Top scientists dismiss three strikes laws

The only way to solve the global piracy problem is by fixing the worldwide cost of content, according to a three year study by a group of scientists.

The Media Piracy Project, released by the Social Science Research Council and seen by Ars Technica,  said that media piracy can’t be stopped through “three strikes” internet disconnections, web censorship, more police powers, higher statutory damages, or tougher criminal penalties.

It came up with the conclusion that piracy is “better described as a global pricing problem.” And the only way to solve it is by changing the price.

More than 35 researchers looked at Russia, Mexico, and India to see why piracy existed. It came to the conclusion that pirates were not morally deficient or opposed to paying for content.

What has happened is that big media has demanded “high prices for media goods” from people with low income who have access to cheap digital equipment. These scientists are obviously a bit dim.

Legitimate CDs, DVDs, and computer software are five to ten times higher than they are in the US and Europe. If you increase copyright enforcement won’t do enough to fix the problem.

The report said that big media needed to create local companies that “actively compete on price and services for local customers” as they sell movies, music, and more. These scientists obviously are a bit dim.

The scientists conclude that legitimate copyrighted goods are only distributed by huge multinational corporations whose dominant goals are not to service a large part of local markets but to protect the pricing structure in the high-income countries. No kidding.

Simple crackdowns on pirate behavior won’t work in the absence of pricing and other reforms. At the moment TV shows and movies that are not made legally available to them for days, weeks, or months after they originally appear elsewhere are routinely pirated.

The wise men said there is “little evidence” hat enforcement efforts to date have had any effect whatsoever on the overall supply of pirated goods.

Joe Karaganis, who writes the report’s opening chapter, “Rethinking Piracy,” said piracy is a “signal of unmet consumer demand.”