Carnegie Mellon University

Protecting Your IP

Intellectual property is the lifeblood of distribution and licensing strategies in the entertainment industry. The decisions made by lawmakers on Capitol Hill – and in governments across the globe – go a long way in determining how effectively content creators can safeguard content against external threats, including pirates, hackers, and black-market vendors.

IDEA’s research is in the forefront of analyzing how firms and governments can best protect IP from online threats.  From the worldwide shutdown of to the selective site blocking in the UK, from the impact of consumer notice sending efforts in France to market-based efforts in legal channels, our industry experts provide evidence-based research results to inform policymakers and industry leaders on the best ways to protect the health of the entertainment economy. 

Research Results

Man sits in front of computer

The growth of Internet-based media piracy has significantly impacted the enforcement of copyright policy. We have found that the Megaupload shutdown led to a 6.5 to 8.5 percent increase in digital revenues for three major motion picture studios.

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Hex code skull

The availability of digital media channels affects the rates of both physical sales and digital piracy. We have found that NBC’s 2007 decision to remove its content from iTunes was linked to an 11.4 percent increase in the demand for NBC's pirated content.

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Phone with information cloud

When looking for media on digital channels, users are more likely to choose a legal option to acquire a movie when legal sites are promoted on search engines and more likely to choose a pirated option when pirate links are promoted.

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DVDs and gavel

As the digitization of media has weakens the efficacy of copyright policy, we have found that the best way to reduce the economic impact of digital piracy is through combined anti-piracy efforts from rightsholders, technology firms, and governments.

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Piracy laptop

Understanding the relationship between copyright policy and consumer behavior is a vital consideration for both rights holders and policymakers. To this end, blocking consumer access to piracy websites can significantly increase the utilization of legal sites.

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Computer idea bulb

Governmental anti-piracy policies can have a direct impact on digital music sales. Our study on consumer behavior in France following the graduated response law showed that increased consumer awareness of HADOPI caused iTunes music sales to increase by 22 to 25 percent.

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Digital media and multimedia video

As digital networks facilitate the connection between geographically dispersed markets, an additional 10-day delay between the availability of digital piracy and the  DVD release date in a particular country is correlated with a 2 to 3 percent reduction in DVD sales in that country.

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Logging into a live stream

Distribution of television content through online streaming can decrease piracy by 15 to 20 percent. As such, firms can compete against "free" pirated content by either making legitimate digital content easier to consume or by making pirated content harder to consume.

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Shredded money

In the age of digital piracy, studios are leaving money on the table by preserving separate national and international release windows. On average, every week customers have to wait before they can buy a DVD translates into a 1.8 percent reduction in DVD sales.

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Screen-based media

Using legal subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services as a stand-alone strategy to curtail piracy will require offering content much earlier and at much lower prices, and these changes are likely to reduce industry revenue and content creation incentives.

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Blocking a single media piracy site only directs traffic to other unblocked piracy and VPN sites, rather than to legal sites. However, when multiple sites are blocked, users are incentivized to decrease piracy and increase their usage of legal subscription sites.

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