New Study Shows Legal Music Services — Not Fear Of Harsh Copyright Laws — Reduce Illegal File Sharing

from the how-many-times-do-we-need-to-say-it? dept

The copyright industries seem to have only one tool in their tool box for addressing unauthorized file sharing: a legal hammer. But no matter how harsh the measure, the file sharing goes on, and so the maximalists call for even more disproportionate laws, which will doubtless be ignored in their turn. This is particularly frustrating, because we already know how to stop people downloading stuff: just offer good services at fair prices. When you do so, illegal file sharing drops dramatically, as Techdirt has noted time and again. Here’s yet more research confirming that fact, from a group at Lund University in Sweden:

Survey responses from around 4,000 individuals suggest that the number of active file-sharers has dropped in the past two years. Those who share files daily or almost daily has decreased from 32.8 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2014.

According to the head of the research group, this is why the numbers are dropping, as reported by TorrentFreak:

“If you listen to what young people themselves are saying, it is new and better legal services that have caused the decrease in file-sharing, rather than respect for the law. There has been a trend where alternative legal solutions such as Spotify and Netflix are changing consumption patterns among young people.”

Particularly striking is the following statistic:

Interestingly, in that same four-year period, the percentage of young people who said they believe that people should not share files because it is illegal dropped from 24 percent to 16.9 percent. So, even while young people are sharing files less often, their acceptance of the standards presented by the law appears to be dropping too.

In other words, we need not only more good-quality services, but also copyright reform to bring the law into line with today’s views.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “New Study Shows Legal Music Services — Not Fear Of Harsh Copyright Laws — Reduce Illegal File Sharing”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s funny that as the record industry in recent years has routinely pointed to the existence of paid download services in its arguments against file-sharing, we shouldn’t forget that for the first decade of the internet’s existence, there was basically no legal download option available. If you wanted to listen to a song, you had to buy the whole album on CD, cassette, or LP. (And if the record labels had their way, that would still be the only option today.) We have to thank “piracy” for forcing their hand and giving us the full range of (authorized) digital download services that exist today.

Had the record industry granted iTunes and Spotify permission to operate a decade earlier, there’s no question that Napster, Kazaa, and Limewire would never have been born.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That is the main issue.

The economic viability of selling on the internet at that time was very questionable. Ironically it hasn’t improved much today since the “all you can eat”-model was the main enemy at the time! The cost of music online is artificially set since the advertisement costs are impossible to pinpoint geographically.

Then again: The cost of a CD is a historical artifact with the building of a long chain of more or less low-value links soaking up the increased profit as the CDs physical production costs went down to almost nothing.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I only illegally download the rare track or two that I can’t find on Spotify because it is too obscure or too new.”

I’d add a third category – because the label is too backward to licencing it there.

Now, I don’t pirate but if I want to listen to, say, Tool or AC/DC, that’s not an option available to me on Spotify due to their licencing. Some of those albums are both famous and decades old.

The labels’ fantasy is that this will make me go out and buy a copy. In reality, I already own the albums, so if I’m out and about and I don’t have that album synced to my iPhone, it just means they don’t get the revenue from my plays. That revenue goes to their competitors.

While it’s never going to make anyone rich, they’re turning down a revenue stream because they believe in a fantasy.

Anonymous Coward says:

but if the industries were to supply good, legal services at realistic prices and people then used them instead of the alternatives, there would be almost no one for the industries to sue, get convicted, fined massive amounts, have their lives ruined and probably get jailed or, if the pressure of such a miniscule act was too much for the accused to bear, suicide was implemented! there is no way there will be any admission of this working simply because the industries dont want it to work. to then have to admit that everything they have done, the laws they have had upgraded and the new ones implemented, the bribes they have thrown around and the back-scratching that has been done by governments and industry representatives, was a waste would give them heart attacks (we live in hope!) for governments and legal officials to have to then back track on the laws they have put in place to have to admit that all the industry surveys were loaded and the independent ones were true would break hearts. if they then had to admit that those jailed were done so because of false evidence, well!!

That One Guy (profile) says:

I’ve noted before, but if ‘reducing file-sharing’ was really their goal, they would have done it years back, and would have been reaping the rewards from it since then.

It’s not, and never has been, the goal though.

‘Stopping piracy’ has always been a boogieman, the scare-tactic and excuse they pull out to get laws passed and changed in their favor, all aimed at their actual goal, that of stomping out any potential competition and maintaining their power over the customer and artists.

If the artists can only be successful by signing over the rights to their creations, if fans can only purchase music, or movies, or other forms of entertainment from them, then it follows that they hold all the cards. They can dictate the terms, and control the entire process, from creation to ‘sale’.

Control, and the power and profits it brings, is and always will be their true goal, so in the end it doesn’t matter how many times studies come out showing how they could decimate piracy by simply offering their wares on reasonable platforms, for reasonable rates, and without dozens of strings attached, because when you get down to it, they do not want to stop piracy.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, that’s a nicely misleading infographics, completely unsourced and not saying what you think it does. I also wonder if it takes into account the use of VPNs and other services that people use to avoid regional blocks on legitimate services (i.e. it’s possible that many of the people listed as being in the US are actually resident in a country with no legal options). Plus, define “P2P” – are we talking about downloads of P2P streaming services as well? How are the users collated and tracked?

Not to mention that the number of legal services is irrelevant – if a band or studio outright refuses to licence content and leave no legal download option, people still can’t download legally.

Erm, thanks, I guess?

RD says:

X-Files Bluray

So for the detractors who chime in here about “thieves!!” I would like to ask a simple question:

WHY can’t I buy or get the X-Files series in HD? And please don’t give me any shit about “they didn’t make it in HD” because HD copies do, in fact, exist. But you can’t buy them anywhere or obtain them in any legal manner. (Likewise dont give me any shit about streaming. That is not OWNING.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Australia

I am not afraid to admit that I pirated all four seasons of Game of Thrones. However, I also own the complete first three seasons on Blu-ray, and I would likely not have done so had the piracy option not shown me that GoT was a show worth supporting as soon as I was allowed to.

There, cards on the table. Someone please tell me that what I did was wrong and I should be locked up for the rest of my life because, if anything, stamping out piracy would have LOST them a sale, and piracy itself MADE a sale.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Australia

Aha though, you’ve only bought three seasons, compared to the four you downloaded, so the three purchases are meaningless, you’re still a dirty pirate!

Also, everyone knows that everyone has endless disposable income to spend on entertainment, and that people are quite willing to drop ridiculous amounts on DVD/Blu-Ray sets of tv series/movies/music that they’ve never watched/heard before, so piracy obviously had nothing to do with your purchase, since clearly you would have purchased the seasons even had if you’d had no idea of the quality or lack thereof of the show!

(Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find some aspirin, the concussion I had to give myself to think like a tv/music exec is really starting to smart.)

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