Let’s return to the arcane but, for IP debates, important subject of substitution studies, which try to clarify the extent to which piracy substitutes for or displaces legal sales. We’ve argued that the media ecology has become so complicated that nobody has a handle on what substitutes for what. Does a pirated MP3 file substitute for a $1 purchased file, a $12 CD, some number of listens on YouTube or Spotify or radio? Does Spotify substitute for MP3 purchases? Or YouTube listens? Should we take stagnant discretionary income into account, and rising costs for other media services, like cable TV, Internet access, and data plans. Do national differences matter–including major differences in digital markets and services (In Germany, CD sales represent over 80% of the market; in the UK and US, under 50%). What about differences in law (in much of Europe, private copying is legal)? Which of these factors get priority? How do we model their interaction? Continue reading “Die, Substitution Studies, Die II: Well, OK, Maybe Some Should Live”
(this is now Part Un, Part Deux is here)
So a lot is going on in the EU on the intellectual property front these days! Let’s run down the past six weeks or so.
Our last post was about the release of the Hargreaves Review, the UK government funded study of IP policy in the digital economy that called out a lot of bad industry research, made some good recommendations for reform, and punted on enforcement. This followed on the heels of a British court ruling against a group of local ISPs, who were challenging the Digital Economy Act on the grounds that it was incompatible with wider European law. The ‘three strikes’ provisions of the act are now likely to go forward.
In late April, French President Sarkozy said that France’s as-yet-untested HADOPI (aka ‘3 strikes’) measures designed to disconnect repeat infringers were a mistake, then hosted an ‘e-G8’ conference framed around an ostensible need to “civilize” the Internet, by which he mostly meant getting tougher on piracy. Meanwhile, the company responsible for collecting data on infringement for the HADOPI initiative, Trident Media Guard was hacked, revealing internet user data and an apparently wide array of security flaws. This triggered a suspension of HADOPI surveillance and, potentially, the HADOPI agency’s much more ambitious plans to monitor consumer internet use. Continue reading “The European Strategy: Send Money to the US”
Readers are beginning to unpack the ‘Hargreaves Review‘ — the UK government-commissioned study on the relationship between intellectual property and growth. For good summaries, see Jamie Boyle (Boyle was one of the advisors for the study) or Mike Masnick.
I’ll skip over the modest patent and design recommendations and make a couple points about copyright and evidence–topics the report deals with at length. The report takes a number of genuinely constructive positions on UK copyright law, including recommending broader exceptions for parody, private copies, and archival practices; ensuring that those exceptions can’t be trumped by contract law; opposing copyright term extensions (which are presently lower than in the US for recorded music); and consolidating copyright licensing practices to cut through barriers to the legal exploitation of copyrighted works. The report is also the strongest official pronouncement yet on the low quality of the research that informs the copyright and enforcement debate–a record it calls “threadbare” and dominated by “lobbynomics.” Continue reading “UK Gov’s IP Report Recommends Cutting Lobbynomists’ Jobs”