OII SDP 2007 (XXI): Pirates of the Caribbean

Student research seminar: Bodó Balázs

Bodo Balazs does an overview of piracy practices along history and seeing how they actually, even if acting against the Law, they played an important role on knowledge diffusion.

Piracy exists because there is a systematic market failure created by the advent of the Internet, and is not suppliers pushed but demand pulled.

And more, piracy has evolved from evil masterminds to individuals interconnected through peer-to-peer networks. Causes?

  • Not enough products at the right price at the right time, vs. the largest, most comprehensive digital archive in history: demand is there, supply is not
  • Release strategies, the party next door effect: commercial campaigns cannot more be constrained to country boundaries, because they will spill over and become the former point
  • User valuations: culture is an experience
  • True demand: people applauding after seeing an ad

File sharing is also about identity, loyalty and can even become really important in the political agenda.

Initial guesses

  • Traditional markets limited by the economies of scale
  • Heavy public subsidies
  • Applies to very narrow selection of target
  • Heavy competition
  • Public bankruptcy
  • So: who will serve the marginal?

Good comment by Wendy Seltzer: even if there is no problem on not respecting intellectual property, the problem still is that pirates do not create content, which is what intellectual property is all about, not (or not just) distribution. Bodó Balázs states that there are some communities, little clusters, that self organize, create legitimate copies and somehow managet to exclude free riding from the community. A good thing about P2P downloading is that it seems to help street pirates to get out of the “market”.

SDP 2007 related posts (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “OII SDP 2007 (XXI): Pirates of the Caribbean” In ICTlogy, #46, July 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=587

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