the 2007 digital economy fact book: 200 pages of (pro-copyright, anti-government regulation) statistics for free

The 2007 Digital Economy Fact Book is a 200 page PDF of statistics and data about the internet and usage; as the Hill Library Blog writes, “a tightwad researcherís dream: In-depth, statistic-heavy, well-cited, and freely-available online. One could hardly ask for more.” It’s published by The Progress and Freedom Foundation, which sounds a little scary – they’re “a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy”, according to their mission statement. Reading on, I see they want governments to “resist the temptation to regulate, tax and control”, and one of their goals is to “explain[..] the imperative to protect rich digital content and encourage innovation through the traditional legal notions of copyright and patent”. I imagine they don’t like open source, open access, the creative commons or Lawrence Lessig. Their sponsors include traditional big media industry names from Disney through Clear Channel, Microsoft and AT&T – and Google, for some reason.

So this is hardly objective research, or at least, it’s not research conducted to find out the truth: it’s research conducted to make the argument that we should retain traditional copyright and keep control in the hands of the big corporations rather than the government or the people.

And yet there are certainly lots of graphs, charts, figures and so on, all with sources given, and certainly this tightwad researcher may have a look at them next time she needs some info. But I’ll take them with a grain of salt.

28. February 2008 by Jill

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