Just as a whole bunch of folks have been sued in one of these mass copyright infringement shakedown lawsuits over sharing of Funimation anime, it seems worth pointing out that a new Japanese government study on the impact of unauthorized file sharing of anime has concluded that unauthorized copies of anime often appear to increase DVD sales. The study looked at both videos showing up on YouTube as well as those that appeared on Winny, the super popular file sharing platform in Japan. The study found a very strong impact from YouTube -- even saying that it appears many people learn about potential anime DVDs by watching the videos on YouTube first. With Winny, the impact wasn't as strong, and could decrease rental income, but did not decrease DVD sales. Of course, the study only looks at the correlation of videos appearing online and sales, rather than proving any causal link, so it's possible that other variables are involved. At the very least, though, this study (which is similar to other studies we've seen) certainly suggests that having the video widely available doesn't kill off sales, as many industry folks insist.
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