Spanish Court Found Piracy HarmlessA Spanish judge handed down an interesting ruling in a case involving sale of pirated copies: the defendant doesn’t have to pay damages to the right holder,because it is impossible to determine the extent of the damage to sales. The judge also suggested that piracy may increase sales.
Anyone who believes that piracy only harms or only benefits the authors is wrong. Digital piracy has different effect in each case, which is stipulated not only by different areas of the media industry – gaming, music, reading, or movie – but it also depends on a level of popularity and target audience. Indeed, there are a lot of cases in which digital piracy has had a positive effect on sales, as studies have revealed that the “pirates” turned out to be the best customers in the music industry. The spokesperson for EMI record label confirmed that there’s evidence that file-sharing may be useful rather than harmful. He also admitted that maybe the industry shouldn’t oppose file-sharing all the time.
Although his assumptions are a rare event for large bumps in the music industry, he wasn’t the only person speaking this way. In recent months, several people in the anime and publishing industries came to similar conclusions. This idea didn’t go unnoticed among lawyers either – the above mentioned judge from Spain pointed out in his ruling that the damage couldn’t be defined because it was unclear how many people would have been willing to purchase the product at the initial price. He said that people were likely to buy a cheap pirated copy than the original for $20-30.
According to the judge, instead of harming to the copyright holders, piracy can help sales. He said it’s possible that the potential buyer only wants to try the content before purchasing it legally. Thus, file-sharing may help legal publications. “I declare that in this case there was no harm done for which compensation would be possible,"- concluded the judge in his decision.
Despite the fact that similar conclusions had been reached in many studies before, it’s the first case where a judge was speaking in a similar way. In our era with human rights violated in order to protect the interests of a few media companies with a turnover of millions of dollars, people need a more realistic, balanced and independent view of the real consequences of digital piracy.