Vol. 5 (2009)

Fake Facts: An Incredulous Look At Piracy Statistics In India

Prashant Iyengar

The author of the paper looks at how the expression ‘piracy’ has acquired traits due to the manner in which news has been reported, and also the manner in which ‘piracy statistics’ have defined the boundaries of their context by perpetuating an image of value-neutrality while revealing little other than the quantity of
‘pirates’. By examining newspaper reports, he notes the manner in which the losses in the music and video industries are portrayed, and the estimations of the same which are sometimes downright fictitious, but nonetheless accepted by the press. Accounts of piracy in the press have changed though, with stories of linear
losses that focussed on illegality giving way to accounts addressing the issue in terms of affordability and access. However, the truth is still nebulous as most cases are heard with the defendant ex parte, spawning an assumptive methodology
of arriving at figures. This situation has the effect of a simple distrust amongst laypeople of the logic of spectacular losses claimed, but also a heightened sense of emergency among official circles.


LLM Candidate ‘10, Columbia Law School; B.A., B.L. (Hons) ‘05, NALSAR University of Law