The spin-to-truth ratio is rising

Mike Masnick over at TechDirt pointed me over to a “study” put out by Rick Falkvinge, a member of the Pirate Party, who claims that

for every job lost (or killed) in the copyright industry due to nonenforcement of copyright, 11.8 jobs are created in electronics wholesale, electronics manufacturing, IT, or telecom industries — or even the copyright-inhibited part of the creative industries.

Masnick has at least as many problems with Falkvinge’s methodology as I do, but the content industry plays this game too.  See this example of similarly muddled reasoning over at The Copyright Alliance Blog, which attempts to connect almost 14 million illegal downloads with the 2,000 production jobs in L.A.  Are readers really supposed to think that Hollywood blockbusters are imperiled?  If so, the Alliance Blog probably shouldn’t have picked as its example a movie that’s made over $800 million worldwide.  (At the box office alone.)

I think Masnick’s analysis is spot-on:

I don’t think anyone actually believes [Falkvinge’s] numbers are accurate. But it’s using the same basic methodology, assumptions and thought processes behind the studies in the other direction. You can also, obviously, claim that Falkvinge is biased. He is. But is he more biased than the entertainment industry legacy players who do the other studies? It seems clear that the industries are likely to be more biased, since they have billions of dollars bet on keeping the old structures in place. I think both studies are probably far from accurate in all sorts of ways, but if you’re going to cite the entertainment industry’s claims based on this kind of methodology, it seems you should also have to accept these claims. [emphasis added]

Numbers can be powerful weapons.  But it helps if they actually mean something and aren’t simply empty rhetorical flourishes.

Quick Review: Inception

I recently saw Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Christopher Nolan. Some thoughts about this movie about dreams which has done well in theaters (according to Box Office Mojo, #6 this year in earnings):

1. I would call it a “science fiction thriller.” Compared to some science fiction films (like Minority Report), this has a much more innovative story line. Within a story line that involves different times happening at the same time, it has some typical thriller scenes including car chases and lots of shooting. It brings together some of the best of both types of movies.

2. Even though the story is confusing in the end, it was remarkably easy to keep track of the various time levels. More and more movies try to play around with the timeline and not all succeed at keeping the audience along for the ride – this one does.

3. The movie has a lot going on but doesn’t provide a lot of explanation or backstory. How did it start that people could get into other people’s dreams? How is being in someone’s mind linked to their memories? How exactly do all these levels of dreams work together? At the same time, the movie doesn’t wallow in explanations at any point – it is briskly paced and the action quickly engages you even if you have questions.

4. Two quick comments on film-making. First, everything seemed very vivid. Movies today really do draw viewers right into the action. Second, I was reminded in this movie that modern films include never-ending music. Every scene seemed to have some music in the background – this is too much.

Overall, an exciting and engaging film. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to think of the twist at the end but I can definitely say I enjoyed the experience.

(The film has been well-received by critics: it was 87% fresh, 220 fresh out of 254 reviews, at