Study: Hadopi Has Been Great For Big Artists And Labels, Bad For The Spread Of Culture And Smaller Or New Artists

from the promoting-the-progress dept

Hadopi, the French law built to punish copyright infringers in graduated steps, was always controversial. In addition to many in the public scoffing at the punishment ramp the law put on the public, the actual effects of the law have been murky at best. While Hadopi basically ceased to be in 2016, it is true that the French public has been trending towards less piracy and more legal practices in its wake. Always at question is exactly how direct a relationship that kind of trend has with laws like Hadopi. Studies have straddled both answers to that question, even as we all realize the truth, which is that the impact of laws like Hadopi is nuanced.

Fortunately, the latest study looking back at when Hadopi was first introduced has a nicely nuanced output. The academic study by Ruben Savelkoul compared digital music sales across several European countries looking to answer two questions. First, did Hadopi actually correlate to increased digital music sales through its threat of enforcement? Second, how were those effects spread across the music industry landscape and how long-lasting were they?

The answers are quite fascinating. As to the first question:

One of the main findings is that Hadopi had a positive effect on the sales of digital music tracks in France compared to the two control countries. This effect was the strongest for popular artists. In addition, the findings suggest that the effect of Hadopi on sales decreased over time, except for bigger artists.

“The introduction of the Hadopi anti-piracy law in France had a positive effect on sales for all artists, superstars as well as artists lower in the sales distribution,” Savelkoul writes. “The effect is stronger for superstars, suggesting that smaller or niche artists gain exposure from illegal downloading, partly offsetting the negative substitution effect on sales,” he adds.

So, did Hadopi result in increased digital music sales? This study says "yes." However, the bulk beneficiaries of those increased sales were already massively popular artists. For the lesser known, or as of yet mostly undiscovered artists, the effect was low enough to have us question whether allowing for more piracy and discovery would have been even better. This gets to the heart of the modern copyright era. The entire point of copyright writ large is to promote more artistic creation and culture through limited monopolies on creations. The point of copyright is absolutely not to create a music industry monoculture where only a few artists get noticed and survive. Yet this study seems to show that's what Hadopi did.

And how the culture creation cross-genre shook out after Hadopi tells an even worse story.

This leads to the second hypothesis tested by Savelkoul. Did the anti-piracy measures lead to a reduction in variation when it comes to music consumption? This indeed turned out to be the case.

“We found that in the absence of piracy, consumers tend to concentrate more on genre and style,” Savelkoul writes.

The researcher suggests that piracy makes it easier to discover newer music. As a result, people consume more different types of music. Stricter anti-piracy measures limit this effect and as a result music fans buy more ‘popular’ music.

“In absence of the possibility to sample ‘adventurous’ music, consumers might not be willing to pay and purchase these music items to discover its quality and instead opt for ‘safer’ purchases, thus consuming less variety,” Savelkoul notes.

So, again, we find that the anti-piracy measures story is far more nuanced than some would like you to believe. The question is not: do you want artists to make money from their creations or not? Instead, the question appears to be: which do you care about more, famous artists being able to strictly control access to their content, or the larger spread of culture? Because if you answer the latter, it seems clear that anti-piracy measures like Hadopi work counter to that goal.

Anyone that cares about art should understand that new, inventive, and foreign art adoption by consumers is absolutely preferred, full stop. The spread of art and culture is, in many respects, art's entire point. None of this is to say that we cannot have some form of copyright protection and enforcement that doesn't limit cultural spread, of course, but it is certainly to say that any anti-piracy measure that has the sort of effects that Hadopi had should be a complete nonstarter in the future.

Filed Under: artists, copyright, culture, france, hadopi, piracy


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Dec 2019 @ 8:07pm

    The spread of art and culture is, in many respects, art's entire point.

    “Th’fuck is this nonsense? The point of art is to make money — specifically, to make me money.” — some asshole record label executive, probably

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2019 @ 10:02pm

    Fifty percent of female rape victims experience orgasm.

    This is the copyright equivalent of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2019 @ 10:07pm

      Re:

      Orgasms are not consent, not that you'd know anything about either orgasms or consent,

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 12:01am

        Re: Re:

        Orgasms are not consent (lame sexual taunt omitted)

        Neither is piracy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 8:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, a decade in the works and only one case reached the third strike, of which it wasn't even targeting the actual perpetrator... taxpayer money well spent, innit? Small wonder the yellow vests are out in force.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 22 Dec 2019 @ 10:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I’m afraid I don’t see the connection here.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Dec 2019 @ 10:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I’m afraid I don’t see the connection here."

            The connection is simple. Baghdad Bob feels he must prove the sanctity of copyright and so decides to link it to rape, believing not only that there is a correlation but that in the end it's generally beneficial.

            I wish I could say that's the worst implication I've ever seen him make.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2019 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      What a terrible statistic. You should be chained up away from your computer and cell phone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 12:57pm

      Re:

      What about the male ones bro? Since raping guys seems to be your primary interest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2019 @ 10:03pm

    MANICK just can't help himself but let these articles dominate his site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Dec 2019 @ 6:41am

      Re:

      Truthful articles about how the recording industry uses fear of piracy to enrich itself at the expense of independent artists? Well, yeah, if they keep doing that then those stories will keep appearing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 7:24am

        Re: Re:

        Truthful articles about how the recording industry uses fear of piracy to enrich itself at the expense of independent artists? Well, yeah, if they keep doing that then those stories will keep appearing.

        The recording industry powerhouses get talent through their DISTRIBUTION network. A signed artist immediately has an audience of millions. Taylor Swift's home just sold for $28 million. A few patreon supporters won't match that, nor will they advance the costs of producing an album. None of the above justifies theft anyway.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 5:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And somehow they still get to tell the artists who they choose to represent that albums don't turn a profit, yet give Mitch Bainwol increasing bonuses year on year in fucking protection money.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 6:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Holding up one of the musicians who have made it big via the labels, is holding up a lottery winner. Their financial achievement have no relevance to how the vast majority of musicians support their music. Relying on the labels as a musician is more likely to lead to the poor house or no career, while building up a fan base and support via patronage can more easily result in a living income.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 8:30am

      Re:

      How's that fantasy over Masnick's kids coming along, Herrick?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 22 Dec 2019 @ 11:01am

      Re:

      1. This wasn’t written by Mike Masnick.

      2. You can’t even be bothered to spell his name right.

      3. So what?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Max, 21 Dec 2019 @ 5:05am

    No.

    I reject the apparently default assumption that Hadopi led to decreased piracy in the absence of meaningful comparison with a few other places that had absolutely nothing like Hadopi going on (and may or may not have also seen decreased piracy in a comparable timeframe due to... who knows... zeitgeist? Emergence of viable alternatives? Folks getting older?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 21 Dec 2019 @ 5:18am

    If copyright laws were actually based on sanity instead of greed, then any music worth listening to would already have reached public domain status by now. (The recording industry hasn't been about "music" for more than a decade [or two] now.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 3:54pm

      Re:

      What did you think modern copyright is for??? Modern copyright, much like most other heavily lobbied forms of legislation, is all about ensuring those at the top keep making money hand over fist while keeping and gaining as much power as possible. Thinking anything else is a logical failure from the get-go because it ignores every piece of evidence we've been given over the last few decades.

      How many times have we heard of pharma companies pushing out "new" drugs for nothing more than the patent on the old one is expiring? Or that prices are being raised because the customer's alternative is litteral death? How many times has a company like John Deere or Apple decided that your ability to maintain your equipment is irrelevant if they can squeeze more money out of you by banning said ability? How many times a day do you think you're forced to give up your privacy just to use essential services so companies can make money whoring you out to their co-conspirtors? How many times have we the public lost services because they got the government's assistance to kill the alternatives? How many times has a company blamed it's lack of profits on consumer choice, review, and information sharing instead of their own poor product design? How many times has a company abused the law to silence their critics or opinions they didn't "authorize"? The list goes on....

      The public really needs to get over this assumption of corporate goodwill or well meaning by default. They have proven time and time again that as long as it makes or saves them money they will do it regardless of any other additional outcome even if it means cannibalizing portions of themselves or their industry as a whole. They do not deserve the presumion of good nature that they are being given.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2019 @ 7:02am

    Most of the money in the music industry is made by the top 1 per cent and the record company,s
    taylor swift,adele,beyonce, etc
    young people with limited income can watch youtube, or use a free streaming service .
    A large part of music revenue comes from streaming service,s ,
    record companys get paid by spotify, apple music for streaming the same
    music.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 21 Dec 2019 @ 8:50am

    Re: Watch NBA Online Free

    And yet that bot-generated word salad above is still more coherent than Bobbyjhon Blue here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NoLongerBreathedIn, 21 Dec 2019 @ 11:21am

    Should have been called HaDopim (Heb. ‘the dopes’)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 22 Dec 2019 @ 1:07am

    In short:

    Good for thieves, bad for creators - just like any other copyright maximalist scheme.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Dec 2019 @ 10:52pm

    So to summarize Hadopi it cost an incredible amount of taxpayer money and only succeeded in frightening to much of the french public to stop looking for good art in favor of blindly following the overhyped mass-produced mush churned out by the major labels?

    Sounds about right for a copyright scheme.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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