Space Ramblings

Pre-Season Premiere for 24 = 4 Million in Losses?

A Chicago man pleaded guilty yesterday to a felony charge for posting the first four episodes of this season’s “24” on the Internet before they were originally aired on the Fox television network earlier this year.

Jorge Romero, 25, admitted that he uploaded the first two episodes of this season’s “24” to the LiveDigital.com website on January 6 – eight days before it was broadcast on Fox. Romero also admitted uploading the second two episodes of “24” to the same website on January 7. Romero further admitted that, after uploading the episodes, he publicized the uploads by providing links on other publicly available sites, including Digg.com.

Fox has reported that its losses from this infringement exceeded $4 million.

Okay call me skeptical here but 4 million dollars? I know software companies like the BSA (Business Software Association or you can just leave off the A for a more appropriate acronym) typically claim that every pirated copy of a piece of software is a lost sale and totes up each one with its maximum dollar value. As dubious as this is, a pre-season premiere means there’s no DVD losses involved (in any case uploaded flash episodes are hardly a replacement for DVD’s or produce burnable copies) which means the only conceivable financial losses can come from advertising. Losses from advertising can only occur due to the disappointing viewership from the last quarter.

Fox’s argument then has to be that Romero is to blame for viewership losses for 24 that resulted or will result in ad sales losses of 4 million dollars. Fox should have been forced to prove that at trial but instead another company once again got away with making lunatic fraudulent claims never challenged at trial.

NBC aired all the episodes of Andy Barker P.I. on their website before the series ever aired. Did NBC suffer 4 million dollars in losses or does such a strategy actually promote a TV series? The question is up in the air which is the whole point.

4 million is an insanely inflated claims since it presumes that Romero singlehandedly managed to destroy the ad revenues for 24 based on the people who saw the series through his website. It’s simply fraudulent and should be considered perjury if it was ever uttered at trial.

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