Claim: You can’t prove a pirate would’ve paid, so you can’t count piracy as a loss of income. / Not every act of piracy is a lost sale
Response: It’s true that not every act of piracy equals a lost sale.
However, while I don’t believe that every single act of piracy is a lost sale, I also don’t believe that piracy entails zero lost sales. For example, maybe for every 100 acts of piracy, there are 5 lost sales. If piracy becomes the norm, this entails a major financial problem for creators. For example, we might imagine this scenario:
Before piracy: a creator is sells 50,000 copies of his digital media.
After piracy becomes the norm: a creator sells 0 copies of his digital media and has 1 million people pirating it.
In this scenario, we can truthfully make both of these statements:
* Piracy can be blamed for the collapse of his sales (50,000 fewer copies sold).
* Only 1 in 20 acts of piracy equals a lost sale.
While the “1 in 20” number makes piracy seem like an insignificant problem, we can actually see that piracy has lead to a complete loss of sales revenue. In the end, “You can’t prove a pirate would’ve paid, so you can’t count piracy as a loss of income” is a non-sequitur. Whether or not you can prove that a particular pirate would’ve paid or not is not that important to arguing that piracy (in aggregate) entails a loss of income.
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