300-PAGE STUDY IN 2015 FINDS NO EVIDENCE PIRACY HARMS COPYRIGHT PROFIT, DISAPPEARS TILL NOW
Remember when (always) media groups were hell bent on making sure any and all copyright infringements were designated as major criminal acts? Remember how these acts were and remain a major priority for criminal prosecution, even to the degree that these were central to multinational trade agreements? The rationale was and still is that online piracy for media destroyed profits and damaged economies, even were a threat to industry jobs, wherever and whatever they may be. But it turns out that at least one 300-page EU report of a study on online piracy’s impact on sales was selectively suppressed and buried back in 2015. Why? Because there is no evidence that piracy has much impact on sales.
BIG MEDIA WANTS PEOPLE IN JAIL BECAUSE THEY WANT TO HAVE TO POWER TO PUT PEOPLE IN JAIL, NOT FOR LOSS OF PROFIT
Beyond the truth that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark, there’s a new stench arising from this development. The study, which was commissioned by the European Commission and cost about $428,000 USD, looked at piracy and its impact on the sales of music, books, video games and movies. Chew on this some more: online piracy has been a major focus for criminal prosecution by Western governments at the behest of media corporations to protect profits that weren’t affected. The details to follow get more interesting as you read on.
DUTCH FIRM ECORY REPORT GOES MISSING FOR 2 1/2 YEARS
The Dutch firm Ecory was commissioned to research the impact of piracy for several months, eventually submitting a 304-page report to the EU in May 2015. The report concluded that: “In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect.”
PIRACY ACTUALLY BOOSTS SOME SALES, ACCORDING TO REPORT
The report found that illegal downloads and streams can actually boost legal sales of games, according to the report. The only negative link the report found was with major blockbuster films: “The results show a displacement rate of 40 percent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally.”
The study has only come to light now because Julia Reda, a Member of the European Parliament representing the German Pirate Party, posted the report on her personal blog after she got ahold of a copy through an EU Freedom of Information access to document request.
The European Digital Rights organization suggested in a blog post that the full contents of this report was intentionally suppressed, pointing to a 2016 academic paper by two Commission officials. The paper, “Movie Piracy and Displaced Sales in Europe,” only mentioned the part of the Ecory report that highlights the relationship between piracy and blockbuster film lost sales, and excluded the other findings of the report. Additionally, the paper didn’t even disclose that the cited information came from Ecory’s study.