Sep 29, 2017


Gizmodo recently reported, the European Union suppressed a 300-page study (2017 Situation Report on Counterfeiting and Privacy in the European Union). The study covered all manner of foods, drugs, goods, and services, from labels to products. Concerning digital piracy, it concluded that piracy did not harm sales of copyrighted material, including books, music, video games, and movies.

From a prosecution standpoint, one problem it found is no funds are generated when a digital game is downloaded. This shortcoming is often overcome by the sale of advertising space on illegal file-sharing sites and this process is facilitated by advertising intermediaries. This no funds process makes it difficult to follow a money stream.

Television and video broadcasts are digital and are available on a variety of platforms such as mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, and set-top boxes. In recent years, the use of set-top boxes to access large numbers of television channels, films and other protected content has increased due to low prices, improving quality of services, reliability, and user friendliness.

In many cases the media itself is not copied or kept on servers, just the small code needed to play it. "The number of operators providing illegal IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) appears to be on the rise and this trend is expected to continue at an accelerated rate in the future...It is known that some European internet users continue to mistakenly take the fact that a digital content service is freely available online without the authorities having taken action as a sign that the service provides legal access to digital content."

The study concluded that the impact of piracy failed to provide stats which suggested a “…displacement of sales by online copyright infringements.” Essentially, piracy does not harm legitimate sales. The report posited that illicit downloads may even bolster legal sales of games and neutral for books and music. The sole area where illegal downloading was found to have a negative impact is with blockbuster films.

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