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Piracy Won't Kill Entertainment Industry

Posted by: , 21:47 AEST, Fri October 4, 2013

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The prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science has released a policy brief urging the UK government to ignore the dire predictions made by the copyright lobby, and instead embrace the sharing culture behind the piracy phenomenon
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A new policy brief released by the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science is urging the UK government to ignore the copyright lobby's dire predictions of the consequences of Internet piracy. Instead, the brief says that the government should look at the positive effects of the sharing culture that is prevalent on the Internet.

The policy brief (which can be read here courtesy of the TorrentFreak website) attacks the entertainment industry's claims regarding the effect of piracy, and finds that the both the music and film industries are doing much better than predictions made by the same industries. In fact, for the film industry, things have never been better.

"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. Cammaerts is a senior lecturer at the LSE, and one of the report’s authors.

Specifically for the film and music industries, the report highlights that things are far better than the apocalyptic pictures painted by these industries in their lobby efforts.

"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 music industry may be stagnating, but the drastic decline in revenues warned of by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence."

Piracy, far from being the death knell of the creative industries, may very well be helping these industries innovate in the age of the Internet, the report argues. 

"Within the creative industries there is a variety of views on the best way to benefit from online sharing practices, and how to innovate to generate revenue streams in ways that do not fit within the existing copyright enforcement regime," the report writes.

In conclusion, the report's authors say that the UK government needs to review the Digital Economy Act, which recommended harsh measures to fight against Internet piracy at the behest of the copyright lobby. Instead, a new balance needs to be struck between the industries, users and ISPs in leveraging the full power of the Internet.

"When both [the creative industries and citizens] can exploit the full potential of the internet, this will maximize innovative content creation for the benefit of all stakeholders," the authors conclude.


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