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Piracy, Music, and Movies: A Natural Experiment


  • Adermon, Adrian

    () (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)

  • Liang, Che-Yuan

    () (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)


Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of illegal file sharing (piracy) on music and movie sales. The Swedish implementation of the European Union directive IPRED on April 1, 2009 suddenly increased the risk of being caught and prosecuted for file sharing. We investigate the subsequent drop in piracy as approximated by the drop in Swedish Internet traffic and the effects on music and movie sales in Sweden. We find that the reform decreased Internet traffic by 18 percent during the subsequent six months. It also increased sales of physical music by 27 percent and digital music by 48 percent. Furthermore, it had no significant effects on the sales of theater tickets or DVD movies. The results indicate that pirated music is a strong substitute for legal music whereas the substitutability is less for movies.

Suggested Citation

  • Adermon, Adrian & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2010. "Piracy, Music, and Movies: A Natural Experiment," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2010:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uufswp:2010_013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arthur Vany & W. Walls, 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Movie Piracy on Box-office Revenue," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 30(4), pages 291-301, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Arnold & Éric Darmon & Sylvain Dejean & Thierry Pénard, 2014. "Graduated Response Policy and the Behavior of Digital Pirates: Evidence from the French Three-strike (Hadopi) Law," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201401, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    2. Brett Danaher & Michael D. Smith & Rahul Telang, 2014. "Piracy and Copyright Enforcement Mechanisms," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 25-61.
    3. Éric Darmon & Thomas Le Texier, 2014. "Private or Public Law Enforcement? The Case of Digital Piracy Policies with Non-monitored Illegal Behaviors," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201403, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    4. Handke, Christian & Girard, Yann & Mattes, Anselm, 2015. "Fördert das Urheberrecht Innovation? Eine empirische Untersuchung," Studien zum deutschen Innovationssystem 16-2015, Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation (EFI) - Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation, Berlin.
    5. Christian Handke, 2013. "Empirical evidence on copyright," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Digital Creative Economy, chapter 22, pages 249-261 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Godefroy Nguyen & Sylvain Dejean & François Moreau, 2014. "On the complementarity between online and offline music consumption: the case of free streaming," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 38(4), pages 315-330, November.
    7. Adermon, Adrian & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2014. "Piracy and music sales: The effects of an anti-piracy law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 90-106.
    8. Liang Che-Yuan & Nordin Mattias, 2013. "The Internet, News Consumption, and Political Attitudes – Evidence for Sweden," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1071-1093, September.
    9. Wojciech Hardy & Michal Krawczyk & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2015. "Friends or foes? A meta-analysis of the link between "online piracy" and sales of cultural goods," Working Papers 2015-23, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.

    More about this item


    copyright protection; piracy; file sharing; music; movies; IPRED; natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • M48 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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