The Swiss government conducted a study to gauge the effects of illegal downloads. The study showed that downloaders tend to use their saved money to purchase more legitimate entertainment products. Go figure…
It seems to me as though piracy advocates tend to rely on evidence and don’t cling to outrageous revenue claims or bogus reasoning. Over the years, these types of studies have routinely shown that piracy doesn’t cause major issues in terms of revenue. Seeing as how many of the artists that I currently listen to were found via piracy, I can attest to the fact that their pirated albums lead to subsequent concerts and memorabilia purchases. I can’t imagine what those silly lobbyists will come up with next.
The report states that around a third of Swiss citizens over 15 years old download pirated music, movies and games from the Internet. However, these people don’t spend less money as a result because the budgets they reserve for entertainment are fairly constant. This means that downloading is mostly complementary.
The other side of piracy, based on the Dutch study, is that downloaders are reported to be more frequent visitors to concerts, and game downloaders actually bought more games than those who didn’t. And in the music industry, lesser-know bands profit most from the sampling effect of file-sharing.
The Swiss report then goes on to review several of the repressive anti-piracy laws and regulations that have been implemented in other countries recently, such as the three-strikes Hadopi law in France. According to the report 12 million was spent on Hadopi in France this year, a figure the Swiss deem too high.
The report further states that it is questionable whether a three-strikes law would be legal in the first place, as the UN’s Human Rights Council labeled Internet access a human right. The Council specifically argued that Hadopi is a disproportionate law that should be repealed.