Swiss gov't study: downloading leads to sales, so we're keeping it legal

The Swiss government commissioned a study on the impact of copyright-infringing downloading. The independent study concluded that downloaders use the money they spend to buy more legitimate entertainment products. So they've concluded to maintain Switzerland's extant copyright law, which makes downloading for personal use legal. It's a rare victory for evidence-based policy in a world dominated by shrill assertions of lost jobs and revenue, backed by funny-number "statistics" from industry-commissioned researchers.

The report states that around a third of Swiss citizens over 15 years old download pirated music, movies and games from the Internet. However, these people don’t spend less money as a result because the budgets they reserve for entertainment are fairly constant. This means that downloading is mostly complementary.

The other side of piracy, based on the Dutch study, is that downloaders are reported to be more frequent visitors to concerts, and game downloaders actually bought more games than those who didn’t. And in the music industry, lesser-know bands profit most from the sampling effect of file-sharing.

The Swiss report then goes on to review several of the repressive anti-piracy laws and regulations that have been implemented in other countries recently, such as the three-strikes Hadopi law in France. According to the report 12 million was spent on Hadopi in France this year, a figure the Swiss deem too high.

The report further states that it is questionable whether a three-strikes law would be legal in the first place, as the UN’s Human Rights Council labeled Internet access a human right. The Council specifically argued that Hadopi is a disproportionate law that should be repealed.

Swiss Govt: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal (Thanks, Frederic!)


  1. The wealthy democracy of Switzerland will no doubt be accused by various lobbying tools of being some skeevy back-alley den of thievery where content creators can’t possibly succeed without authority to use nuclear weapons against people who rip CDs protected by DRM.

    1. It’s actually illegal here to circumvent DRM thanks to ACTA. A variety of gov. officials and lobbyist tools have argued that ACTA in switzerland will not be used as severely as the law text implies, and that there’ll be a special court to process these cases which will be supervised by a council. So far no wholesale missuse of ACTA has occured, but I suspect that’s only a question of time, until the special court and council setup expires, and then the MAFIAA will open the floodgates.

      1. If they didn’t intend to exercise certain powers that ACTA provides, one wonders why they didn’t simply modify the treaty to proscribe those problematic powers.  

        Alternatively, if/when those controversial powers are exercised, could a legal defense be that politicians promised never to use those powers prior to signing the treaty, and therefore those controversial powers were never intended to be part of the established law in Switzerland?

    1. I suspect he’s considering moving to Switzerland, because they appear to have a legislature that’s less corrupted than the U.S. Congress.

      1. I think most countries outside Africa and the former USSR have a legislature that’s less corrupt than the US Congress.

        But yeah, Switzerland is a funny country. On one hand, they can be extremely conservative, but on the other they can be so in a very reasonable way.

  2. Couple questions:
    What are their immigration laws like.

    And is English one of the common use languages?

    1. 1. Just as restrictive as in the rest of Europe, in some areas a bit more so, but not much when you put it in perspective, and charged with the same amount, but a more pungent brand, of nationalism.

      2. Kind of, being a tri-lingual country (German/French/Italian) they often cross-communicate with English.

      Counter question:

      What do these questions have to do with how the Swiss handle copyright?

      1. RR, IMO I think Andrew might be trying to figure out a good way to GTFO of the USA to a more free country that still believes in freedom and silly things like “evidence-based policy”.  Some might want to get off this crazy train before it goes off the rails completely (if it hasn’t already).

        1. Hm, fair point.

          In that case I suggest taking over a one-island republic and just starting from scratch. The downhill race might be a bit slower in Europe, but down we go none the less.

          1. The problem with islands is that when the global sea levels rise, you might not have any land left. Better to go somewhere northern with a high-ish elevation and good Flarn.

        2. I know i want to get out of the USA before our country heads down to the shithole. After reading this article and seeing that the swiss legislature can use their brains without corporate money clouding their decisions, im sure i can live with living in a beautiful country like switzerland.

      2. Switzerland has four national languages, including Romansh, which gained official status in 1996. Romansh shares a number of similarities with the other Romance Languages, and is occasionally referred to as being most similar to French, with a noticeable Germanic influence.

  3. “People are getting ripped off by having their stuff stolen, but the people stealing the stuff are spending their money on something! Just not on what they were stealing! That makes it all better!” 

    A high school teacher would shred that logic in two, much less any responsible legislator.  Nice job screwing over copyright holders, Switzerland.

    1. If you read the post you will see that the people downloading copyright protected entertainment products were spending their money on copyright protected entertainment products.

      1. The “all boats rise” argument isn’t individually consoling to an artist who is staking their income on the ability to sell their copyrighted wares.

        In music, the most-offended audience is usually a label. Labels have wide stables of artists, so they have better odds of reaping results from an indirect benefit. Also, the bigger recording labels tend to behave much of like VC firms… which makes them fun to pick on.

        Movies are a similar animal, except that the creative types behind movies don’t enjoy the secondary revenue stream of live performance.

        Software companies, particularly games companies, are probably the most legitimately shrill of the bunch… and the notion that “the most avid players are also the most avid spenders are also the most avid pirates” seems to console them very little.

        1. Joseph “quoted” Cory using words he never said. You are now replying to me “quoting” words I never said. That is a nasty habit.

          “The most avid players are also the most avid spenders are also the most avid pirates” is a defence of software piracy, or at least a criticism of the efforts used to combat it, but that is not what is being highlighted in the Swiss study.

          The study suggests that the entertainment industry as a whole receives a fixed portion of individuals’ disposable income and that piracy does not impact this. If this were true then piracy would cost a total of nothing to the entertainment industry as a whole.

          If you accept that then there will certainly be some criticism which can still be leveled at piracy but the majority of the criticism would have been proven false.

          1. I hadn’t intended to quote either of you, but to the extent to which you took offense, please accept my apology.

            I have a very difficult time intuitively believing that piracy costs the entertainment industry nothing. I’m not sure the Swiss study claims this, and I’m positive that the Dutch study it’s derived from doesn’t at all.

            I was only able to locate the Dutch study in it’s original Dutch. I don’t read Dutch, but Google translate helped me slog through the 140 page study. Google would have me read

            “Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat de economische effecten van file sharing op de Nederlandse welvaart op de korte en de lange termijn sterk positief zijn. Consumenten krijgen als gevolg van file sharing toegang tot een breed scala aan cultuurproducten. Dit heeft een welvaartsverhogend effect. Daar staat tegenover dat een daling van de omzet uit de verkoop van geluidsdragers, dvd’s en games als gevolg daarvan aannemelikjk is.”


            “The study shows that the economic effects of file sharing on the Dutch prosperity in the short and long term are strongly positive. Consumers receive a result of file sharing access to a wide range of cultural products. This has a welfare enhancing. Conversely, a decline in revenue from the sales of sound recordings, DVDs and games as a result is plausible.”

            Here’s a consoling notion: The direct contradiction with the premise you’ve put forward (whether as your own or as a fun piece of conjecture, I’m uncertain) isn’t the most interesting bit of the study by a long shot.

            The Swiss and the Dutch are both fairly pointed in their criticism of the tenants put forward by the (pointedly described as “foreign”) entertainment businesses who they recognize as having lobbied for stricter copyright laws in the face of their claims of diminished revenues… of decidedly uncertain volume. Apparently, they’re unphased by industry premise that, although only one in zillion pirates is caught, penalizing the few they manage to rustle up at a zillionfold the damage they induce should be sufficient deterrent to ameliorate their losses. Specifically, both governments have been pretty direct in their reply that their copyright law need not change.

            They also go on to scold the entertainment industry for failing to leverage new technology quickly enough to keep up with their consumers changing consumption habits. The Dutch are pretty explicit in their observation that consumers have had a pretty difficult time finding legitimate means of exercising the behaviors that piracy allows them to exercise (day one release, DRM free, from almost anywhere).

            Better still, the Dutch offer some helpful advice on how price discrimination for luxury goods typically functions. In brief, you tend to sell more units of a thing that’s offered at a lesser price. If maximization of revenues is a given publisher’s foremost objective, then they mustn’t allow themselves to be married to a given unit price out of pride.

            What I take from the Dutch study (or the translation I’m able to read) is more or less in line with where I land on the whole issue:

            1. The entertainment industry can’t afford good piracy enforcement, and pushing legislation to have punishment outmatch crime on the level that’s been requested is just silly nonsense. It’s unjust, and it’s bad business.

            2. The problem of piracy is, in some cases, a function of a gap in customer service. Pirates are able to enjoy a superior ware delivered in vastly superior time, and those facts make inferior-but-legitimately-available goods less attractive. Rewarding your customers demand for DRM free wares available on day one might be a good way to recapture your customer’s interest.

            3. Charging less per unit, particularly when competing against a free product of superior quality, might be a reasonable alternative and might promote deeper consumption of units by individuals.

            I have a hard time believing piracy isn’t somewhat destructive, and I’m not finding agreement with the premise from studies the post cites, either.


            I think the majority of pugilistic piracy mitigation approaches I’ve seen, particularly from music publishers, are entrenching pirates behavior and widening the gap between the legitimate demands of entertainment consumers and entertainment creators, and illustrate a refusal to acknowledge the core notion that people who consume media… even and maybe especially pirates… are ultimately customers who should be treated as such.

          2. Apology accepted. It is a shame though that you didnt read my post before transcribing at length from the Dutch study as I specifically mentioned the Swiss one.

            La part du revenu disponible dépensée par les consommateurs et consommatrices dans ce domaine reste stable. On observe cependant des transferts au sein de ce budget. Ainsi, les utilisateurs et utilisatrices de sites de partage continuent d’investir dans le secteur du divertissement les économies qu’ils réalisent en téléchargeant des contenus sur Internet, mais au lieu d’acheter des CD et des DVD, ils s’offrent des billets de concert et de cinéma et des produits de merchandising.

            An approximate translation is

            The share of disposable income spent by consumers in this [Entertainment Industry] sector remains stable. The savings made by filesharers continue to be invested in the entertainment sector but instead of buying CDs and DVDs, they purchaced concert and cinema tickets and merchandising.

            It is strange that you didnt notice this as it was summarized both in Cory’s post and in the article he linked to while, in the report itself, this quote was taken from the paragraph above the one discussing “foreign” entertainment businesses which you quoted.

        2. Without wading into the specific justifications used in this case people who dowload the works of a specific artist or creator have also been found to be much more likely to purchase big-ticket items of those creators. Stuff like box sets, collectibles, and various other conspicuous fan-oriented items which usually earn money for those artists and not just their label.

          The downloaders tend to be the creators’ biggest fans and are also people who highly value creative works, consuming them in quantities above the average population, and from the same people they were downloading from (which is to say that they download a specific person’s specific works but they also purchase more than usual of the same person’s works). It is not zero sum as the arguments against this are assuming, and projecting the assumption that it is zero sum first and then building conjectures from there is on shaky ground at best and disingenuous at worst.

          It’s not “all boats rise” it’s “the boats they were downloading from rise”.

        3. The business of music labels is predicated on the fact that it is incredibly expensive and inefficient to move perfect facsimiles of pure information from spot to spot.

          That is no longer a fact.

          The question becomes why should any law-making bodies pass or amend laws specifically to prop up obsolete business plans?  This is sometimes called “rent seeking” and it’s widely regarded as “corruption” when enshrined in law as a result of a massive “lobbying” effort.

          This is ignoring the fact that music labels are already extremely exploitative to the point that many (perhaps most) musicians with major label contracts already make all their money from live performances and end up paying the label for the privilege of making a record.

          1. “The business of music labels is predicated on the fact that it is incredibly expensive and inefficient to move perfect facsimiles of pure information from spot to spot.”


            No. Nor was it ever.

      2. Yes, but that’s still reallocating money from one seller to another in not necessarily the order of of what the consumer would have been most willing to pay for, in a theoretical equal, no-piracy environment. It’s not like “copyright protected entertainment products” are a monolithic entity and as long as the same amount of money is flowing to it, the right people are getting paid.

        1. So what? If a friend lends me a book or a DVD unless I really liked it I’m not going to buy it, does it mean we should make “lending copyright protected entertainment products” a criminal offence because it caused me to reallocate how I spent my money?

          1. Yes, but now imagine you lent that same book or DVD to thousands or hundreds of thousands of “friends” simultaneously.  Thats what computers allow, and where the issue arises.

          2. Libraries dont lend thousands or hundreds of thousands of the same copy of a DVD simultaneously.  Even if a particular DVD is lent every day of the year, thats only 365 views.  Thats nothing compared to pirating as it exists today.  You’re over simplifying the issue.

            And for what it’s worth, your tax dollars pay for libraries to BUY the books and DVDs that are lent out to people.

          3. I think there was once a in court argument presented in USA that claimed that having friends over to watch a rental tape was a public performance that the rental license did not allow for.

    2. They’re saying that those who pirate spend as much money regardless and that they’re in fact more likely to spend money going to concerts. What’s the problem?  

      1. The problem for the labels, of course, is that they don’t typically see much direct revenue from live performance (only live recordings).

        1. Labels aren’t providing value like they used to, so they shouldn’t continue to get paid like they used to. Adapt or die, if your business model doesn’t survive technological progress, why should the world care? We didn’t continue to support the buggy-whip companie once everyone swapped to horseless carriages.

          1. I generally agree; I’m just pointing out that a shift back to a model where artists make the lion’s share of their income from performance means a major change in income for labels. The labels are protecting their business model while they can.

      1. …it’d do you both good to look at the research instead of simply going with your gut feelings and blind assumptions.

        It kind of reminds me of the robot waving his arms and screaming, “Danger! Danger!. My sensors compute a dangerous danger approaching!” Lots of noise; not much information.

        1. In fairness, the nature of the threat often made that level of abstraction necessary.
          I mean, if that robot started waving its arms and screaming “that green chick in the body stocking with the lampshade on her head who can live in space is trying to seduce Dr Smith again!”, the ensuing clarification may have rendered the warning useless.

      2. I’m not sure what I’ve failed to read, but if you’d like to point out your specific objections I’d be happy to have a conversation.

        I like conversations. They’re one of the ways ideas and observations are exchanged.

        1. I like conversations. They’re one of the ways ideas and observations are exchanged.

          Ok, well… then you can start by watching the interview with Neil Gaiman I linked to above who is wise enough to understand increased sales when he sees them.

          1. But I don’t want Neil Gaiman, Swiss Economics Expert, to scold me in a video I’ve already viewed for having an opinion which may or may not contradict yours for reasons you’ve yet to specify…

            I want *YOU* to scold me.

    3. It’s actually more akin to stealing a loaf of bread from a shop and then buying a bottle of Champagne.  It’s often touted that those who download music illegally discover new music, become fans, buy the discography and go to gigs, buy their tshirts and tell their friends.

      Don’t think of it as stealing; they’re listening to music, which should be promotional anyway.  You can look at a picture of the Mona Lisa on the internet legally, so why shouldn’t you be able to listen to a song?

      Of course this doesn’t count for every single downloader, but the point is, that on balance, artists can benefit from getting their music out to a bigger crowd (surprise).

      1. But it isn’t like stealing it. 
        It’s more like smelling the loaf of bread before buying a big cake. 
        Once it’s stolen they don’t have that bread anymore. 

      2. > It’s actually more akin to stealing a loaf of bread

        No, it is exactly like making a loaf of bread appear out of thin air. A miracle, I would say. We can perform miracles at will and people somehow equate this with “stealing”.

    4. Nice job forgetting that there’s more to an article than the headline.  Are you really as stupid as you come off or are you just pretending?  Sound, color, TV cassette tapes, cable, VHS/Beta, and now high speed internet.  Every single time the entertainment industry has screamed for their lives they’ve been wrong.  Every single time.

      1. True enough, noone has yet come up with a perfect society. But we should borrow what works from other nations, and use the ideas to improve our own.

        1. While in general, women were allowed to vote in Switzerland for the first time in 1971, in some cantons it took a decision of the federal court, thus last canton to allow women’s vote was “Appenzell Innerrhoden” in 1990 (!)

        2. As if the men had a choice when voting!
          Its not as if the women did tell their husband what to vote since voting  was invented…

  4. I know I’m inviting the accusations of being a troll, but I find these recurring arguments far from convincing.

    OK. People who download music buy more music than the average shlub. Assume it’s true. People who steal drugs probably buy more drugs than the average shlub. What are we supposed to infer from this? That stealing drugs results in a net profit for the drug industry? If my comparison is not apt, fine. But where does it fail?

    The second thing is: if giant corporations would make more money by permitting free downloading, why do they fight it? Is it really that every CEO is completely ignorant of business principles? 

    Note: I don’t think the above claims are necessarily wrong. I’d just like to see more compelling arguments in favor of the claims than the arguments that are usually trotted out.

    1. I believe the implication being made is that downloading causes higher sales of media and media byproducts. Admittedly, the article only shows a correlation, which as we all know (say it together with me!) doesn’t imply causation.

      The CEO argument against free downloading regardless of profit would be, how do we stop people from just downloading whatever they want for free, and not paying for any of it? How do we stop the tragedy of the commons from becoming the tragedy of my loss of three of my houses and five of my BMWs?

      1. You can’t stop people from downloading. You can criminalize the activity, and hence alienate 30% of your population and inbreed a dis-contempt for the law, for a dismal conviction rate that’s not worth bothering with, but setting up an expensive agency to fullfill every wish of a private industry-lobby who’s unwilling to foot the proceedings and infrastructure cost of the whole idiotic operation, and hence make the taxpayer pay to convict himself for something he doesn’t think is wrong in the first place. All aboard the great circlejerk rollercoster, 3, 2, 1…

    2. I’ve had dogs in the race on just about all sides of the track.

      While I think there’s a good bit of disingenuous argument from all corners, I don’t think the Swiss government is far from the collective truth, at least on some fronts. The complication being, of course, that copyright is not at all about rewarding the collective.

      You raise two really common questions, though, and I’ll try to answer them in a way that will (I hope gently) punt your head down the path the “pro” argument makes, whether or not you agree with it.

      1. “What are we supposed to infer from this? That stealing drugs results in a net profit for the drug industry?”

      If there’s no dope to be stolen, are you still a junkie? If you’re getting a regular supply of dope, bought, stolen are otherwise, does your overall usage level go up? Are you more likely to tell your friends how great dope is, and get them hooked, too?

      It’s not that stealing nets profits, it’s that regular usage nets habituation, which nets profits. Stealing is just one of a handful of means to the profitable end of habit.

      2. “Is it really that every CEO is completely ignorant of business principles?”

      How many MBAs have you met?

      I’m one, and I will personally attest to the notion that a great many of my peers succeed almost exclusively on their attitude, and not so much on their mechanical insight. We also tend to make so much money that the concept of “discretionary income” is lost on most all of us.

      1. 1. Should pot dispensaries just give their weed away? If they did that, maybe more people would decide to pay for it even when they don’t have to. Maybe every restaurant should charge nothing for food, because people would realize that eating out is so great, that they’d want to pay for it even when they can get it for free. I’m just saying it’s at the very least counterintuitive that overall profitability of any product increases when the product is freely available. Media may be different, but if so, why?  As pointed out earlier, studies showing correlation of piracy and spending habits prove absolutely nothing about piracy leading to increased profits for media creators. 

        2. I’m not saying that there aren’t boneheaded CEOs or MBAs. There are also quack butcher doctors. There are boneheaded professionals in every field. But is every major media company being overseen by persons who are utterly incapable of understanding how to maximize profits? Again, maybe true. I’m just saying: counterintuitive at least, you gotta give me that.

        1. Media may be different, but if so, why?

          They have an infinite supply of their product, unlike restaurants and pot dealers.

          As pointed out earlier, studies showing correlation of piracy and spending habits prove absolutely nothing about piracy leading to increased profits for media creators.

          Some studies have shown that. This study shows that the net cost of piracy to the entertainment industry is zero.

          1. no. the fact that correlation does not imply causality is not known as the result of a study. it’s true as a matter of logic, and to believe the opposite is a logical fallacy.

            As for the infinite supply claim, perhaps I wasn’t clear. I was looking for a relevant distinction between music and weed, not any distinction whatsoever. how is the “infinite supply” of, say, media relevant?

          2. In response to this one part of your argument, I’ve never known, er, heard of a drug dealer who wouldn’t give away a sample. If the quality is good, the customer comes back to buy again and again.  That might be anecdotal, but I “sample” an artist through piracy. If I like what I hear, I buy the rest through iTunes or Amazon.

            Let’s look back at the era of the mix tape. While in high school, I bought U2’s “Boy”, I made tapes for five friends.  U2 gained 6 new fans, and all of us bought tickets to see them live a year later. All of us purchased the next album when it was released, creating a net gain for the band and the label. The fact that none of us purchased the most recent album is due to U2’s diminished quality as artists, not the availability of the album online.

            So, back to the weed analogy…if a dealer goes from selling the “stickiest of the icky” to peddling stems and seeds, a customer is going elsewhere and probably wouldn’t even bother stealing it.

            Feel free to tear my argument apart; I’m high.

          3. Where did I say that correlation implies causation? I certainly didnt say the study suggests such a thing. Please read the quoted report and then reread my comment.

            The reason that infinite supply is relevant is because if you have an infinite supply then allowing your product to be consumed free of charge to people who were not going to buy your product anyway costs you nothing.

            On the other hand if you have a finite supply then there is definitely a cost as the product could instead have been consumed by a separate, paying customer.

        2. Dealers, at least for pot, tend to give away a percentage of their stock – if you’re at all friendly with them, they tend to be happy to get stoned with you and throw in some of their own stash. Granted, if you abuse this kindness, they will stop doing it, but most are happy to share.

          Restaurants are well known for bringing out certain dishes for free. Bread, olive oil, butter, jam, sugar, condiments, rice, etc. are all free to take what you please. Again, they tend to get a little pissy about people coming in, ordering a coke, and getting 6 loaves of bread, but  overall it works for them.

          Giving away products for free can be an extraordinarily good way of building good will and taste for your costlier product. IP goods are interesting because they can, at least in our current time, given away at no additional marginal cost to the giver, and from this study, overall no opportunity cost at an industry wide level (the distribtuion of money might change, but I can’t honestly speculate on that). Pirating seems to act like an appetizer in a restaurant, offsetting the economic cost by driving us to buy more. If the government can make a policy that will not hurt an industry as a whole, but allow a huge amount of value to be created from nothing by allowing people to freely share valuable things, that seems like a good policy decision.

          I don’t know if this will last. Future expectations of free services might destroy the good will that they generate. Certainly companies who use groupon to give good, or even free, deals, are starting to realize that people are loyal to groupon, and not to them. It might be that no one can sell anything unless they give away almost everything for free. I find that doubtful, but possible. Hopefully the rest of society is post-scarcity by the time such a cultural shift would happen.

    3. For an action to be considered “stealing” it should meet two conditions – 1) A person obtaining something without paying for it, and 2) Another entity losing something of theirs that they paid for. 

      When you steal something tangible, (unless it is refuse) then you’re taking it away from someone who expects to still own it.  When someone downloads an MP3, nobody loses anything.   Not even the record company, because a person choosing not to buy a piece of music, for any reason, does  not constitute lost revenue – it constitutes revenue that never-was-to-be-in-the-first-place.

      1. How can you argue that the revenue was never to be in the first place? You think every person who downloads illegally would not have bought it if the option to download illegally wasn’t there? That record sales, including digital sales, have significantly declined in the last decade or so is not debatable. Would you argue that illegal downloading has nothing whatsoever to do with that?

        Look, I know a very large portion of record sales go into the pockets of record companies rather than musicians, and I don’t dispute that moving to a different business model where downloading free was legal and revenue is generated for musicians in other ways might very well be better for everyone. But some of the arguments for why illegal downloading is harmless sound ridiculous to me.

        1. I’d argue a bigger cause in the decline of the labels is that people buy single songs instead of whole albums. They hear a song they like, they buy that one song. In the past they would have to spend $10+ on a CD, but now they spend $1 on an mp3.  Now they the labels are making a tenth of what they used to make on that artist. These are the casual music fans that have sustained the industry since the Beatles, but these are not real music fans. They don’t spend much on music, don’t seek out all an artist’s work, don’t go see artists live, and will drop their fan loyalty in a heartbeat and move on to the next big thing.

          And for just about every single band I like and pay money for, I initially got their music for free, either through the radio, the public library, a friend, or a free download.

          Also, most of these fans are teenagers and college students with extremely limited funds for entertainment spending, and yet that’s the age when they form lifelong relationships with bands. It makes sense to give it to them free now, because they’ll still be fans when they’re 40 and can spend far more on the band because they’ll 1000x more disposable income. I know the bands I spend the most money on now (in my 40s) are the ones I fell in love with when I was 20 and got their music for free.

          Of course, that’s long term thinking that most labels (and some artists) aren’t really interested in.

        2. It’s really very simple.  It’s a matter of accessibility. 
          Statistically, a person is more likely to buy music that they’ve already heard.  But, if the only practical way to hear a piece is by buying it first, then the song will never be heard, and never be bought.

          That’s why video game producers have a legitimate gripe with piracy, in contrast to all other Big Content.  If a game can be easily downloaded and cracked, then it can usually be bought just as easily — and if it can’t be bought directly from an IP owner, then it’s “abandonware” (free)

          And as far as declining music sales go, I expect you could linearly regress those figures against some figure representing the decline of quality in new music, and get a correlation of unity.
          New music, particularly big pop acts, is increasingly becoming complete & total garbage. Alot of people aren’t buying nor downloading much anymore, if at all. And some of us have already got all the music we’ll want, with rare exceptions.

          1. Damn kids with your crappy music…

            Sorry, but if you’re going to argue a point adding in cliché garbage on nothing more than opinion only makes your argument weak. 

          2. brb, listening to a remixed, remade, remix of Blue Monday by katy gaga or someone, while watching the new film Transformers 1 (but in stunning, hyperrealistic 4-D!)

      2. That’s what the mega corporations hate, they believe the “never-was-to-be-in-the-first-place” was theirs to begin with if you weren’t allowed to take their copywrite.  It’s odd really, but I see their side and I see your side. Creating a new copy of a music file, isn’t the same as stealing a CD. (physical, vs virtual).  However, that virtual file, will be shared with 10+ people and THEY might decide to go buy the CD.  I think Switzerland is on to something here.

      3. I’d like to see you use that argument after sneaking into a movie theater without paying for a ticket.  If the theater was empty at the time, you could argue that it is a victimless crime.  But the fact remains, you’re breaking the law, and enjoying the service (entertainment) without paying for it.

        As someone who works in the entertainment industry (Animator at Disney) and who doesnt own a BMW, I can tell you that internet piracy does *actually* affect our bottom line, and directly impacts the artists in the building when films dont make their projections, yet are hungrily downloaded from the internet.

        1. Again, it comes down to accessibility – in your explicit example, the theatre screen is just as accessible, whether you bought a ticket to view it, or not.  In fact, logic would dictate that paying to get in actually makes the movie more accessible, compared to sneaking in.

          But I see the direction you’re coming from – downloading without paying is unfair to the people who actually paid for the content, if you’re just going to steal it (and keep it).   And that’s a great point.  However, it was the other movie-goers’ independent decisions to either buy a ticket or sneak in.  You don’t control or influence that other than the price of a single ticket. 
          I would argue that different people have different ideas  discerning where they spend their money, and that a person who watches the movie without paying is simply being a savvy shopper.  You can’t sneak into a movie, then approve & decide buy the ticket after.  (Well technically, you can, but I want to be serious here..)
          If everyone could pay for a movie after watching it, then most people would probably pay what they felt was fair ($0-20), with less impressed viewers tending towards low payments or nonpayment — or they might decide to wait and buy the DVD.  This pay-what-you-want scenario has been done by entities ranging from popular bands to bakeries, and they either make about the same amount of money, or more.  Granted, that can change over time. 

          I think try-before-you-buy is the consumer’s very last defense in a global cultural climate overrun with ubiquitous & predatory marketing.

          1. What’s so wrong with people just buying movies on iTunes for 4.99? 

            Anything else are just excuses that try to justify watching shows without paying for them. 

            Ironically, that is NOT a victimless crime.

          2. Not all movies from all time from all studios are available on iTunes shockingly enough.

            I can understand the aggravation and I doubt the twine shall ever really meet. However others have said it better than I likely ever will. Most pirated downloads do not represent lost sales. They represent people that wouldn’t have bought anyway.

            How about the industry (your choice here on which) funnle some of the money away from buying lawmakers, coming up with campy crappy updates to Reefer Madness and instead invest it in customer appreciation?

            Replace the ‘you are a downloading scumbag baby eating pirate and we’re telling you to stop unscippable messages with ones thanking the customer for buying rather than downloading. Try getting your content spread through diff pay services that are platform agnostic and while i can understand some form of token lock to keep someone from casually running off copy aftrer copy after copy don’t make it to the point where if say… you want to make a backup on a flash drive in case your hardrive fails/gets reformatted/you want to try a different linux flavor (or the windows 8 beta, or whatever.) it won’t cause you to be unable to access the content you paid for.In short, stop assuming customers are criminals please. It makes my wallet want to go somewhere else.

          3.  I actually had to download a particular movie thru a P2P recently, because it was essentially forgotten as a complete flop within a year of its 1988 cinematic release, and never made it to DVD, nor could i stream it off of netflix or anywhere else.  Fortunately, the movie has a tiny cult following of some 2-5 people who seed the VHS rip almost every day, and probably have been for years.  I didn’t like it enough to keep it after seeing it, but I’m very glad I got to see it at all, after reading about it somewhere and having my curiosty piqued. 

            Games are easy to demo.  The only valid reason you have for stealing a full version of a game with a demo, is that the full version is not available for purchase anymore.

            Music can be demoed easily, too.  It’s just that most vendors don’t know how to do it effectively – either they play only the 10-30sec  intro of song, no matter the track length; or they overshoot and make the whole file available to audition in some streaming format, hoping that most people aren’t savvy enough to record their sound card output & save a brand new copy.  The trick to properly demoing music is to either set forced fast-forward points of 20-30 seconds at a time, or overdub the track with a disclaimer.  A more important factor is the ability to make as much music available as possible – to suit anyones tastes, so that they only need one service for downloading any music they want.

            Movie trailers are essentially demos of movies.   They are usually enough to make me not want to see the movie, before I’ve had to waste either $10 on a ticket, or waste an hour or so locating a decent copy online.  If I do want to see a movie, I have no problems waiting for it to be available on cable or netflix.  
            But yeah, when your movie’s trailer doesn’t even motivate people to watch it for free, nor even a year later at a highly reduced price, you need to just start making better movies, and stop suing your audience for protecting themselves against losing their money to bad entertainment presented by predatory marketing. 
            The best reason for downloading a film or ripping the DVD, is, yet again, accessibility.  If I want to have a small library of films on the go, that requires no additional hardware to view with friends other than a TV and RCA cable, I can just load those movies to my DRM-free portable media player.   I can’t bring a stack of DVDs everywhere easily, nor does everyone have a DVD player in their vehicle, or even hooked up to their TV at home.  But almost everyone has RCA/aux jacks.

          4. Apple employs marketing techniques against consumers that would easily constitute acts of psychological warfare, were they perpetrated by one national government against another.

            Thier product in this case, iTunes, is just another centrally-controlled Cloud service that dictates how, when, with whom, and for how long you can use what you bought agreed to lease. It’s an empty hat.

        2. “…when films dont make their projections, yet are hungrily downloaded from the internet.”

          That sounds like exactly the same bad reasoning used by label and studio execs, and it’s just as bad even when it comes from someone without a fancy car.  X million units of downloads is emphatically not equivalent to X million lost ticket sales. 

          As the mentioned studies show, some much smaller portion of the people who downloaded *might* have purchased a ticket if downloading was not an option, BUT then a roughly equal number of people who DID buy a ticket from you might instead choose to spend their finite money on a video game, a music CD or a movie from another studio. (For example, the people who discovered or became fans of Disney products thanks to “pirating”, but, in our alternate universe, have instead drifted somewhere else.)  

          On average, every dollar spent on one entertainment product comes at the expense of another dollar that might have been spent on some other diversion, possibly in an entirely different medium. 

          What Disney and every other studio and entertainment producer needs to do is compete to produce a more compelling reason for people to spend their money with them rather than other artists and producers. 

          And that’s *exactly as true* regardless of whether we call in the FBI, enact Draconian copyright/censorship statutes, and otherwise clamp down on the millions of people sharing, sampling and enjoying media and culture they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Either way, you’re not competing with the people and fans discovering and sharing your work, you’re competing with other entertainment producers.

          1. ” X million units of downloads is emphatically not equivalent to X million lost ticket sales.”

            Of course.  But it sure represents SOME lost sales, even if  that figure is hard to pin down.  Point being, it does affect artists and regular ‘ol people, and I think that side should be represented in this discussion.  The artists and filmmakers are still working hard to make the best films we can make, and people are still fans of the films, but now that just doesnt equate to home video sales like it used to.  People used to buy DVDs.  Now they just download them.

            Thing is, your argument states that studios need to allow free sampling to discover their work.  I’m pretty sure everyone in the civilized world is aware of major blockbusters.  And they love them.  It isnt a matter of quality or exposure at all.  That’s a total farce.  And if you want a sample of their work, a trailer exists for every film on the planet, and thousands of film review sites exist to steer you to the good ones.  If you dont like the film after you watch it, that sucks.  Theres lots of products I buy that I end up not liking.  Caveat emptor.  But that doesnt mean you get your money back.  The notion that somehow the consumer “deserves” the best possible experience from a product sounds spoiled. 

            I dont buy the “I can only decide if I like your stuff if I get to download the whole thing for free first” argument.  It just reeks of excuses for watching without paying.  If no trailers or film review sites existed, I could buy it, but that’s simply not the case.

            And people are discerning of their spending, but not as finite as your argument implies.  If anything this debt crisis has taught us, it’s that self-control for spending on luxury goods like media is almost non-existent.  If theres something people want, and they cant download it, they buy it.

          2. ” Point being, it does affect artists and regular ‘ol people, and I think that side should be represented in this discussion.”

            But you need to distinguish between artists and regular people working for Disney, people working for major film studios, people working in the film/video/animation industry, and people writing books, or video games, or playing guitar, or piloting cruise boats. 

            They are not interchangeable. 

            The point of the “lump of entertainment budget” studies is that money not spent by consumers on one thing ends up spent in another. Your “lost” sales are someone else’s gain.

            *And vice versa*.

            It is possible that the management of Disney believes that the Draconian copyright regime they lobby for will be a useful tool against their competitors in other entertainment media. It’s even possible that they’re right.

            But you need to be honest about what that is: it’s one particular industry engaging in government rent seeking to the disadvantage of competitors.

            IF that policy is successful, and you net a few more people to buy the latest Disney DVD over their other options, that’s $X in your pocket that you “stole” straight out of the pocket of some other ‘regular ol’ people’ artist (maybe an author, or a music recording engineer, or a museum tour guide, or an indie animator).

            You understandably want your medium and your employer – and you – to get that money instead of the other guys, but that still means the other guys don’t get it.

            And at the same time, consumers at large lose out: in the alternate world where those users who were happy with a downloaded movie could do so, they got to enjoy a movie AND give some money to the author or engineer or whatever. 

            Theoretically, at least in the US system, that describes a situation which is more in line with the underlying goal of copyright: to maximize the amount of creative work that’s available to the public. 

            The goal is NOT to favor or maximize the profit of a particular artist, firm or industry. It’s ultimately to provide everyone with everything produced – for free. That’s why copyright (used to) expire. And it’s why workable compromises on sharing for personal use or the like are almost certainly a much better plan for the public than the maximalist aspirations of certain incumbent media firms.

          3. “Your “lost” sales are someone else’s gain.”

            That would be true if entertainment spending stayed the same or increased year over year.  But in the last 3 years, entertainment spending has dropped significantly:


            We’re starting to see a recovery now that sites like Netflix exist and Redbox are becoming more popular:


            So, statistical data exists that doesnt support your theory that people still spend the same for entertainment year over year.  Regardless, none of this…NONE of it justifies downloading for free.

          4. “But in the last 3 years, entertainment spending has dropped significantly:”

            Uhh. We’re in the middle of a major recession.

            Note that nobody is saying that consumer budgets don’t change, ever. Obviously they do. 

            But at any given instant – or over, say, a given month – Susie Everyone has a pretty fixed amount of money she’s willing to spend on ‘fluff’ like movies or video games or indie rock t-shirts. Over the long term, that amount varies. But over the short term, spending $8 on a movie ticket now means she’ll probably notice later that she’s $8 light and decide to skip that paperback from Amazon.

            Netflix exist and Redbox are becoming more popular:

            Note that that data appears to be exclusively about home movies. Not entertainment as a whole.

            (Even the BLS data is less than clear cut: buying a new shirt to go out to a club is probably somewhat interchangeable with “entertainment” consumer budget wise, but overlaps with at least two other categories.)

            “Regardless, none of this…NONE of it justifies downloading for free.”

            The thing is, I don’t at all concede that this is a concept that needs to be “justified”.

            The *natural* state of digital data is “easy to copy and share”. And the *goal* of copyright policy is ultimately to maximize the quantity and *availability to the public* of creative works.

            An internet full of easily share-able digital work is pretty darn available if you ask me.

            Now, *some* level of copyright and/or other type of regulation (like a download tax) *might* be necessary in order to stimulate the initial production of certain kinds of new works. But that should obviously interfere with the ability of people to share and enjoy works *as little as possible*. 

            In my view, it is YOU who needs to justify maximalist copyright as the optimal policy solution here.  The evidence appears to be against you.

        3. Going into a movie theater without a ticket is an actual crime called “trespassing.”  Compare to watching a drive-in movie from a spot that is not owned by the theater — which is not the least bit illegal.

          Are you suggesting that we should outlaw certain technologies just so that you can keep your job?  If so, would you be willing to ditch your refrigerator to give my door-to-door ice block delivery service a little boost?  Business has been pretty bad ever since the 1950’s.

    4. The second thing is: if giant corporations would make more money by permitting free downloading, why do they fight it? Is it really that every CEO is completely ignorant of business principles?

      No, (almost) every CEO has little imagination and is terrified of change/giving up a good thing for something uncertain (CEOs are selected according to their ability to consistently produce satisfactory quarterly results). It’s why most corporate giants fail.

      The issue at stake is this – most of the things downloaded would not otherwise have been bought, and because of this (downloading and trying out random stuff you would not otherwise have exposed yourself to) the number of things you actually end up buying increases.

      Of course, this does favour the (fat) long tail, which is almost entirely incompatible with the current label/studio/publisher business models.

    5. The second thing is: if giant corporations would make more money by permitting free downloading, why do they fight it? Is it really that every CEO is completely ignorant of business principles?

      Musicians make more money due to free downloading. Music distribution companies tend to take a hit, because people find more efficient ways of funding their favourite acts that don’t divert funds to middle men, and musicians are less dependent on those distribution companies.

      It’s a lot easier to make money off of musicians if you can make the radio play only Justin Beiber. It’s a lot cheaper to maintain a few big acts than a stable of niche players. That’s not so great for the niche musicians, though.

    6. Let me guess, you think all the people on welfare are stealing, am I right? Cause it’s the same correlation your trying to make.  And no, those people on welfare, unemployment, food stamps, they need them.  More then anyone else. If there is fraud, it’s the government making their own “judgments” as to whether they deserve it or not.  I would hazard a guess that it’s about 1% of those on welfare don’t need it. You just tend to hear more bad things on the news then the good things and it clouds reasonable judgment.

  5. I’m so happy to live in Switzerland right now :) 

    Their study is so, so right… 
    Most of the copyrighted material downloads are done by students.
    Just because someone is a student and doesn’t earn a salary doesn’t mean that he should be prevented access to any art piece or creative tool that can be technically copied for free. I grew up in switzerland… I used to DL a lot of copyrighted stuff and it allowed me to increase my creativity, curiosity and to have extremely diversified interests instead of just listening to “mainstream” music on the radio and watching “mainstream” movies on TV.If I wasn’t able to access all this stuff for free back then… I would not have bought it… I would just be less curious and stupid !

    Now I’m working there… and I spend quite a lot in cultural events (concers, art exhibitions, etc…), music and blurays.

    Music in switzerland is going well I think (just look at to have an idea of how many groups are active in this country of only ~7.5 million individuals).

    Internet has radically changed the way we consume. Did it change the reasons and the way the artist make their stuff ? not that much I think. 

    Just my 2 cents.

    1. “I’m so happy to live in Switzerland right now”

      Indeed, it is a nice change for once. Usually when we make international headlines with politics it is an embarrassment.

  6. The reason for the correlation is that people who tend to download media for personal use do so because because they care about art and music and story telling. It’s curatorial in nature for them, not financial. Would you begrudge a kid stumbling onto a library? In  less corporatised times, they would have been proud keepers of proud traditions. Since Disney bought the world, they’re criminals. It really stinks. We’re gradually losing the rights to our cultural heritage. 

    1. Hence the overwhelming popularity of bad pop music and porn on torrent sites. Those cultural guardians who want to preserve the storytelling legacy of “Put it in my Ass” vols. 1-16

      1. You’ve got a point there, although I felt Put it in my Ass Vol 9 was a rather brilliant reworking of the genre, I’m still upset it didn’t get an Oscar nod.

      2. Not a particularly trenchant rebuttal. 

        For one, that’s one of the things you’d expect to happen when you criminalize cultural sharing. Those who still participate are going to be drawn overwhelmingly from a fairly narrow segment of the population — to wit, underage porn hounds with little money and immature tastes in music.  If sharing were more widely accepted or utilized, you’d obviously also see a lot more stuff shared by people with more varied and cultivated tastes.

        That is NOT a very good argument against the observation that there is a certain impoverishing of our cultural heritage going on. The reverse, if anything.

        There’s also plenty of other stuff going on: embarrassment and/or age restrictions might make file sharing one of the only viable ways to get porn for some groups (again: fourteen year olds).  And as for bad pop music: if you’re going to try out some bad music, why would you want to pay for it? 

        Then there’s the issue of income: a certain portion of the sharing is probably being done by young people or others with severely restricted disposable incomes. That makes it even more remarkable that file sharers are on average big spenders – imagine what those numbers must look like if you calculated the same stats while ignoring the empty-wallet free riders (whose sharing, after all, certainly doesn’t count as “lost sales” for media distributors).

        Edit: I should add that porn and pop music are also just really popular in general (I was being a bit silly picking on the fourteen year olds). And they’ll probably always be really popular. Along with blockbuster movies and corny tv shows. Where file sharing shines as a mode of cultural sharing and preservation is really its ability to serve the needs of the “long tail”. You can often download stuff that isn’t even available anywhere else, even if it is only being shared by 4 people rather than 40,000.

  7. Just wondering if there is a typo in the post.
    “The independent study concluded that downloaders use the money they spend to buy more legitimate entertainment products.” Should “spend” not be “save” ?

    1. Yep, the french version of the study says : “Les utilisateurs de sites de partage continuent d’investir les économies réalisées dans les divertissements.”

      “économies” means “savings”

    1. Libraries typically have a handful of copies of books or DVDs that can be checked out for weeks at a time.  So over the course of a year, maybe 10 people will check a particular piece of media out.  Its a legitimate way to sample works that are available.  But if Libraries had an unlimited supply of media, you can bet they wouldnt exist today.

      The issue at hand is volume, not whether things are freely available or not.

  8. There is a mistake in the quote: The “Swiss study” turns into a “dutch” study. Unlike the Netherlands we have mountains!

    1. It is not a mistake. If you look at the linked article you will see that the Swiss study investigated one aspect of downloaders behaviour and that last year the Dutch government investigated a different aspect of downloaders’ behaviour.

        1. Thats why there is a nation called “Swedenland”. It’s Switzerland and Sweden combined to help the US citzens understand the world better.

  9. I always suspected this could Be another part of the argument. People I know who download files typically end up spending MORE money on entertainment products, as it’ s more of a “try before you buy”. People have been tired of being robbed $20 for 1 decent song an 9 crap songs, all because record companies maintain their oppressive and controlling ways with artists and product.

  10. Another angle here is that sometimes media simply isn’t available through reasonably easy legit means. I buy a *TON* of music, but if I find a song that isn’t available in the states for some lame-o legal/copyright/whatever reason, I have no qualms about downloading it. Make it easy for media consumers to get exactly what they want by legal means and I’m certain that DLing would become a non-issue for many people.

    Something else that comes to mind is that in ye olden dayes when I was young & broke, I still bought a *TON* of music – but I bought it used. AFAIK, this didn’t put dollars in anyone’s pockets except Amoeba Records, and one layer removed, the original purchasers of the music. It’s hard not to draw an analogy between my used music purchases with “kids these days” DLing because they’re more financially constrained.

    1. It’s amazing what happens when your entire political process isn’t hijacked by financial interests.

      It almost looks democratic!

    1. I think it’s rather forward-thinking, if you ask me. I know plenty of people who are split with downloading and buying just for the sake of having a hard copy. 

  11. In term of copyright, artists don’t get much, like 0.5% of the sale of the book or albums.  In the other hand, labels get 40-45% while the stores gets 40-45% too (to pay for the lease, bills, employees, etc.).  So when labels want to “protect copyright” they don’t do that because they care about artists as they claim, they do that because  they care about their 45%.  Artists are gettting ripped off as much as us by labels.

  12. I’ve followed the two links at the top and all I see is a report of a government commissioned study with conclusions and recommendations. I see no evidence that any government has actually acted on it. What’ve I missed?

    1. The action based on this study is “not to change the current laws” as opposed to what some other european countries are doing.

      1. Did you read the PDF on the right in “documents” ?

        more specifically this part :

        “Le Conseil fédéral est par conséquent d’avis que le cadre juridique tracé par le législateur
        suisse lors de la révision partielle du droit d’auteur entrée en vigueur en 2008 offre pour
        l’heure une marge de manœuvre suffisante pour parer aux utilisations d’œuvres dans l’environnement numérique. Il serait dès lors prématuré de légiférer. Il importe de donner au marché la possibilité de s’autoréguler afin d’éviter le maintien artificiel de structures dépassées.”

        1. Thanks. I got all that, but we don’t yet know that this is one of those there rare victories for evidence-based policy, is all I’m saying.

          This is still only the conclusion and recommendation of the report. Snag is that governments can and do ignore such advice and go ahead and do what they wanted to do anyway.

          I suppose the thing here is that we’ll only know it’s a victory if they don’t change anything. That’s quite a long time to wait. Sorry to seem so pessimistic’n’all that – I don’t do it to be fashionably cynical.

          1. when you have a legal way to force a vote about anything by simply collection 100’000 votes, politicans can’t live on the moon.

  13. You know what really burns my goat? Just think how many copies of Gran Turismo have been printed. Every one of those includes a Bugatti Veyron, that you can take out and drive around the track.

    Now, a Bugatti costs like 1.5 MILLION dollars. And they’ve sold millions of those games.

    Every time you fire the game up and choose a Bugatti, you are LITERALLY stealing $1.5 Million out of the Volkswagen group’s pockets. Stealing.

    And what happens if you crash it?

    My my rough estimates, that comes out to damages of $1.5 Trillion dollars…created just from this one game, of people who would have otherwise gone out and bought a Bugatti Veyron.

    I don’t think there is any dungeon cruel enough for the likes of these thieves and miscreants, who commit such property crime on such a monumental scale.

  14. Record labels in the US exist to employ lawyers at the expense of musicians for the benefit of shareholders, most of whom must be lawyers. 

  15. illegal downloaders spend more money on entertainment than who? non-illegal downloaders? or people in the world pre-illegal downloading? 
    the question should be: Do illegal downloaders spend more or less on entertainment than people did before the advent of illegal downloading?the study is asking the wrong question. if it’s right about illegal downloaders helping business why has the recording industry gone broke? a coincidence? i don’t think so.

  16. What is there not to understand here?
    It’s simple economics.
    More and more people are making their music available for free… for example, Justin Beiber. Justin Beiber get’s famous, people like throwing money/time at famous people. Yey for Justin Bieber.
    Let take another example. Die Artwoord, the obscure rap/rave group from South Africa, who without Boing Boing, would probably have gone nowhere. But because they made their music available for free to everyone with access to the net, they got famous, people like throwing money/time at famous people. Yey for Die Antwoord.
    The people who are complaining are people who once sold a lot of cds, but then became less cool, resulting in less fame and less people throwing money at them. Boo for Metallica.
    The end result does not look good for record labels. Why? Because artists get exposure without them, and all the little guys are posing threat because now everyone has a shot at fame without bigshot marketing investments in select few.
    The people who are sulking are sulking because they didn’t jump on the Beiber wagon first. boo hoo.
    Then you get the little guys who complain that people pirate their cds, and therefore, they will never have money to sustain themselves. Hate to say it, but no record label would have invested money in these guys anyway. Just because millions of people have access to their music does not mean millions of people want to see them on the cover of Rolling Stone. You are not small because of the internet, you are small because you suck + didn’t upload a video onto youtube.
    The business model has expired, the amount of people willing to spend their money on curing the boredom hasn’t.
    Deal with it or fall behind. Or else, shut down the internet. lol. Good luck with that.
    Btw. the film and gaming industry has hardly felt the wrath of the internet. Downloading movies and games is still pretty impractical for most of the world who still pays for internet bundles and has slow internet. In other words, it would cost me more to download 1 gig than it would cost for a trip to a movie house. Never mind the fact that it would take me more than a week to download and still risk that the torrent is a dud.
    On the other hand downloading music is practical for most people. But as internet becomes faster and cheaper to developing countries, you are likely to see a similar trend for hostable media across the board.
    My advice? Exploring new income generating models for host able media. How do you make money though internetfame? While it lasts at lease, because it sure doesn’t last long. Unless you are Justin Beiber.

  17. In the huge thread above, there are arguments over how much damage copyright infringement does.

    From Free Culture (CC BY-NC 2.0 Lawrence Lessig):

    File sharers share different kinds of content. We can divide these different kinds into four types.

    A. There are some who use sharing networks as substitutes for purchasing content. Thus, when a new Madonna CD is released, rather than buying the CD, these users simply take it. We might quibble about whether everyone who takes it would actually have bought it if sharing didn’t make it available for free. Most probably wouldn’t have, but clearly there are some who would. The latter are the target of category A: users who download instead of purchasing.

    B. There are some who use sharing networks to sample music before purchasing it. Thus, a friend sends another friend an MP3 of an artist he’s not heard of. The other friend then buys CDs by that artist. This is a kind of targeted advertising, quite likely to succeed. If the friend recommending the album gains nothing from a bad recommendation, then one could expect that the recommendations will actually be quite good. The net effect of this sharing could increase the quantity of music purchased.

    C. There are many who use sharing networks to get access to copyrighted content that is no longer sold or that they would not have purchased because the transaction costs off the Net are too high. This use of sharing networks is among the most rewarding for many. Songs that were part of your childhood but have long vanished from the marketplace magically appear again on the network. (One friend told me that when she discovered Napster, she spent a solid weekend “recalling” old songs. She was astonished at the range and mix of content that was available.) For content not sold, this is still technically a violation of copyright, though because the copyright owner is not selling the content anymore, the economic harm is zero—the same harm that occurs when I sell my collection of 1960s 45-rpm records to a local collector.

    D. Finally, there are many who use sharing networks to get access to content that is not copyrighted or that the copyright owner wants to give away.

    The question, Lessig concludes, is whether A has a greater financial impact than B. (Which is itself a simplification, but it’ll do for now.) Evidently, the Swiss government has concluded that it does not.

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