Piracy of Digital Content

image of Piracy of Digital Content

This book studies digital piracy - the infringement of copyrighted content (such as music, films, software, broadcasting, books, etc.) - where the end product does not involve the use of hard media, such as CDs and DVDs. It presents the unique economic properties of markets for pirated digital products, where the existence of a large number of suppliers willing to provide pirated content at virtually no cost poses new and difficult challenges to copyright owners and policy makers in combating that piracy. These economic features, together with rapid technological developments, create special and unique problems to policy makers and the large number of actors involved in different jurisdictions. This book also provides an illustrative, in-depth case study of the sports rights owners sector, highlighting how it is affected by digital piracy.



Market Overview

This chapter outlines the markets where digitally pirated products are exchanged. To do so, it i) explores the key properties of digital products, ii) identifies sectors that supply products prone to digital piracy and indicates possible delivery methods, iii) illustrates how the markets for pirated digital products operate, and iv) outlines the economic mechanisms driving those markets.

Concerning the descriptive analysis of copyrighted products that have been subject to digital piracy, a set of properties has been identified that make these products significantly different from pirated products that have resulted in tangible/physical goods. These features include: the disembodied and non-physical nature of digital products, their interdependence on hardware, the characteristics that allow their digital delivery and the “immediate” potentially unlimited geographic scope of the market. These features have certain consequences for the further analysis of the phenomenon of digital piracy.


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