It’s estimated that 23 million eBooks were downloaded in the past year in Germany, and over half of these eBooks were pirated.

That is the conclusion reached in a report released yesterday by the GVU, a German trade group that investigates copyright infringement. Luckily for us, this estimate of German piracy is very likely not true.

It’s based on a survey of 10 thousand German consumers. The survey was conducted by GfK, a well-known market research company. There’s nothing wrong with the survey, but there are any number of problems with the report that is based on it.

First and foremost, the report uses a questionable slight of hand to extrapolate from the 10k respondents to the entire German population (over 81 million). While I’ve done something similar as a way to get a feel for a market, this survey didn’t actually show that 23 million eBooks were downloaded nor does it show that 14 million were pirated. What the survey shows is that a certain percentage of respondents downloaded eBooks. Extrapolating from thousands of respondents to millions of Germans is at best an iffy process and often times the extrapolation won’t be valid.

But more importantly, that number of 14 million pirated eBooks includes a lot more than just pirated eBooks. It includes downloads from “file-sharing networks, hosting services, private websites, blogs, forums, ftp-servers, or newsgroups”. The problem with this is that any number of legitimate websites fall under that label, including MobileRead, FeedBooks, Project Gutenberg, author’s and publisher’s websites, and more.

This entire report is bunk, and it would be foolish tp give it any credence.

report via heise.de

image by NeonMan