|Posted on October 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM|
A UK-based study back in 2010 made it perfectly clear that based upon "the relationship between illegal P2P file-sharing and internet radio services, researchers found that over half of the survey's participants reported stopping illegal downloading activity due to the presence of online streaming services." This was based upon the premise that piracy was bad, and was hurting the entertainment industry.
But then Torrent Freak blew the whistle on an alleged "suppressed report" conducted by Society for Consumer Research that indicates users of P2P file-sharing services "buy more DVDs, visit the cinema more often and on average spend more than their 'honest' counterparts at the box office. The users often buy a ticket to the expensive weekend-days."
So which is it?
Apparently piracy is good for the music industry, at least according to a new study from the American Assembly, which purports that those who illegally download music are also the ones most likely to purchase music. In a study that took the judging of the morality of P2P file-sharing out of the picture, American Assembly focused on asking people to distinguish between what they considered public vs. private copying, and where they drew the line in terms of "reasonable."
Some surprising findings and conclusions include:
The RIAA states that online piracy is harming their industry. "While downloading one song may not feel that serious of a crime, the accumulative impact of millions of songs downloaded illegally - and without any compensation to all the people who helped to create that song and bring it to fans - is devastating." This argument makes sense. And yet, if you look at the chart above, according to this study there seems to be a distict correlation between illegally downloading and legal purchases.
The American Assembly concludes that "if absolute spending is the metric, then P2P users value music more highly than their non-P2P using, digital-collecting peers, not less. They're better digital consumers."
Interestingly, it seems that key players in the music industry seem to understand this, with heavy hitters like Adele and Sir Paul McCartney limiting their music available on streaming services in favor of putting up with piracy for the sake of the bottom line. Could it be similar to, say, a public relations gimmick that may cost up front, but in the long run pays off? Or are we teaching young people to ignore the law?
In fact, there are no specific laws on the books surrounding this practice in many countries. American Assembly notes that "commercial-scale" infringement tends to trigger criminal lawsuits, whereas small-scale copying that involves sharing with personal networks and without any commercial intent, tend to be viewed as "fair use" when viewed in contrast to copyright laws.
Europe comes closest to having legal guidelines on the books which allow for personal copying in return for paying for copying technologies (blank cd's or tape records, etc.).
In related news, The Pirate Bay, the most infamous of all P2P file sharing venues, has just made news by announcing it has moved it's infrastructure to the clouds, which will make it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to raid the site. It will also cut down on operating costs, according to The Pirate Bay. But the big news according to the rogue site is "if the police decide to raid us again there are no servers to take, just a transit router. If they follow the trail to the next country and find the load balancer, there is just a disk-less server there. In case they find out where the cloud provider is, all they can get are encrypted disk images."