Tougher legislation is not going to stop online piracy

by Knowlton Thomas

The federal government is aiming to modernize Canada's copyright laws, particularly relating to the digital space and intellectual property.

But a new study suggests that anyone believing tougher legislation is enough to curb internet piracy is wrong.

Quoth The Globe and Mail:

Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, would crack down on Internet theft of music, movies, e-books and the like. It would also bring Canada in line with World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties. However, a study published by the U.S. Social Science Research Council concludes that governments can't effectively legislate consumers into getting their online media legally. Media Piracy in Emerging Economies is the first major independent study of Internet piracy in countries such as Russia, Brazil and South Africa, and was funded in part by Canada's International Development Research Centre.

In essence, the study affirms that no government can effectively control whether consumer swill access online media legally or illegally, regardless of legislation rules. In other countries, piracy rates are extraordinarily high, where software can cost 5 to 10 times as much as it does in developed names - and nothing fuels piracy more than inflated costs relative to local incomes, the study points out.

What will reduce piracy is not aggressive legislation, but rather the two basic fundamentals that consumers expect: reliable service and competitive pricing. It's not that consumers simply refuse to pay for things (in most instances); it's just that they'll go with the route they feel offers the most bang for the buck.

The study observes that strict laws are still necessary, but that they are merely a minor supplement to fair, low prices and services that satisfy consumers and justify their cost expenditure.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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