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.

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

  1. […] The Digital Economy Fact Book Posted mars 3, 2008 Jill Walker har en interessant omtale av The Digital Economy Fact Book. Denne studien er i f??lge Jill et bestillingsverk fra medieindustrien, og f??lgelig b??r en kanskje ta konklusjonene med en klype salt (eller noe lignende). Men uansett er det en samling av mye interessant statistikk. […]

  2. Dan Britton

    2007 and 2008 DEFB co-author here. Although I could understand why someone would be skeptical of the neutrality of this publication, it’s really not intended to be a political tool at all, or at least I never had that impression when I was working on it. It’s more of a “just-the-facts-ma’am” summary of all the information we could find on various Internet and communications-related topics. I admit there were some topics, such as the section on “Piracy,” where the one could interpret some data as being political in nature, but most of the content was merely restating what various (mostly politically neutral) groups and researchers had already found. Other than the two or three (out of about 60) sections that dealt with copyright, views on copyright law rarely entered into the writing of the book at all.

    FWIW, I no longer work at PFF, and though I generally agreed with most of the viewpoints taken by my former coworkers, as a lifelong left-leaner, I wouldn’t say that I have a great desire to keep power “in the hands of the big corporations rather than the government or the people.”

    But thanks for the mention anyway, no hard feelings! 🙂

  3. Jill Walker Rettberg

    Thanks for commenting, Dan – it’s very useful to hear this straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The information you’ve compiled is certainly very useful, though I think it’s always useful to to be aware of how surveys can lean in one direction or another.

  4. […] Today I found a comment in my moderation queue from Dan Britton, a co-author of The 2007 digital economy fact book, a freely available collection of statistics on the digital economy which I had blogged a few months ago, calling it 200 pages of (pro-copyright, anti-government regulation) statistics. Dan Britton explains that while he can see how the section on piracy, for instance, might be interpretated as having a political agenda, “itís really not intended to be a political tool at all, or at least I never had that impression when I was working on it”. Interesting to have a bit of an insight into the process of making the book – though I still think there’s reason to be aware that even statistics may be skewed. Filed under:General — Jill @ 12:03 [ ] […]

  5. […] Today I found a comment in my moderation queue from Dan Britton, a co-author of The 2007 digital economy fact book, a freely available collection of statistics on the digital economy which I had blogged a few months ago, calling it 200 pages of (pro-copyright, anti-government regulation) statistics. Dan Britton explains that while he can see how the section on piracy, for instance, might be interpretated as having a political agenda, “itís really not intended to be a political tool at all, or at least I never had that impression when I was working on it”. Interesting to have a bit of an insight into the process of making the book – though I still think there’s reason to be aware that even statistics may be skewed. Filed under:General — Jill @ 12:03 [ ] […]

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts

Machine Vision

Cultural Representations of Machine Vision: An Experimental Mixed Methods Workshop

Call for submissions to a workshop, Bergen, Norway
Workshop dates: 15-17 August 2022
Proposals due: 15 June

The Machine Vision in Everyday Life project invites proposals for an interdisciplinary workshop using qualitative approaches and digital methods to analyse how machine vision is represented in art, science fiction, games, social media and other forms of cultural and aesthetic expression.

Digital Humanities Machine Vision

What do different machine vision technologies do in fiction and art?

For the Machine Vision in Everyday Life project we’ve analysed how machine vision technologies are portrayed and used in 500 works of fiction and art, including 77 digital games, 190 digital artworks and 233 movies, novels and other narratives. You can browse […]

AI and algorithmic culture Presentations

My talk on caring AIs in recent sci-fi novels

I’m giving a talk at an actual f2f academic conference today, Critical Borders, Radical Re(visions) of AI, in Cambridge. I was particularly excited to see this conference because it’s organised by the people who edited AI Narratives A History of Imaginative Thinking […]