A new report that studies the impact of graduated response regimes around the world has found that very little evidence, if any, of their supposed effectiveness in combating piracy and encouraging the purchase of legitimate content.
The new paper, simply titled as "Evaluating graduated response", was published by Dr Rebecca Giblin of Australia's Monash University. The paper looked at graduated response regimes from France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and the UK.
In evaluating the effectiveness of graduated response regimes, more colloquially known as "three-strikes" systems, Dr Giblin put forth three main criteria for examination: to what extent does graduated response reduce infringement; to what extent does graduated response maximize authorized uses; and to what extent does graduated response promote learning and culture by encouraging the creation and dissemination of a wide variety of creative materials?
The paper found that three-strikes fails all three areas.
For the first, Dr Giblin found very little evidence that suggests three-strikes has reduced copyright infringement. While some studies claim to show a marked decreased in P2P piracy, the paper notes that these reports are often biased towards the rights holder, are not peer reviewed, and often fail to ignore the fact that people have switched to other sources for the pirated content. Under most three-strikes regimes, only P2P traffic is monitored. Users switching from P2P to encrypted downloads, direct downloads or cyberlockers are often not accounted for in the studies that show decreasing infringement activities.
On the issue of increasing the use of legitimate content, the paper also found no evidence of this. The French's Hadopi graduated response regime, now scrapped, was initially thought to have been effective at increase iTunes sales in the country. But this claim is now disputed as it did not take into account the increase in iPhone sales during the same period. Music industry revenue also fell in the period where Hadopi was most active.
The paper also found little evidence that graduated response encourages the creation and dissemination of new content. If anything, these systems are lobbied for by Big Content, and are often designed with built-in biases for the big content publishers, perhaps at the expense of independents.
In conclusion, the study found that "there is little to no evidence that that graduated responses are either 'successful' or 'effective'".