In part one of this series, we looked at a study that suggested that file sharing (mainly via Megaupload) likely harmed the sale and rental of digital movies. In part two, we looked at a study that suggested that file sharing of music (across many sites) likely helped the sale of digital music.
So is one right and the other one wrong? Not necessarily. It's possible both are correct. Unlike some other studies we've seen, the methodologies used by both studies appear to be fundamentally sound, without any obvious problems.
As with just about any study, both studies correctly note that there is the possibility of unknown or unexplained variables impacting the data. However, both run through a series of tests to try to eliminate a number of possible outside variables, and both come out with results that suggest their initial arguments are robust.
So, let's try to look at why the two studies might both be right -- and what that might actually mean.
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