Pollara, the company that has conducted several surveys on behalf of CRIA (including the CRTC submission), has posted a lengthy 11 page response to my original blog posting (a comment brought the response to my attention as I was unaware of it until this evening). Pollara suggests that my statements are "misleading, incorrect, and inconsistent." The company adds for good measure that my intervention is "impertinent and presumptuous" and that it hopes that it won't "distract us from the serious business at hand."
People can read the memo as well as the original data and judge for themselves (as well as the growing news coverage from CBC, Marketwatch, and Stereophile). I'd offer the following comments in response:
- I noted the Pollara data found that P2P sources constituted only one-third of the music on people's computers. Pollara argues that this only reflects the music on their hard drives, not their downloading activity. I frankly don't understand their complaint here. They didn't ask about downloading activity, they asked about the source of music on their computers. If they were to ask about all their music (online and offline), I suspect the number would be even lower as many users might well have more CDs that they have not digitized.
- Pollara seems to step out of the role of pollster in their memo by regularly offering what amount to legal opinions on music copying. At page three of the response, they lump together P2P downloading, sharing with friends, and copying CDs that might not be their own. Perhaps Pollara is unaware of the private copying user right that exists under current Canadian law that has generated more than $140 million for artists and the industry which specifically covers much of this copying. This is not, as Pollara suggests, "unpaid-for-music" but rather copying that is well compensated.
- Pollara misleadingly recharacterizes some its own questions. For example, it points at page six to a question on whether the person had ever acquired a CD with songs downloaded from a file sharing service such as Kazaa. This is then inaccurately presented as "Ever Purchased or Received a CD That Contained Illegally Downloaded Tracks". One might say that Pollara should stick to polling for its paying clients like CRIA rather than offering up its opinion on the legality of P2P in Canada.
- Pollara takes issue with my characterization of its data that 75% of those polled have purchased songs that they downloaded. Apparently, they believe that the number of purchases should be higher given the amount of downloading, though it is hard to see how they've divined that from the questions they asked in this survey.
- Pollara suggests that I show an "egregious lack of consistency" by stating that the purchasing habits data is inconclusive given that it showed that 28% said they purchased more, 35% said they purchased less, and 37% said they didn't know. I think this is a fair characterization since the 7% difference between more and less purchases is offset by the largest number of 37% who don't know. That leaves the matter inconclusive in my view. Of course, Pollara chooses to step outside its own data by trumpeting CRIA stats to support a different conclusion.
- Pollara notes that I chose to ignore the responses of Canadians attitude toward copyright and downloading. I did not comment because these questions are embarrassing. As noted yesterday, the percentage of those in favour of meeting international standards dropped by 28% in two months. The reality is that most people being polled (and apparently doing the polling) are not copyright experts and relying on such responses only serves to diminish the credibility of those seeking to do so.
- Finally, Pollara wonders aloud why I didn't cite CAB response. The truth is that there are 180 responses and I haven't read them all. Moreover, it was the CRIA data that immediately attracted attention since it included detailed survey data which typically is not released to the public. If Pollara has reviewed all the submissions, however, I suppose one might ask why didn't they mention the submission from Fading Ways Records who have found that P2P has increased the sales of their artists. At the risk of being presumptuous, given this memo, I think that answer is obvious.
Update: CopyrightWatch comments on the Pollara response with a helpful list of what the polling company might have asked.