EU covers up study that reveals piracy doesn’t harm sales

Published 22.09.2017 16:46
Updated 22.09.2017 16:49
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The European Commission suppressed a 304-page study about piracy's impact on the sales of copyrighted music, books, video games and movies, conceivably because the results of the research concluded that piracy does not have a negative impact.

A Dutch company named Ecory carried out research trying to determine the influence of piracy on the legal sales of copyrighted products. After several months of the investigation the company submitted a 304-page report to the EU in May 2015. However, the results of the research were never revealed to the public.

The report noted that the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. It continued by saying that it does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but statistical analysis does not reveal that there is an effect.

Furthermore, the report claimed that illegal streams might in fact increase the legal sales of video games.

Disadvantages of piracy were more linked to blockbuster movies: "The results show a displacement rate of 40 percent which means that for every 10 recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally," the Dutch company claimed.

The study has just been made public because one of the members of European Parliament Julia Reda published the report on her personal page on the internet saying that "the EU Commission 'forgot' to tell us" about it. Reda got ahold of a copy of the report through an EU Freedom of Information access to document request.

The European Digital Rights organization stated on its website that the full contents of this report was intentionally hidden, pointing to a 2016 academic paper by two Commission officials. The paper, "Movie Piracy and Displaced Sales in Europe," only mentioned the part of the Ecory report that highlights the relationship between piracy and blockbuster film lost sales, and excluded the other conclusions of the report.

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