Blog Post

Three-strikes laws don’t stop piracy, researchers say

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Gradual copyright enforcement legislation, also known as three-strikes laws, don’t curb piracy: That’s the result of a new study that looked at the effectiveness of France’s anti-piracy legislation, which fines and disconnects users after repeat warnings. Researchers found, according to Torrentfreak, that this simply results in users getting smarter about piracy, shifting from monitored file sharing networks to other sources for unlicensed downloads.

5 Responses to “Three-strikes laws don’t stop piracy, researchers say”

  1. Angus Swan

    Reporting on the publication of the report is legitimate: it’s a piece of academic research. No one is going to get anywhere if people reflexively discount research or viewpoints before they have even been considered.

    The summary of the report to me appears to be a relatively uncontentious finding: that the deterrent effect of ‘3 strikes’ laws is reduced/negated in the case of those who have the technical knowledge to circument the monitoring process.

    Adherence to laws is a combination of deterrent effect based on the perceived likelihood of being caught, the potential extent of the penalty if caught and a more amorphous quality in terms of social acceptibility of breaking the law.

    Where individuals have strong knowledge of how to circumvent the monitoring, the fear of being caught is much lowered.

    Which might suggest pirate activity is concentrated in a smaller tech-savvy demographic.

  2. Will Buckley

    Using a biased pro-piracy source for stories does not bode well for credibility, and as pointed out in earlier comments, the Internet is rife with contradictory research.

    Every year a group in England puts out basically the same report on how piracy actually “increases” the sale of film and music.

  3. Before just slurping up whatever Torrentfreak is offering, how about actually reading the study? It’s fully theoretical and has almost no basis in data or actual Hadopi metrics.

    They bury this nugget on p 19: “The limited scope of Hadopi monitoring
    and the low number of warnings issued at the time our survey was administered
    make it impossible to estimate the direct impact of warnings or criminal prosecution
    under the law on piracy behavior.”

    And they dismiss the sales increases by inappropriately breaking apart the law with knowledge of the law: “For example, Danaher et al. (2014) analyze the impact of the Hadopi law on French music sales through iTunes. They found that the publicity surrounding the Hadopi law caused a 20-25% increase in French music sales relative to control countries prior to implementation of the law. Our results suggest that the increase in French iTunes sales cannot be attributed to a direct deterrent effect from the law. Rather, the increased sales are likely to have been caused by public educational efforts that coincided with the introduction of the Hadopi law.”

    Finally, they suggest that lowering prices is a probably bad idea: “A further implication of the theoretical model is that efforts to reduce the cost of obtaining content through legal channels (by making legal distribution channels like iTunes more user-friendly or by simply reducing the price of legal downloads) also will increase the intensity of illegal content acquisition by individuals who choose to pirate.”

    The kneejerk anti-anti-piracy interpretation is fine for Torrentfreak, but Gigaom’s readers deserve more, don’t you think?

    • Even the Torrentfreak readers deserve better. But this is probably one of those astroturfing schemes funded by Big Search or Big Piracy. They’re starting to put money into funding these lies.

      The model sounds completely bogus and tilted to me. If making iTunes easier to use will also lead to boost the “intensity of illegal content acquisition”, than what’s the point?

      Anyone can game the system by making up models that purport to prove whatever they want.