Wednesday, 30 January 2013

'Another one bites the dust': The decline of retail in the UK (HMV and Blockbuster)

Earlier in January 2013, both HMV and Blockbuster have went into liquidation.

Some news reports have posed questions like who will take their place on the high street, while others speculate that Amazon has been the root cause of their collapse.A good background piece on HMV can be found here.

I have seen very little attention paid to piracy.

Undoubtedly, recent shifts have offered excellent rivals to purchasing physical copies of CD's, DVD's/Blu-Ray and video games. Spotify, for example, continues to prosper. Equivalents in the realm of film such as LoveFilm and Netflix are also proving increasingly popular.

The reason is the emerging preference for all things digital, given the increased functionality and convenience of digital goods. This includes pirated media.

News reports covering the collapse of HMV and Blockbuster are perhaps the post possible modes of communicating the scale and impact of piracy to the wider public. As such, it's a shame that there has not been any real effort to do this.

Is it because piracy is not relevant? Perhaps. Exact figures, as with all crime, are elusive. The fact is that piracy is still a major threat to the creative industries where one need only search #torrent or #piratebay on Twitter to see that people are actively watching screeners of major Hollywood, ahem, Blockbusters prior to theatrical release. All sorts of tips on how to avoid being caught are exchanged on Twitter and other forms of social media (not to mention all the password protected forums).

People are increasingly more reluctant to pay for music and movies. They don't have to. It's easy to access them without risk of being caught. This deserves to be communicated to the wider public.

If nothing else, this blog entry draws attention to video games, where the Call of Duty series continues to sell millions of units legally, raking in more money than any Hollywood Blockbuster has in the last 5 years. Why? It deserves to be explored in more depth and will feature in a forthcoming blog entry.

For now, current reports suggest both HMV and Blockbuster may survive, in one guise or another. Time will tell.

One thing is certain, 'the times they are a-changin'.

Occasional Tweetage @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 18 January 2013

US Congress employes are pirates too

Check this out.

Whilst it's good to know that they are watching some good movies like 'The Dark Knight Rises' and TV shows like 'The Walking Dead', the more sinister side to this story is the implication that not only do policymakers not know what they are talking about, but they don't care.

Exposing this hypocrisy is a positive thing, where as I have mentioned elsewhere, research findings from Academia are not always readily absorbed into the mainstream consciousness quickly enough to help inform genuine changes in the real world. A crude rule of thumb I have heard tossed around from a few seasoned researchers is that it takes approximately 10 years for knowledge in research to be dissolved into common knowledge.

Anyhow, this news item (and the countless others circulating online) are widely read by the general public and as such, good journalism from reputable sources such as The Guardian are an important contribution in disseminating information on piracy to the general public.

In practical terms, the hypocrisy undermines the confidence in policymakers.

Tweetage @musicpiracyblog

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

(More) Special issues of major Journals dedicated to research on music piracy

Happy new year, dear reader.

In keeping with looking forward, let us first of all look back.

Further to Octobers entry on Special Editions of major Journals being committed to piracy and the digital revolution, find below links to two other such instances in the Journal 'Information Economics and Policy'.

Special issue: Digital Piracy, from December 2010


The economics of Digital Media Markets, from March 2012

Between them, you have 20 articles on topics related to the content discussed on musicpiracyresearchblog, with an emphasis on looking ahead to future trends. DRM protections, sales displacement, demand for live music.. it's all in there.

Also keep your eyes peeled for a special edition of the Journal Convergence next month titled: "Consuming the ‘Illegal’: Situating Online Piracy in Everyday Experience".

As mentioned previously, the presence of such editions is a testament to the interest in the topic amongst active researchers in different disciplines.

Occasional Tweets between sneezing @musicpiracyblog

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A door closes, a window opens.. Why blocking websites doesn't work

Click here for a good article titled 'Clickonomics: Determining the Effect of Anti-Piracy Measures for One-Click Hosting'.

It discusses One-Click Hosters such as Megaupload and Rapidshare and how present efforts to close them are failing. It's one of the few articles to specifically consider such services, rather than piracy more broadly.

The authors, Lauinger, Syzdlowski, Onarlioglu, Wondraeck, Kirda and Kruegel (2012) ultimately conclude that reducing the demand for pirated content by providing legitimate alternatives is the best move forward, a sentiment echoed by many.

Check it out.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog