Spanish Judge Gets It: Pirated Copies Not Necessarily Lost Sales, May Boost Purchases Later
from the the-tide-is-turning dept
One of the favorite assumptions of industries based around copyright used to be that every pirated copy is a lost sale. More recently, that rhetoric has been moderated somewhat, as a review of the area in the report “Media Piracy in Emerging Countries” shows, but a variation of that fallacy lives on, expressed now as vague “losses” caused by piracy.
Against that background it’s heartening to hear a Spanish judge dismissing the idea that pirated copies are necessarily lost sales, and suggesting that they can act as a kind of marketing that promotes later purchases (original post in Spanish):
it is not possible to determine the damage and corresponding compensation due to loss of benefits to the rightsholder, for the simple reason that customers of pirated copies of music and movies, when making the purchase of pirated copies, externalize their decision not to be customers of music and movies as originals, so there is no profit that could have been gained. In other words, those customers either buy a pirated copy at a low price or they don’t buy an original at a price between 15 and 20 Euros.
In any case, reversing the legal argument, it is conceivable that a customer, after hearing or viewing the pirated copy, may decide to purchase the original, finding it to their taste, so that the sale of pirated copies, far from harming, benefits the market for original items.
It’s only one judge, and in a not very important case, but it’s another welcome sign that an increasingly broad swathe of people have realised that the simplistic economic analyses of piracy offered by the copyright industries just don’t stand up to scrutiny.