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Facts & Research


2024 | Piracy Impact

File Sharing: Creative Destruction or Just Plain Destruction? | University of Texas at Dallas

The battle between copyright owners and copying technologies is a long-running one, and the sharing of sound recordings over the Internet is only the newest chapter. This paper works to provide some context, perspective, and background to the issue by comparing the relatively short history of file sharing to the longer history of record sales.

This paper also takes various explanations for the change in record sales and analysis of the economics of copying into account to demonstrate a close linkage between changes in file sharing and changes in record sales.

Key Findings

  • Other than file sharing, explanations for the decline in record sales seem to have little or no support.
  • This paper examines the nature and size of file sharing as best we know it and investigates the history of the sound-recording market to gain some perspective on the current decline.
  • The evidence shown in data reported by this paper supports the current findings from almost all econometric studies that have been undertaken to date, file sharing has brought significant harm to the recording industry.

Source: Stan Liebowitz, University of Texas at Dallas