, obviously except for themselves.

So what about that 41% discrepancy between their initial and newest findings? Their excuse for this discrepancy is “Human Error.” So for all you college students out there, the next time FBI agents come knocking down your door and seize your hard-drive, make sure you blame it on “human error.” If the MPAA can publish these libelous defamations of your character, only to cite “human error” as their reasoning, then surely you can use the same defense against their laws.


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