London School of Economics: piracy isn't killing big content; government needs to be skeptical of entertainment industry claims

Copyright and Creation, a policy brief from a collection of respected scholars at the rock-ribbed London School of Economics, argues that the evidence shows that piracy isn't causing any grave harm to the entertainment industry, and that anti-piracy measures like the three-strikes provision in Britain's Digital Economy Act don't work. They call on lawmakers to take an evidence-led approach to Internet and copyright law, and to consider the interests of the public and not just big entertainment companies looking for legal backstops to their profit-maximisation strategies.

“Contrary to the industry claims, the music industry is not in terminal decline, but still holding ground and showing healthy profits. Revenues from digital sales, subscription services, streaming and live performances compensate for the decline in revenues from the sale of CDs or records,” says Bart Cammaerts, LSE Senior Lecturer and one of the report’s authors.

The report shows that the entertainment industries are actually doing quite well. The digital gaming industry is thriving, the publishing sector is stable, and the U.S. film industry is breaking record after record.

“Despite the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) claim that online piracy is devastating the movie industry, Hollywood achieved record-breaking global box office revenues of $35 billion in 2012, a 6% increase over 2011,” the report reads.

Even the music industry is doing relatively well. Revenue from concerts, publishing and digital sales has increased significantly since the early 2000s and while recorded music revenues show a decline, there is little evidence that piracy is the lead cause.

“The music industry may be stagnating, but the drastic decline in revenues warned of by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence,” the report concludes.

Piracy Isn’t Killing The Entertainment Industry, Scholars Show [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

Notable Replies

  1. "Evidence led approach"

    Snort!!! These guys are almost as funny as the NSA!

  2. I'm sure the government is fully aware of what's going on. Because they're probably benefiting.

  3. Kimmo says:

    I'd say the mere possibility, let alone the reality, of any three-strikes law is testament to the fact that something has been very, very wrong with democracy for a while now, and a bit of academic advice like this is nothing more than cold comfort for the victims (everyone) of an ongoing agenda.

  4. heng says:

    Something isn't wrong just because it's a crime. Generally things are crimes because they are wrong. In the case of copyright, the history is actually very interesting. I recommend this book from which you might gain a deeper understanding of why what you just said is nonsense, and a very good reply to your (I suspect rhetorical) question.

  5. Hah! "Evidence based policy"; Last time I remember that phrase being bandied around Whitehall/the press was when David Nutt was sacked...

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