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