from the serious-question dept
Yet, nearly all copyright policy seems to be focused on increasing enforcement to try to stop piracy, with almost no concern as to whether or not it actually helps the bottom line. Time and time again we see draconian enforcement rules put in place with no evidence that it actually helps sales. At all. The latest example comes from Japan. As you may recall, last year, Japan passed some insanely draconian anti-piracy laws that made unauthorized downloading a criminal offense. The law has been in effect for almost a year and the results are staggering.
While the observed reporting of file sharing has certainly dropped, so have sales -- and by a very, very wide margin. And this even includes digital sales, which are growing rapidly almost everywhere else.
From October 1 2012, those downloading copyrighted material without permission faced a potential two year jail sentence. But while users of Japan’s favorite P2P networks plummeted, sales have not been positively affected. Total music sales this year so far are down 7% on the same period last year, but digital sales are even worse – down 24% since the law was introduced.From the numbers, it looks like there was a brief boost in sales right after the law went into place, and then they pretty much dropped off a cliff. This is similar to the effect we've seen elsewhere as well. There's a brief adjustment period where people may buy a little more briefly, but it fades very, very quickly.
Once again, this shows how ratcheting up enforcement (even to insane levels like criminalizing file sharing) doesn't actually help. Instead, listening to what consumers want, providing better, more open, more consumer friendly solutions does actually get consumers to spend more.