LSE Report: File-Sharing Is Rather Beneficial To Music Industry

By EDRi · October 9, 2013

A new report shows again file-sharing is not detrimental to the entertainment industry sales, but quite the opposite. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has released a new policy brief asking the UK Government to take into consideration more than the industry lobbying efforts when deciding on the copyright enforcement policies such as the Digital Economy Act (DEA).

The report states there is strong evidence that file-sharing is helping, rather than hurting the entertainment industries. There have been several research reports during the last years showing that file-sharing can have positive effects but they have always been counter-attacked by industry lobbyists. Now, the LSE report shows again that the entertainment industry is not damaged by file-sharing and that the researches show that file-sharers spend more money on entertainment than the others.

“Contrary to the industry claims, the music industry is not in terminal decline, but still holding ground and showing healthy profits. Revenues from digital sales, subscription services, streaming and live performances compensate for the decline in revenues from the sale of CDs or records,” says Bart Cammaerts, LSE Senior Lecturer and one of the report’s authors. “The music industry may be stagnating, but the drastic decline in revenues warned of by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence,” the report also states.

According to the report, there are several factors that can explain the decline in sales of recorded music (mainly CDs) such as “a squeeze on household expenditure on leisure goods and changing patterns of music consumption” and the “increasing revenue from live performances and growing digital revenues, including streaming services.”.

Moreover, according to the report, the enforcement of punitive legislation, such as the three strikes law in France, has not proven to be efficient. The authors of the report call on the UK Government to review the Digital Economy Act (DEA) and take into consideration all these findings by expanding the fair use and private copying exceptions for citizens. “Intervention to enforce copyright infringement legislation on individual file sharers risks stifling innovation and criminalises a thriving online participatory culture.”

In spite of the strong opposition and controversy, the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee strongly advocates for the speeding up of the DEA implementation.

The authors of the report recommend a review of the legislation so that it may strike “a healthy balance among the interests of a range of stakeholders including those in the creative industries, Internet Service Providers and internet users.”

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