Pirates are the best customers

More evidence that pirates are record companies best customers:

Joe Karaganis, from SSRC, points us to the news that there’s been yet another such study… and this one is from HADOPI, itself. Yes, the French agency put together to kick people off the internet for file sharing did a study on the nature of unauthorized file sharing, too. Not surprisingly (and consistent with every other study we’ve seen on this topic), it found that those who spend a lot of money on content… were much, much, much more likely to also get content through unauthorized means. HADOPI released the results in a somewhat convoluted way (perhaps trying to downplay this result), but Karaganis reformatted the results to make this clear:

Karaganis suggests, then, that HADOPI’s method of dealing with this — threatening people to stop their file sharing, won’t do very much to help the bottom lines of the entertainment industry:

If piracy is a sampling and discovery tool for high spenders, then suppressing piracy could depress legal sales. If–as I’ll argue at more length in a subsequent post–we’re in a mostly zero-sum market in which consumers are maxed out on discretionary media expenditures, then enforcement won’t significantly expand but at best just cannibalize one media sector for another. Music, games, and movies, let’s say, competing for the same discretionary dollars–and all of them competing with rising, increasingly non-discretionary internet access and data charges. If we’re in this type of market, then HADOPI is just in the business of eliminating its best customers. Good luck with that business model.

And suppressing the means of communication at the same time — collateral damage for no good purpose. Brilliant!


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