A study released today casted doubt on the effectiveness of the Conservative’s Bill C-36, a motion before the House of Commons that will increase penalties for copyright violators in an effort to modernize Canada’s copyright laws.
According to the study, ttougher sentences won’t stop Canadians from downloading free versions f\of software and media because piracy from emerging economies like Brazil and South Africa is so widespread. The high price of media in those countries makes software piracy far more socially acceptable, and until the market can address such problems, Canadians will have an easy source of pirated material online thanks to these countries.
The study, conducted by the New York Social Science Research Council, concludes
"The failure of legal markets to provide access to goods at prices that are affordable in terms of local incomes fuels a situation in which high piracy becomes the primary form of media access," said study editor Joe Karaganis.
According to the study, a copy of Microsoft Office is five to 10 times more expensive in an emerging economy like Brazil or South Africa, compared to prices in the U.S. or Europe.
The council's data shows that a decade of increased copyright enforcement has not slowed piracy. It suggests that piracy rates as high as 90 per cent will continue until better competition pushes prices down.
The study notes that in the developing world, prices are so high that piracy has become the most common way for citizens to get digital content. As well, open source and online tools that provide services similar to what commercial vendors do for a fraction of the cost — or no cost at all — often limit the amount large software firms can charge for their wares.
You can check out the study here.