Is There Any Value In Cracking Down On 'Piracy' If It Doesn't Increase Sales?
from the just-saying... dept
Now, we've been pointing out for years that spending so much time and resources on reducing infringement is pretty pointless if it doesn't lead to an increase in revenue. And it appears that such a revenue increase isn't magically appearing (just as we predicted). Now, of course, there was that report that was trumpeted by Hadopi supporters claiming that there was an increase in iTunes sales, but the details showed that was correlated to new releases in Apple products (and Christmas) more than three strikes. And this new report actually shows just how little the iTunes boost really was. It has a chart showing different music services and how their usage has changed in France during Hadopi's existence:
For more than a decade the entertainment industry has claimed that digital piracy is the main cause for the gradual decline in revenues. So if piracy is down massively in France, one would expect that the revenues are soaring, right? But they’re not.
If we look at the French music industry we see that overall revenues were down by 3.9 percent in 2011.
Likewise, the French movie industry is still going through a rough period with revenues dropping 2.7 percent in 2011. Ironically, an industry insider even blamed online piracy for this drop.
To sum it up. in 2011 online piracy was slashed in half according to the Hadopi report, but despite this unprecedented decline the movie and music industries managed to generate less revenue than in 2010. If we follow the logic employed by the anti-piracy lobby during the past decade, this means that piracy is actually boosting sales.
It just comes back to that same important question: which is more important? Reducing infringement or increasing revenue? The industry has acted for years as if the former is the most important (and when we ask this question, they insist that the former would lead to the latter). Yet, now the evidence doesn't appear to support that. If anything, Hadopi's report, while patting itself on the back for reducing infringement, really highlights just how useless Hadopi has been and what a waste it's been for both French taxpayers and the French entertainment industry that has supported it so strongly.