IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Piracy of Digital Products: A Critical Review of the Economics Literature

  • Martin Peitz
  • Patrick Waelbroeck

Digital products have the property that they can be copied almost costlessly. This makes them candidates for non-commercial copying by final consumers. Because the copy of a copy typically does not deteriorate in quality, copying products can become a wide-spread phenomenon – this can be illustrated by the surge of file-sharing networks. In this paper we provide a critical overview of the literature that addresses the economic consequences of end-user copying. We conclude that some models with network effects are well-suited for the analysis of software copying while other models incorporating the feature that copies provide information about the originals may be useful for the analysis of digital music copying.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1071.

in new window

Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1071
Contact details of provider: Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Joshua Slive & Dan Bernhardt, 1998. "Pirated for Profit," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(4), pages 886-899, November.
  2. Jong-Hee Hahn, 2000. "Functional Quality Degradation of Software with Network Externalities," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 2000/12, Department of Economics, Keele University, revised Jan 2001.
  3. Gayer, Amit & Shy, Oz, 2003. "Internet and peer-to-peer distributions in markets for digital products," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 197-203, November.
  4. Martin Peitz, 2004. "A Strategic Approach to Software Protection: Comment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 371-374, 06.
  5. Johnson, William R, 1985. "The Economics of Copying," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 158-74, February.
  6. Paul Belleflamme, 2002. "Pricing Information Goods in the Presence of Copying," Working Papers 463, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  7. Liebowitz, S J, 1985. "Copying and Indirect Appropriability: Photocopying of Journals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 945-57, October.
  8. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  9. Rick Harbaugh & Rahul Khemka, . "Does Copyright Enforcement Encourage Piracy?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-14, Claremont Colleges.
  10. Takeyama, Lisa N, 1997. "The Intertemporal Consequences of Unauthorized Reproduction of Intellectual Property," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 511-22, October.
  11. Novos, Ian E & Waldman, Michael, 1984. "The Effects of Increased Copyright Protection: An Analytic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 236-46, April.
  12. Oz Shy & Jacques-Françlois Thisse, 1999. "A Strategic Approach to Software Protection," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 163-190, 06.
  13. Kathleen Reavis Conner & Richard P. Rumelt, 1991. "Software Piracy: An Analysis of Protection Strategies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(2), pages 125-139, February.
  14. Banerjee, Dyuti S., 2003. "Software piracy: a strategic analysis and policy instruments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 97-127, January.
  15. Yoon, Kiho, 2002. "The optimal level of copyright protection," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 327-348, September.
  16. Takeyama, Lisa N, 1994. "The Welfare Implications of Unauthorized Reproduction of Intellectual Property in the Presence of Demand Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 155-66, June.
  17. M. Alvisi & E. Argentesi & E. Carbonara, 2002. "Piracy and Quality Choice in Monopolistic Markets," Working Papers 436, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1071. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.