2024-02-24 16:04:43
Swedes start buying music; are anti-P2P laws working? market data/music

ArsTechnica


Is Sweden, the only country to have sent a member of the Pirate Party
to the European Parliament, finally giving up its swashbuckling ways?

When Sweden’s IPRED anti-piracy law
went into effect earlier this year, Internet traffic across the country
plummeted overnight—a sign that P2P users, fearing exposure at last,
were abandoning their existing copyright infringement tools. The Pirate
Bay defendants were found guilty by a Swedish court earlier this year, and the site’s ISP are now under assault by the music and movie industries.

The music business insists that the measure are working. Music’s major
labels say that sales of digital downloads are up 18 percent in the
first nine months of 2009 in Sweden.

Ludvig Werner, head of the trade group IFPI Sweden, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper
that it didn’t matter if people still wanted to pirate; the point was,
they were doing less of it. “It’s like speeding, put up cameras and
people will start to ease off the gas pedal. Even if it doesn’t change
the attitudes, they find legal alternatives because they don’t want to
get caught,” said Werner.

Dueling explanations

As with most statistics in the Copyright Wars, these are hard to
evaluate. Digital music sales are up, but has copyright infringement
also dropped? IFPI doesn’t know.

In fact, there are reasons to suspect that legal actions like IPRED
aren’t the only drivers of Sweden’s uptick in music sales. As we reported yesterday,
UK-based music label EMI has reported a worldwide revenue increase of
4.6 percent in its recorded music business through 2009 to date; surely
this can’t just be chalked up to tougher antipiracy laws in small
countries like Sweden and South Korea?

And Swedish Internet traffic data bounced back soon after the IPRED law came into force and now exceeds the level from the beginning of 2009.

sweden-internet-traffic-2-years.png

Credit also has to go the music industry for licensing its music far
more widely, often to innovative Scandinavian companies like Spotify
and Nokia, which is offering the Comes With Music plan on selected
phones.

But who knows? Perhaps IPRED and The Pirate Bay prosecution
were real drivers of the change in Sweden; we’ve certainly seen surveys
in the UK that suggest online infringers will alter their behavior once
the veil of anonymity is stripped away (which was the point of IPRED).

If true, the data could help prove a music industry mantra: tougher enforcement can yield results (i.e., battling the pirates is not a hopeless endeavor).

On the other hand, it seems to suggest that only minimal legal
tools are needed. IPRED made it possible for rightsholders to subpoena
ISPs and get subscriber names and information; The Pirate Bay case was
brought under copyright law. New Internet disconnection laws, ISP
filtering schemes, and similar invasive measures weren’t required.

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