The London School of Economics has released a new study on the impact of digital music sharing, with three main conclusions:
1) Creative industry revenues are NOT on an overall decline due to the industry’s lack of adaptability.
2) An “Inclusive Collaborative Digital Culture” has emerged and is here to stay.
3) Implementing punitive measures against individual copyright infringers does not produce the significant impact that the industry claims it does.
The study took a closer look at the Digital Economy Act (DEA) of 2010 and specifically its measures for copyright enforcement. It also took a closer looker at how a more fluid digital culture is affecting media industries.
And one of the biggest findings was that newer formats and models are regenerating businesses, instead of degenerating them: “The data on changing sources of revenue show that new business models such as streaming and subscriptions are growth areas.
“They are bringing in increased income for the industry.”
This accounts for not only the music industry but also the publishing, film and gaming industries, as well. And if gaming can adapt, why can’t music?
“The gaming industry has been generating new income streams very successfully by developing combinations of free advertising models, in-apps buying and micro-pricing.”
The digital age has also brought with it a collaborative culture – and studies have repeatedly shown that neither financial compensation nor exclusive ownership of intellectual works are the primary motivators for crowd-sourced and crowd-funded creative projects, for example.
Instead, as can be seen in the case of the rise of Creative Commons (CC) licenses (growing from 50 million in 2006 to over 450 million in 2011, “the digital world is thriving on ubiquitous digital content sharing.”
Perhaps most importantly, the report directly challenges DEA attempts to block infringing sites, while penalizing individuals identified as copyright infringers. LSE argues that there is absolutely no evidence that the 23 percent to 25 percent increase in iTunes sales after the French HADOPI’s implementation was a direct result of the HADOPI law.
Citing the Judicial Review of the DEA in 2011, the the LSE quotes the judge’s decision:
“I accept that the chilling effect is now a well-documented phenomenon, and I acknowledge that the concerns of the interveners are genuine and that there is in the present context a risk of some chilling effect. The difficulty again is to assess, at this stage, the likely magnitude of such an effect.”
In summary, LSE’s brief on “Copyright and Creation” suggests that although “the music industry may be stagnating…
“the drastic decline in revenues warned of by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence” and that “targeting individual internet users is not likely to reverse the trend toward an online sharing culture…”
Read the full brief here: