“Widespread piracy is the biggest factor undermining the growth of
the digital music business.” – IFPI Digital Music Report 2012
Things may finally be looking up for the music industry. IFPI, or the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, has recently released its 2012 Digital Music Report. This year’s report, making the ninth so far, has an optimistic outlook for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most significant update is the development and implementation of new measures to stamp out digital piracy. Frances Moore, the chief executive of the IFPI, writes in the report:
“We are undoubtedly making important progress in changing this environment, dealing with both peer-to-peer (P2P) and other forms of digital piracy. In the US, music and film companies have agreed with ISPs a new copyright alert system. In France, the Hadopi law has been successfully implemented and research shows it is accepted and having an impact on consumer behaviour. . .
. . .South Korea, a pioneer of anti-piracy legislation which has required an effective role from ISPs in stopping infringement, is seeing continued market health. New Zealand implemented a new graduated responselaw in 2011 and surveys show it is already affecting consumer behaviour positively. In Europe, a series of successful court actionsrequired ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay, prompting substantial reductions in users of that service.In 2011, we made significant progress with these intermediaries. A ground-breaking three-way collaboration betweenpayment providers, IFPI and the City of London Police has helped cut funding to 62 illegal websites. That is a positive model that can be extended to new forms of piracy in the future.”
Moore also highlighted the need for cooperation from search engines such as Google:
“The role of search engines in relation to piracy will be a key priority in 2012. Google and other search engines are an important access route for those looking for unlicensed music on the internet. Our industry has stepped up cooperation with search engines in the last year, but a lot more cooperation is needed, such as prioritising legitimate sites in search results and helping prevent the funding of illegal sites via advertising.”
Graduated Response – An Effective Deterrent
Graduated Response is a new tactic for dealing with digital piracy. Rights holders notify Internet service providers and mobile data network providers of IP addresses which are uploading protected content to the Internet illegally. What is excellent about this method is that it does not invade user privacy – that is, your online behavior will not be constantly monitored to check for illegal activity. Instead, P2P and other types of file distribution channels are watched, and when an infringement is detected, that IP address can be matched up to their subscriber information for that service by their service provider. Then, the ISP can contact the subscriber and warn them that the activity they are conducting is illegal, and urge them to use legal services. If further illegal action is detected after several notices, certain penalties or sanctions would be imposed (this will vary from country to country). Some of these penalties might be account suspension, bandwidth reduction, or a fine. Research conducted by third parties have consistently shown this to be an effective deterrent against continued piracy.
“Among numerous surveys conducted in 2011: In Germany, 81 percent of consumers that download media content illegally believe that warnings with the prospect of consequences would make people stop their illegal activity (GfK, February 2011). In South Korea, government officials report that 70 percent of infringing users stop their activity on receipt of a first notice. A similar pattern is found on receipt of the second notice, with 70 percent of users ceasing to use their account to infringe.” – IFPI, February 2012
France is the first nation to take such measures. The “Creation and Internet” law has established a new agency called Hadopi whose role is to implement the graduated response method. So far, according to the report, Hadopi has issued over 700,000 notices to P2P subscribers in France since October 2010, resulting in a 26% decline in overall P2P network use.
This may be the beginning of the end for Internet piracy at large, and the needed step to help spur the revitalization of the music industry.
Head over to http://www.ifpi.org/ to download the Digital Music Report 2012 absolutely free!
Thoughts on the graduated response approach? Leave a comment!