BitTorrent Piracy Doesn’t Affect US Box Office Returns, Study Finds
February 10, 2012 | 10:01 am
By Paul Biba
From TorrentFreak. More in the article.
With their unconditional support for SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, Hollywood is pressing hard for new legislation to curb piracy. The studios want ‘rogue’ websites to be censored and are calling on Google and Internet providers to take responsibility.
However, a new study reveals that movie industry itself has the key to decreasing piracy, without passing any news laws.
In a paper titled ‘Reel Piracy: The Effect of Online Film Piracy on International Box Office Sales’ researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College examine the link between BitTorrent piracy and box office returns. As hypothesized, they find that international movie piracy losses are directly linked to the delay between US and foreign premieres.
In other words, the longer it takes before a movie is released internationally, the more box office revenues are impacted through piracy.
“We find that longer release windows are associated with decreased box office returns, even after controlling for film and country fixed effects. This relationship is much stronger in contexts where piracy is more prevalent: after BitTorrent’s adoption and in heavily pirated genres,” they write.
“Our findings indicate that, as a lower bound, international box office returns in our sample were at least 7% lower than they would have been in the absence of pre-release piracy.”
Aside from their conclusion that a lack of availability is fueling piracy, the researchers report a perhaps even more interesting result. Contrary to what the MPAA and other lobby groups claim, the study doesn’t find a negative effect of BitTorrent piracy on US box office revenues.