Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Media Piracy in Emerging Economy Report: Omnipresent China Conspicuously Absent

Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, is a very interesting report edited by Joe Karaganis, program director of Social Science Research Council. Digital copying of music, film and software works that fall outside the boundaries of copyright are not only a dilemma in developed countries but also in emergent markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, which are covered in country cases. The report also deals with Mexico and Bolivia.

Conspicuously absent is a country case on China. However, the reader can observe this omnipresent protaganist, during the whole 400 pages, a bit like the great white whale in the novel Moby Dick.
The report contends refreshingly that the question is not whether stronger enforcement can preserve existing market structures, but whether business models can emerge that can serve the low end of the media market. Or in the words of Karaganis: the choice is between high piracy/low price and not high piracy/high price.
The report seems to take the copyright law of the respective jurisdictions as a given.

The report has many interesting critical notes, including about the alleged link between piracy and organized crime/terrorism. It persuasively makes the case that in the time that film and music were consumed via CD and DVD and optical disk production was only lucrative on a industrial scale, it might have had some relevance. But first cottage production of optical disks became possible and now even they are in competition with down loading consumers.

Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, funded by the Canadian International Development Research Center and the Ford Foundation, is available via pdf under a Consumer's Dilemma license, see here.

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