Go Ahead and Pirate; You May Aid Entertainment Industry
|December 20, 2013||Posted by Staff under Patent Copyright|
A 2013 excerpt of CBC News, Oct 03.
A new study by researchers at the London School of Economics found that for some creative industries, copyright infringement might actually be helping boost revenues.
Internet-based revenues have been a significant component of the music industry’s growth since 2004 as the industry has slowly adopted methods of distributing and consuming content modelled on those used by file-sharing services and sites such as BitTorrent, Pirate Bay, and the now defunct Napster, which pioneered music file sharing in the 1990s.
While it acknowledges that sales have stagnated in recent years, the report points out that the overall revenue of the music industry in 2011 was almost $60 billion US, and in 2012, worldwide sales of recorded music increased for the first time since 1999, with 34 per cent of revenues for that year coming from digital channels such as streaming and downloads.
Had the record companies adapted to a digital environment earlier, rather than resisting it, they could have witnessed growth much earlier, the authors say.
The same holds true for the movie industry, the researchers suggest. While sales and rentals of DVDs have declined — by about 10 per cent between 2001 and 2010 — global revenues have increased by five per cent in that same period. The U.S. film industry alone was worth a healthy $93.7 billion in 2012, the authors said.
The video game and book publishing industries have also been successful at finding new revenue streams within the digital space and are making healthy profits, the report said. In 2013, the global book publishing industry was worth $102 billion, more than any of the other entertainment industries.
“Although revenues from print book sales have declined, this has been offset by increases in sales of e-books, and the rate of growth is not declining despite reports lamenting the ‘end of the book’,” the researchers write in their report.
The researchers make the argument that the digital culture that has sprung up around the file sharing of music, video games, movies, and other content has spawned new models of producing and distributing creative content that don’t rely on exclusive ownership of that content.
Creative Commons licences, for example, which allow artists to specify how their work is shared by the public, are increasingly being used by some musicians to release their content on music-sharing sites like SoundCloud, the report said.
The report points to the 10 million user-generated videos of Gangnam Style by South-Korean musician Psy that were created on YouTube after the original song was released and went viral as evidence that digital culture thrives on the ubiquitous sharing of digital content.
The report points to the results of a consumer tracking study by the U.K. communications regulator Ofcom that found that file sharers in the U.K. spent more on content than those who only consumed legal content.
The LSE researchers urge countries like the U.K. and the U.S. to reform their copyright enforcement regimes, which they say are out of step with such developments and with online culture generally and do not necessarily even serve the interests of the creators they claim to be protecting.
“Insisting that people will only produce creative works when they can claim exclusive ownership rights ignores the spread of practices that depend on sharing and co-creation and easy access to creative works; this insistence privileges copyright owners over these creators,” the report says.
Ed. Notes: This is good news. Now my conscience is relieved after excerpting so much from the original article. And if government is to grant patents and copyrights, it should charge full market value (as would any business) for those exclusive monopolies. Then use the revenues to fatten a Citizen’s Dividend, compensating people for being excluded from exploring where others have already patented or for not being allowed to replay a story or song as one would retell a joke. Some things are just meant to be shared.