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Piracy problems? Music industry grew in 13 markets in 2009
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 18:21

From ARS Technica

Here's a surprise: recording industry revenues actually grew in 13 major world markets in 2009. Australia, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, the UK, and Brazil were all among the countries that saw revenue increases, and the global music business says this proves the need for tougher anti-piracy laws.

"South Korea and Sweden in particular saw striking returns to growth," said global recording industry trade group IFPI, "showing how an improved legal environment can help impact on legitimate music sales."

And it might be true! The data, though, is ambiguous. Sweden did get a new law in 2009 that gave rightsholders a court-mediated method for getting the names of accused infringers, and The Pirate Bay admins went on trial. But both of those tactics have been usable in the US for years (remember the Grokster case, and all those P2P lawsuits against individuals?). So why did the US account for the majority of the worldwide recording industry losses in 2009 even as Sweden's record industry grew? It can't just be the "improved legal environment" in Sweden.

And how do you explain the case of Australia? This is the country where a federal judge recently issued a 200+ page opinion in which he ruled that ISPs have no responsibility even to act on warning letters from rightsholders, much less have any responsibility to disconnect users from the Internet. Yet revenue is up. Mexico isn't cracking down hard on P2P users, yet revenue is up.

The industry's preferred legal solution continues to be graduated response ending in an Internet disconnection, but a quick look at IFPI's data shows no compelling reason to adopt such a draconian punishment as the final step in the process.

In South Korea, the first country in the world to implement a "three strikes" law that disconnects repeat file-sharers, 30,000 infringement warnings were sent in the last year, but not a single South Korean has been disconnected. Yet revenue is up.

Several ISPs in the UK were forwarding infringement letters to subscribers in 2009, but none were disconnecting users. Even the recently passed Digital Economy bill doesn't allow for such disconnections for at least another year. Yet revenue is up.


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