P. 1
MPEE 1.0.1

MPEE 1.0.1


|Views: 14,409|Likes:
Published by AmericanAssembly
Media Piracy in Emerging Economies
Media Piracy in Emerging Economies

More info:

Published by: AmericanAssembly on Mar 07, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less






We see considerable evidence that raid-based enforcement can suppress the more organized

forms of optical disc piracy at the retail level. Established stores are vulnerable to raids, and

raids are now a regular feature of street life in most high-piracy countries. The result, however,

is not the disappearance of the optical disc trade but its deformalization: its reduction to more
mobile street vending with less stock, more transient labor practices, and—consequently—
greater resilience to police pressure.
The deformalization of piracy is a common thread in our account and arguably the main
achievement of enforcement efforts in developing countries. We see no evidence, however,

that these efforts have signifcantly reduced the overall supply of pirated goods—and indeed

quite a bit of evidence to the contrary. Optical disc prices have plummeted in most countries,
indicating expanded supply and—often—sharper competition in the pirate marketplace.

Increasingly, this competition comes from the growth in fle sharing and other forms of non-

commercial Internet distribution. Pirates, too, must now compete with free. But the underlying
story is broader and involves the spread of cheap hardware throughout the media ecosystem,

fueling the small-scale, local production of optical discs.
What about online? Lawsuits and injunctions against online intermediaries have become
common in the past decade, directed against both non-commercial P2P sites and illicit or
under-licensed commercial download sites like the Russian AllofMP3, which sold music at
the unusual price of $0.01 per megabyte until its closure in 2008. Despite occasional friction
between trading partners, TRIPS-era IP law is well suited to dealing with the latter category
of commercial pirates, which generally involves direct, large-scale infringement and clear
fnancial gain—both triggers for criminal prosecution under the TRIPS standard. But

commercial websites of this kind have played a very small role in the growth of online copy
culture. The current environment is built around an array of intermediary services, including

P2P services, fle locker sites, streaming services, social networking sites, and search engines.
These have been more diffcult to target, in part because the nature of their liability is harder

to establish. Sites using BitTorrent—currently the dominant P2P protocol—are little more

than specialized search engines that overlap the functionality of larger, general-purpose search

sites like Google. Like Google, they can point to infringing content, but they neither host it nor

directly participate in fle exchanges. “Cyberlocker” sites like RapidShare or Megaupload are

little more than online storage providers.



Since the Napster era in 1999–2000, rights-holder groups have fled suit against dozens

of P2P sites and have generally succeeded in shutting them down.24

Jurisprudence clarifying
the secondary liability of site owners and administrators has been a different story, however,
with some countries (such as the United States) developing relatively encompassing standards
of contributory infringement,25

while others (such as the United Kingdom and Germany)

maintain more traditional requirements of proof of commercial gain.
Despite the stream of lawsuits and site closures, we see no evidence—and indeed very few
claims—that these efforts have had any measurable impact on online piracy.26

The costs and
technical requirements of running a torrent tracker or indexing site are modest, and new sites
have quickly emerged to replace old ones. P2P continues to account for a high percentage of

total bandwidth utilization in most parts of the world, and infringing fles represent, by most
accounts, a very high percentage of P2P content (Felton 2010; IFPI 2006). ISP-traffc-monitoring
frm ipoque put P2P use in 2009 at roughly 70% of total bandwidth in Eastern Europe, 60%

in South America, and slightly lower percentages in northern and southern Europe (Schulze
and Mochalski 2009).27

US rates are generally estimated at 25%–30%, refecting not so much

lower utilization of P2P as higher utilization of streaming video services such as YouTube and
Hulu. Rates of use of cyberlocker sites like RapidShare have grown rapidly, leading to pressure

on those companies to monitor fle uploads and sign deals with content providers. The IFPI,

for its part, claims that some forty billion songs were shared on P2P networks in 2008, up from

twenty billion in 2006, and that legal downloads represent only 5% of the total circulation of

digital music (IFPI 2009).28


Major BitTorrent site closures due to industry pressure include SuprNova (Slovenia, 2004), Finreactor

(Finland, 2004), LokiTorrent (US, 2004), Grokster (US, 2005), EliteTorrents (US, 2005), TorrentSpy

(US, 2006), OiNK (UK, 2007), The Pirate Bay (Sweden, 2009), and Mininova (Netherlands, 2009).
Civil damages against site administrators have been common in these cases.


Principally as a result of MGM v. Grokster (2005), which introduced the concept of “inducement” to

infringement as a basis for liability. Although the case fell short of setting a clear standard, it did

establish a precedent for fnding P2P services liable for secondary infringement.


The effects of the roughly 27,000 RIAA lawsuits brought against P2P users between 2003 and 2008
are occasionally debated in this context. The evidence for a deterrent effect on P2P use in the RIAA

case is limited to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey conducted in the wake of the frst
RIAA announcement. This survey showed a 50% drop in the percentage of users acknowledging use
of P2P services, from 29% to 14%. By the time of Pew’s 2005 survey, this number had reverted to

24% and Pew was drawing attention to the importance of other emerging digital distribution channels

(Madden and Rainie 2005). For more analysis of the impact of the suits, see EFF (2008).


Ipoque relies on small sample sizes, and there is very little wider agreement about these estimates. ISPs

rarely provide public data about traffc—either type or volume. Defnitions of a “unit” of fle sharing

vary, and accurate measurement requires intrusive content monitoring. Ipoque’s study is based on a
handful of ISPs with which it has agreements. The IFPI, nonetheless, uses the ipoque study to claim

that up to 80% of all Internet traffc is P2P (IFPI 2009)—a number found nowhere in the study itself.
Cisco Systems put the fgure at 55% in 2008 (2009). Zhang (2008) compared some sixty-eight studies

and concludes that there is no basis for a reliable estimate.


As usual, the provenance of these numbers is unclear. The IFPI indicates that they are compiled from
sixteen other unnamed studies.





Internet service providers have long been viewed as the logical choke points for monitoring,
blocking, and punishing infringing behavior, and the next generation of enforcement activism
focuses on exploiting the contractual links between individuals and ISPs. All the major industry
groups support stronger ISP liability for infringing activity on their networks. All support
either a direct ISP role in monitoring and enforcing copyright or an indirect role in forwarding

industry warnings, leading to eventual cutoff of service. These are the so-called graduated-
response, or three-strikes, laws, several of which are coming into effect in 2011.29
Three-strikes laws face a variety of legal and practical challenges—among them, the
household-level organization of most consumer Internet service, which makes it diffcult to

identify and impossible to isolate individuals behind IP addresses. Collective punishment of
families for the acts of individual members will be an inevitable (and legally very controversial)
outcome. High courts in Spain, Finland, and France, for example, have declared Internet

access a fundamental right, refecting its growing role in social, cultural, and economic life. A
2010 BBC survey in twenty-six countries found that 79% of respondents shared this view. US

law has not yet characterized access in these terms, but it is clearly the direction signaled by the
FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in its recent National Broadband Plan.

Over the longer term, stronger consumer-directed enforcement is certain to produce an arms

race between encrypted, anonymized services and industry detection techniques. Although the
industry currently presents graduated response as an effective response to consumer piracy, it is
far from clear that it will prove legally or politically viable, or do more than shift users to other
forms of distribution. As recent MPAA and RIAA comments on enforcement submitted to the

US government make clear, however, three-strikes is not the end of the digital enforcement
fght but the beginning. The next steps down the path include preemptive content-fltering by
ISPs, the inclusion of home-based monitoring software in ISP contracts, and the amendment

of customs forms “to require the disclosure of pirate or counterfeit items being brought into

the United States” (AFTRA et al. 2010). For the average 14- to 24-year-old with over eight

hundred pirated songs in his or her collection in 2008 (Bahanovich and Collopy 2009), this
would represent a serious dilemma.


Notably in France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Korea, and Japan. France started issuing
warnings to alleged infringers in late 2010.



You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->