Do lawsuits lower piracy?
A CDFreaks member named platinumsword found this article about German attempts to curb piracy through increased prosecution. However, what does a brief perusal of CDFreaks articles on the RIAA/MPAA/IFPI’s lawsuits tell you? These lawsuits are largely ineffective and generally a waste of time, as they tend to target the ’small fry’ in the pond, not the big fish causing the problems. P2P continues to be used because there are few legal, online options that offer a large selection of non-DRM content. The only other thing an increase in lawsuits shows is how hell-bent the industry is on not changing, because it doesn’t want to lose its cash cow by not having DRM to control content.
Just as people in the U.S. have historically ‘hidden’ their money from the ‘axe’ during times of increased taxes and spent more at times of lower taxes, it is safe to extend this same parallel to the phenomenon of P2P use: if the product is made far more widely accessible (increasing supply) at a lower, more reasonable price (and with no DRM), then people will buy more singles and download more entire CDs legally. Until the industry understands this and changes, expect P2P use to remain high and for ‘piracy’ to continue largely unabated.
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