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LSE group counters select committee report on piracy measures

By | Published on Friday 4 October 2013

London School Of Economics

The London School Of Economics’ Media Policy Project has published a new paper disagreeing with that previously reported report from parliament’s Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee that concluded that the “dilution of intellectual property rights” was jeopardising the UK’s successful creative industries.

The select committee called on government to do more to help IP owners to enforce their rights, including speeding up the implementation of the 2010 Digital Economy Act, which included a ‘three-strikes’ system for tackling online piracy. But the LSE report says that, far from speeding up the implementation of the copyright section of the DEA, which would force internet service providers to send warning letters to suspected file-sharers, government should totally review and possibly reform that legislation.

The new report relies heavily on previously published research from the LSE unit regards the state of the music business, which disputes the industry’s claim that it has been economically hit by the rise in online file-sharing and piracy.

This argument is based primarily on the growth in live music revenues during the decade in which recorded music sales have slumped. Of course doing so ignores the divide between the music rights and live industries, and the fact that it’s the former that traditionally invests in new talent, securing its investment on IP and not live income.

And even if labels, as the primary investors, started to dabble in the live space, massive revenues in that domain do not necessarily equate to massive profits, especially in a world where a sizable portion of that revenue goes to a relatively small number of A-list artists.

But even if you don’t accept the LSE group’s arguments with regard to the economic need, or not, to help the music industry protect it’s copyrights – and most labels and publishers would not – the university’s paper then considers the success, or not, of three-strikes systems elsewhere in the world, and especially in France. It says that the way said systems have gone in other countries throws up further doubt regards the potential effectiveness of the anti-piracy measures contained in the DEA.

The paper concludes: “We recommend a review of the DEA copyright enforcement measures in the light of the experience of France and countries that implemented a graduated response approach based on independent analysis of the social, cultural and political impacts of punitive copyright infringement enforcement targeting individuals”.

You can read the LSE report here.