Piracy may not affect revenues, says new report

<p>A new report has questioned whether piracy adversely affects revenue, and whether copyright remains a justifiable system of protectionism.</p><p>The report, released yesterday (Monday 7th June), was commissioned by the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP). Although it did not not specifically consider books, the report argued that what data was available--from the music industry--was &quot;insufficient in order to make a case for copyright&quot;.</p><p>Report author and academic Christian Handke said: &quot;Even the most fundamental questions (for example, the effects of unathorised digital copying) have not yet been documented exhaustively. Those issues that have attracted considerable attention - e.g. the effect of file sharing on record industry revenues - remain contentious and further research seems desirable.&quot;</p><p>Handke added: &quot;It makes most sense to discuss the details of a copyright system if there is a well-supported case for copyright to begin with. According to economic literature, it is not entirely certain that unauthorised use is welfare decreasing, or that an adequate copyright system would solve the problem without excessive unintended consequences.&quot;</p><p>His findings echo those of Brian O&#39;Leary of publishing consultancy Magellan Media, who at the <a href="../news/99958-toc-piracy-may-boost-sales-research-suggests.html" target="_blank">Tools of Change seminar held at last year&#39;s Frankfurt Book Fair, revealed research that suggested peer-to-peer filesharing could boost sales weeks into the book&#39;s life.</a></p><p>Handke recommended that future research focus on how the supply of intellectual property is affected by breaches of copyright - both in terms of how it affects the end user and originator of the content - and how technology is changing the industries, as well as how copyright affects technological change.</p><p>SABIP is an independent public body, with the Intellectual Property Office as its sponsoring agency. Its aim is to provide strategic, independent and evidence-based advice to the UK government on intellectual property policy, covering all types of intellectual property rights.</p>