A European Commission study made by its Joint Research Centre released recently found that pirates have minimal effect on the music industry.
The basis of the commission's report is the tracking of web browsing habits of 16,000 Europeans paid by Nielsen to monitor their online behaviour. The finding was that netizens who visited Web sites for pirating music had no effect on the surfers who also visited portals with legal music downloads.
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"It seems that the majority of the music that is consumed illegally by the individuals in our sample would not have been purchased if illegal downloading websites were not available to them," the researchers from The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies wrote.
"Taken at face value, our findings indicate that digital music piracy does not displace legal music purchases in digital format. This means that although there is trespassing of private property rights (copyrights), there is unlikely to be much harm done on digital music revenues," TechCrunch quoted the EC report.
Even free and legal streaming Web sites likewise did not have a negative impact on the online music purchasing habits of the respondents, but even appears to have a stimulating effect on the sale of digital music.
While clicks on legal purchasing Web sites would have been 2 per cent lower if there were no illegal downloading portals, there was a larger 7 per cent increase in visits to music purchasing Web sites and stores after the respondents visited first legal streaming services.
Prior studies made by other groups tried to measure the effect of piracy on physical music by linking higher levels of piracy in nations with lower music sales. One study cited the case of France which passed a very tough anti-piracy law that threatened illegal music downloaders with sanctions which resulted in music sales going up by 22.5 per cent.
However, Le Monde, a French newspaper, pointed out that the increase in music sales was not because of the tough law but with the release of the new iPhone which allows downloaded MP3 files to be transferred via iTunes.
Campaigns such as the above video, though, are no match to other videos that even teach surfers how to illegally download music such as this clip.
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