Want to Stop Piracy? Charge Less, Says Report

Ryan Whitwam

In recent years, media companies have promoted all manner of punitive measures to stop piracy online. Everything from three-strikes laws to stiff fines have been suggested. A major new report from a group of academics studying the problem indicate there is one way to abate piracy. Companies have to stop charging so much money . Simple, right?

The Social Science Research Council points out that a huge amount of piracy takes place among economically disadvantaged populations. Increasing penalties is unlikely to sway these individuals, the report argues. Rights holders are encouraged to explore way to price content more realistically with the help of local companies. Unfortunately, most content is sold by large international corporations with little interest in competitive pricing.

The report uses The Dark Knight as an example. The $15 DVD might sound fine to an American buyer, but in Russia, that works out to be the equivalent of $75 when income is figured in. It’s no wonder people buy the cheap pirated version. The authors bemoan the wasted resources spent on increased enforcement, saying there is little evidence they have had any effect on the availability of pirated goods.

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