economics  

“IP Industries’ Contribution to Economic Performance and the Public’s Perception Thereof” was the grand title of a session at this year’s Fordham IP Conference that was moderated by Coenraad Visser (University of South Africa, Pretoria). First to speak was Katfriend Paul Maier (Director, The European Observatory on Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights, Alicante), who reviewed two recently-prepared EU studies on the economic importance of IP and consumer perception. Paul took us through the statistics recorded in these studies, warning us that they represented a mere snapshot of how things currently look — they say nothing, in terms of causation, as to whether prosperity, employment or anything else is caused by IP rights or only accompanies their presence or use. The two studies to which Paul made reference, printed copies of which were provided in the black bag packs of all conference registrants, are

Intellectual property rights intensive industries: contribution to economic performance and employment in the European Union (Industry-Level Analysis Report, September 2013: A joint project between the European Patent Office and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market) here

European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behaviour, here

via The IPKat: Fordham Report 2014: IP Industries’ Contribution to Economic Performance and the Public’s Perception Thereof.

So, Did Tim Ferriss’s BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

So, Did Tim Ferriss's BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

The Government of Antigua is planning to launch a website selling movies, music and software, without paying U.S. copyright holders. The Caribbean island is taking the unprecedented step because the United States refuses to lift a trade “blockade” preventing the island from offering Internet gambling services, despite several WTO decisions in Antigua’s favor. The country now hopes to recoup some of the lost income through a WTO approved “warez” site.

Antigua and Barbuda is a small country in the Caribbean that for years had a flourishing gambling industry.

A few years ago 5% of all Antiguans worked at gambling related companies. However, when the U.S. prevented the island from accessing their market the industry collapsed.

“What was once a multi-billion dollar industry in our country, employing almost 5% of our population has now shrunk to virtually nothing,” Antigua’s High Commissioner to London, Carl Roberts, said previously.

Hoping to rebuild the gambling business Antigua filed a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO), which they won.

In 2005 the WTO ruled that the US refusal to let Antiguan gambling companies access their market violated free-trade, as domestic companies were allowed to operate freely. In 2007 the WTO went a step further and granted Antigua the right to suspend U.S. copyrights up to $21 million annually.

TorrentFreak is informed by a source close to Antigua’s Government that the country now plans to capitalize on this option. The authorities want to launch a website selling U.S. media to customers worldwide, without compensating the makers.

The plan has been in the works for several months already and Antigua is ready to proceed once they have informed the WTO about their plan. Initially the island put the topic on the WTO meeting last month, but the U.S. blocked it from being discussed by arguing that the request was “untimely.”

This month Antigua will try again, and if they succeed their media hub is expected to launch soon after.

Antigua’s attorney Mark Mendel told TorrentFreak that he can’t reveal any details on the plans. However, he emphasized that the term “piracy” doesn’t apply here as the WTO has granted Antigua the right to suspend U.S. copyrights.

“There is no body in the world that can stop us from doing this, as we already have approval from the international governing body WTO,” Mendel told us.

TorrentFreak is in the process of obtaining details of the content to be offered and the prices to be charged. One option would be to ask users for $5 a month in return for unlimited access to U.S. media.

As predicted, the suggestion to suspend U.S. copyrights is already meeting resistance from United States authorities.

“If Antigua actually proceeds with a plan for its government to authorize the theft of intellectual property, it would only serve to hurt Antigua’s own interests,” the U.S warned in a letter to the WTO last month.

According to the letter Antigua will ruin their chances of getting a settlement should they approve a site that sels U.S. copyrighted goods without compensating the makers.

“Government-authorized piracy would undermine chances for a settlement that would provide real benefits to Antigua. It also would serve as a major impediment to foreign investment in the Antiguan economy, particularly in high-tech industries,” the U.S. added.

Antigua doesn’t appear to be impressed much by these threats and is continuing with its plan.

If the Antiguan media portal indeed launches, it will make headlines all across the world, which may result in the site becoming one of the larger authorized suppliers of U.S. media on the Internet.

via Antigua Government Set to Launch “Pirate” Website To Punish United States | TorrentFreak.

Excellent study on the Dutch file-sharing scene.

highlights:
About one in five people who download from illegal sources had in the past year bought a CD or LP that they had previously downloaded from an illegal source. The same was found for DVDs, Blurays and for printed books. The opposite – downloading a book from an illegal source that had been previously purchased in print – is also very common. This shows that for a substantial group of
consumers printed books and e-books are complementary.

People who download from an illegal source are more frequently also consumers from legal sources, and they are more likely go to concerts and the cinema and to purchase derived products Respondents who had downloaded music, films, series, games and books from illegal sources in the past year were more likely to use legal channels as well. Only in the case of music purchased on CDs or LPs, however, no difference is observed between those who had on occasion downloaded from an illegal source in the past year and people who had never done so. The differences are particularly marked in the case of paid-for downloading and streaming from a legal source: respondents who have never downloaded from an illegal source are also little inclined to pay for online content. The survey also showed that people who had, on occasion, downloaded from an illegal source in the past year bought more music and film merchandise and went to concerts or the cinema more often.

The survey shows that roughly one third to half of the respondents would not be interested in the latest download from an illegal source if it would not be available for free. The rest have an average maximum willingness to pay that is close to the normal selling price. Similarly, about one third of all book readers are interested in and willing to pay to borrow e-books from a library or bookshop, there being a slight preference for libraries and for a flat rate per year rather than a price per title borrowed.

http://www.ivir.nl/publications/poort/Filesharing_2012.pdf’

Excellent study on the Dutch file-sharing scene.

highlights:
About one in five people who download from illegal sources had in the past year bought a CD or LP that they had previously downloaded from an illegal source. The same was found for DVDs, Blurays and for printed books. The opposite – downloading a book from an illegal source that had been previously purchased in print – is also very common. This shows that for a substantial group of
consumers printed books and e-books are complementary.

People who download from an illegal source are more frequently also consumers from legal sources, and they are more likely go to concerts and the cinema and to purchase derived products Respondents who had downloaded music, films, series, games and books from illegal sources in the past year were more likely to use legal channels as well. Only in the case of music purchased on CDs or LPs, however, no difference is observed between those who had on occasion downloaded from an illegal source in the past year and people who had never done so. The differences are particularly marked in the case of paid-for downloading and streaming from a legal source: respondents who have never downloaded from an illegal source are also little inclined to pay for online content. The survey also showed that people who had, on occasion, downloaded from an illegal source in the past year bought more music and film merchandise and went to concerts or the cinema more often.

The survey shows that roughly one third to half of the respondents would not be interested in the latest download from an illegal source if it would not be available for free. The rest have an average maximum willingness to pay that is close to the normal selling price. Similarly, about one third of all book readers are interested in and willing to pay to borrow e-books from a library or bookshop, there being a slight preference for libraries and for a flat rate per year rather than a price per title borrowed.

http://www.ivir.nl/publications/poort/Filesharing_2012.pdf’

The beauty of P2P and BitTorrent is that it’s a distributed system. Indeed, as far as sites are concerned bandwidth between users (and of course content) are both available for free and running in basic mode requires only a few dollars a month on top to pay for a server. Trading in the big gas guzzler for a something a little more frugal should be a survival option.

Of course, in many cases this could potentially mean file-sharing backing up in sophistication to 2004, to what may as well be the stone age to many of today’s younger enthusiasts. That said, ask anyone who was around at the time if it was so bad. Yes, at times Suprnova required 30 refreshes until a page actually loaded and yes, initial seeders uploaded at a snail’s pace, but the scene was buzzing and people were having fun. And if it’s not about having fun anymore, something has gone wrong along the way.

Maybe a fresh start and a resurgence of some old fashioned non-monetary gain values is what is needed. The money can’t be targeted if there isn’t any.

via Bombing BitTorrent and File-Sharing Websites Back to the Stone Age | TorrentFreak.The beauty of P2P and BitTorrent is that it’s a distributed system. Indeed, as far as sites are concerned bandwidth between users (and of course content) are both available for free and running in basic mode requires only a few dollars a month on top to pay for a server. Trading in the big gas guzzler for a something a little more frugal should be a survival option.

Of course, in many cases this could potentially mean file-sharing backing up in sophistication to 2004, to what may as well be the stone age to many of today’s younger enthusiasts. That said, ask anyone who was around at the time if it was so bad. Yes, at times Suprnova required 30 refreshes until a page actually loaded and yes, initial seeders uploaded at a snail’s pace, but the scene was buzzing and people were having fun. And if it’s not about having fun anymore, something has gone wrong along the way.

Maybe a fresh start and a resurgence of some old fashioned non-monetary gain values is what is needed. The money can’t be targeted if there isn’t any.

via Bombing BitTorrent and File-Sharing Websites Back to the Stone Age | TorrentFreak.

Buffett is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. But he says he has no transformational ideas in mind.

“I do not have any secret sauce,” Buffett told the New York Times. “There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. Two or three years from now, you’ll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.”

via Reflections of a Newsosaur: What’s next for newspapers?.Buffett is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. But he says he has no transformational ideas in mind.

“I do not have any secret sauce,” Buffett told the New York Times. “There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. Two or three years from now, you’ll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.”

via Reflections of a Newsosaur: What’s next for newspapers?.

“Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston’s greatest hits album, ‘Ultimate Collection,’ on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, ‘Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston’s music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL…We should boycott Sony.’”

via Sony Raises Price of Whitney Houston’s Music 30 Minutes After Death – Slashdot.“Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston’s greatest hits album, ‘Ultimate Collection,’ on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, ‘Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston’s music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL…We should boycott Sony.’”

via Sony Raises Price of Whitney Houston’s Music 30 Minutes After Death – Slashdot.

We’ve pointed it out numerous times in the past. Despite the rampant piracy, Hollywood and other entertainment industries continue to break revenue and sales records year after year.

In an excellent report commissioned by the CCIA, Techdirt’s Mike Masnick has has made an excellent overview of how well things go in the various entertainment industry sectors.

The report titled “The Sky is Rising” was presented at the MIDEM music business conference earlier today.

A summary of some of the key findings:

* According to MPAA, box office revenues grew 25 percent from 2006 to 2010 from $25.5 billion to $31.8 billion.

* Data from PricewaterhouseCoopers and iDATE show that from 1998-2010 the value of the worldwide entertainment industry grew from $449 billion to $745 billion.

* From 1999 to 2009 music concert sales in the US tripled from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion

* Consumers’ choices growing as more movies are produced jumping from 5,635 films produced globally in 2005 to 7,193 in 2009.

* BLS data also show entertainment sector employment also grew 20 percent during that last decade and 43 percent for those identified as independent artists.

In addition to statistics, the report also lists many of the case studies that we’ve covered here at TorrentFreak, from Paulo Coelho to Louis CK.

In large part, the report is meant to counter the entertainment industry claims that their businesses have been ruined by piracy, and that the Internet has to be monitored and censored.

via What Piracy? The Entertainment Industry is BOOMING! | TorrentFreak.We’ve pointed it out numerous times in the past. Despite the rampant piracy, Hollywood and other entertainment industries continue to break revenue and sales records year after year.

In an excellent report commissioned by the CCIA, Techdirt’s Mike Masnick has has made an excellent overview of how well things go in the various entertainment industry sectors.

The report titled “The Sky is Rising” was presented at the MIDEM music business conference earlier today.

A summary of some of the key findings:

* According to MPAA, box office revenues grew 25 percent from 2006 to 2010 from $25.5 billion to $31.8 billion.

* Data from PricewaterhouseCoopers and iDATE show that from 1998-2010 the value of the worldwide entertainment industry grew from $449 billion to $745 billion.

* From 1999 to 2009 music concert sales in the US tripled from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion

* Consumers’ choices growing as more movies are produced jumping from 5,635 films produced globally in 2005 to 7,193 in 2009.

* BLS data also show entertainment sector employment also grew 20 percent during that last decade and 43 percent for those identified as independent artists.

In addition to statistics, the report also lists many of the case studies that we’ve covered here at TorrentFreak, from Paulo Coelho to Louis CK.

In large part, the report is meant to counter the entertainment industry claims that their businesses have been ruined by piracy, and that the Internet has to be monitored and censored.

via What Piracy? The Entertainment Industry is BOOMING! | TorrentFreak.

Signing a deal that makes anyone a net profit participant in a Hollywood movie deal has always been a sucker’s bet. In an era where studios have all but eliminated first dollar gross and invited talent to share the risk and potential rewards, guess what? Net profit deals are still a sucker’s bet. I was slipped a net profit statement below for Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the 2007 Warner Bros sequel. Though the film grossed $938.2 million worldwide, the accounting statement below conveys that the film is still over $167 million in the red. Text continues below…harry potter net profits

via STUDIO SHAME! Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money Because Of Warner Bros’ Phony Baloney Net Profit Accounting – Deadline.com.

Q&A: Why money doesn’t motivate file-sharers | Interviews | News | PC Pro

 

Q&A: Why money doesn’t motivate file-sharers

Bank notes

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 8 Dec 2010 at 14:11

Piracy is so difficult to battle because file-sharers are motivated by altruism and not financial gain, according to one academic.

Joe Cox, an economist at the Portsmouth Business School, believes file-sharers who post content online see themselves as the “Robin Hoods of the digital age,” according to a study he’s published in the journal Information Economics and Policy.

Such insight could help drive policy and find ways to prevent illegal downloads, he claims. We spoke to him to find out more.

Q. Why did you decide to look at file-sharing?

A. A lot of the academic effort which has focused on file-sharing has been on lost revenues, to say how much the record industry and the film industry has lost as a result of people illegally downloading content.

 

I was more interested in the behavioural motivations. To me it seems pretty obvious why you might want to illegally download a music track or a film or a video game, but what I was really interested in is the people who make the content available in the first place, because there doesn’t seem to be much to be gained for them, at least not materially. They presumably already bought the material to make it available in the first place.

I called them seeders – it’s a pretty standard term for people who make the material available – distinguishing them from leechers, who just take material from others but don’t give any back. I’ve never seen anything published which looks at those two groups to look at their different motivations.

Q. What was the motivation for seeders?

A. For the leechers, pretty obviously, the major motivation was financial. They wanted to acquire music or films without paying for it because it was cheaper than going out to buy it.

What was interesting was the difference with the seeders, and it was quite apparent that financial motivations were nowhere near as prevelant; it was a kind of altruism.

Their main motivation was that they were seeking notoriety, peer recognition, peer esteem, some sort of feeling of getting one over on the system. It was a much richer tapestry of different things contributing to the decision to go ahead and make the content available.

Q. With that in mind, how should illegal sharing be prevented?

A. The survey data suggested there was a deep-seated belief that this type of activity shouldn’t be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved.

That makes it very hard to deter with advertising to suggest that you’re funding piracy, that you’re a cheap knock-off merchant, because they believe what they’re doing is morally right. And it’s these guys that record labels and movie studios are most interested in getting to. They’re the source.

Q. You’ve said the Digital Economy Act won’t work, so what do you suggest?

A. Technology has developed to such a point now that you can’t turn back the clock and you can’t change the digital revolution – it’s a bit like King Canute trying to halt the advance of the tides.

 

I think there needs to be a more radical rethink in how the arts and the creative industries are funded.

The phenomena of the record label and the movie studio pretty much come into their own in the 20th century and I think they are a 20th century phenomena. Before that opera, ballet, and music were funded on a system of patronage.

I think we need to consider potential funding from the public sector. Coming at this from an economics perspective – I’m an economist – we have a particular type of common good that we look at, called a public good.

 

I would argue that these days music and movies are public goods: you can’t really exclude people from using them

The characteristics of this are you can’t exclude people from enjoying the benefits of it if they don’t pay for it, and if any one person consumes the good it doesn’t affect anyone else’s ability to consume it too. Classic examples are things like street lighting or national defence.

I would argue that these days music and movies are public goods. You can’t really exclude people from using them. The internet is giving them the availability to share this material at will and it’s virtually impossible to stop that. And with the digital nature of material, you can make perfect reproductions and share it to others.

What economists say will happen if you have a public good and look to the free market, the market won’t provide any output because everyone will just look to free-ride, and not pay themselves. But if no-one pays the good doesn’t get produced.

Q. And public funding is the way to get around that?

A. With street lighting or national defence, these are things that government funds through taxation. It would probably be a bit radical to say the government should fund the creative industries through taxation, but there are creative ways knocking around at the moment.

For example, you could try introducing non-commercial use levies on iPods or DVD players. It’s a lump sum you would pay over and above the purchase price when you buy the device, with the understand that you’re going to use it to access digital content.

If that money was collected into a pot, it could be distributed to record labels and movie studios to give proper compensation to rights owners. And then there could be a relaxation on how people access the material. You could keep track of downloads to make sure the most popular artists get the most money.

 

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