Welcome!

GovIT Authors: Ignacio M. Llorente, Kevin Jackson, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Bob Gourley

Related Topics: Search, SOA & WOA, Web 2.0

Search: Blog Feed Post

Piracy in Developing Countries

“The elephant in the room” they thought was piracy

Joe Karaganis, of the Social Science Research Council, is giving a talk at the Berkman Center on a six-country study on media (music, film and software) piracy. The study began in 2004 and should be available in March.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.“The elephant in the room” they thought was piracy. Previous studies on access to media tended to avoid the issue of piracy. “The media ecology is still an ecology of piracy.” “We saw a role for a broader social-scientific approach to these issues.” The point of diminishing returns had passed for increasing the strength of IP laws, he says, so countries have been focusing on enforcement. “We began to frame a project that would ask a different set of questions.” It wanted to look not only the costs of piracy, but also at the benefits especially in developing countries. At first, they were more interested in skeptically examining industry reports, but many others started doing this, so it became less of a focus. They’ve tried to separate piracy and counterfeiting, which are usually considered together, because “they have less and less to do with each other in actual practice.”

Three areas of research:

Pricing: The persistence of high and relatively uniform media prices in the developing world; the industry wants to protect the value of their goods in Western markets rather than worrying about making it available in the developing world. Uniform and high prices plus poverty is pretty much the recipe for piracy.

The structure of policymaking: The primary role of the RIAA is to filter info about piracy into the US Trade Representatives and other policy-making organizations, through the IIPA. The IIPA has stimulated many studies on piracy globally and ahs set the terms of the debate.

The organization of enforcement.

Joe shows a table of prices of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida in six countries. The legal price ranges from $8.50 in India to $20.50 in S. Africa (US dollars), but compared to the local incomes, the price is $760 in India and a “mere” $75 in Mexico. But the pirate price in India is $0.40-$1.2, with a corresponding drop in the price compared to local income. The prices are much lower for legal copies of domestically-produced CDs. Same is true for movie DVDs. Where a local company owns its distribution, the prices tend to compete with pirates. Joe says that over the past 10 years, the price of pirated copies has dropped to very close to marginal prices. We’re at a transitional moment, he says, to purely digital media.

He shows a chart of the structure of policy-making organizations, with industry associations feeding into the IIPA, which hands them off to the USTR, which then passes them through 85% of the time. Joe says the study has spent a lot of time unpacking the IIPA’s annual table of losses due to piracy in multiple countries; the data is opaque, although it’s becoming less so. (The IIPA does not compile info about the US.) The table shows “levels,” i.e., what percentage of media in a country are pirated. In Argentina, it’s 75% of business sw. In Brunei, it’s 100% of music.

A questioner points out that not every pirated work would have been purchased if it could not be pirated. Joe says the report goes into the methodological terrain pretty deeply. But, he says, “the default is secrecy” in these reports. “All of this is a black box, and very deliberately so.” He says that their credibility has so eroded that they’d do better to become more transparent.

The USTR can put you on a watch list, priority watch list, and a priority foreign country list “which is a fast track to sanctions.” The acceptance of the WTO, however, meant that sanctions could not be applied to WTO members (because it requires multilateral processes), so the sanctioned countries graph flatlined. The number of warnings, however, went up.

There are few prosecutions in most countries, but lots of raids to confiscate goods. The raids become the punishment. “The industry groups have successfully enlisted the police” but have run into obstacles on the judicial end. In the few cases that can be prosecuted, there are “spectacular punishments.” There has been competition for enforcement resources among companies that have access to them. The industry is so woven into the enforcement process, they can direct and even fund the raids. “There’s just no boundary between public and private power.” Film companies are the best at deploying state resources. The demand for enforcement gives rise to business models, starting with bribing the police, to blackmailing people who have been detected with infringing materials.

Q: Is it understood by the populace that they’re doing something illegal?
A: Yes, but it’s an everyday activity.
Q: Are people worried about being caught?
A: Other countries than the US don’t focus on consumer-level enforcement.
Q: In my country people don’t know it’s illegal.
A: In our research, there’s usually no ambiguity. The lower price is the figure.

Q: Correlations?
A: There are loose correlations between GDP and piracy, but they vary according to media type. The content business model is to keep prices high and just wait it out for incomes to go up. Of course, the price of tech is dropping faster than income is growing.

Piracy is de-formalizing, he says. It’s no longer the small storefront. It’s the street vendor and others less vulnerable to raids. Enforcement against retail optical disk sales has worked. But that just pushed it out into the street.

Q: Do the charts include works that are distributed as unlicensed as intended?
A: It’s a black box.

Q: Do people have a reason to buy legal works for anything except fear of enforcement?
A: There’s no fear of enforcement. People buy legal works only for other reasons. In several of the countries, there are home-grown enforcement campaigns that come from domestic artists.

Q: What will be the take-away of the report?
A: It won’t be liked by industry lobbyists because it departs from the theft narrative that has defined the debate. It’s written from the perspective of the developing economies, where the reasons and conditions for piracy are just not part of the piracy of debate. You never hear about problems of pricing, for example. Our goal is to encourage developing cvountries to ssert more control over their IP policies and enforcement in order to enrich their own culture.
Q: Is there anything a developing country can do about pricing?
A: Depends on the sector. E.g., the biz sw strategy is to allow rampant priacy to ensure universal adoption, and then they begin to enforce against the most vulnerable institutions: municipal gov’ts, etc. What’s the source of open source platforms here? Most govts have no demonstrated any consistent open source adoption strategy. A lot of half-baked strategies, but few fully implemented ones. But that seems to be an adequate outcome. They want a ubiquitous platform of supported sw, which they get with pirated copies of Windows and MS Office. The OS advocates are often being gamed by MSFT’s high-level strategy. “This is an optimal strategy for the software companies. Microsoft wouldn’t have it any other way.” The enforcement rhetoric doesn’t match the sw companies’ strategies. MSFT could enforce Windows 7 piracy in China, but if they did, Linux would be the standard overnight. They’re still growing 30%. If you’re an open sw advocate, piracy is a real problem [because it lets countries use Microsoft for free]. The President of Romania in 2007 at a press conf with Bill Gates in 2007 said that piracy is part of their relationship with MSFT. [It's a national freemimum policy - dw]

By the way, Joe says, they’ve found no connections between piracy and drug trafficking, prostitution, organized crime, or terrorism. There are little overlaps but nothing systematic. This is despite industry claims that piracy funds organized crime and terrorism.

Joe points to the famous Jack Valenti quote that the VCR is to the US film industry what the Boston strangler is to a woman at home alone. [God bless Valenti! We miss you, Jack! - dw] On the other hand, Robert Bauer of the MPA has said (Joe says) that we should treat piracy as a signal of unmet demand and that the task is then to “find a way to meet that demand.”

Q: To what are things like Blu Ray an attempt to stay a step ahead of pirates?
A: It recreates scare production, and thus the conditions for smuggling-based pirate economies. There are always opportunities for that to re-emerge. Blu Ray at the moment has no impact on the markets we looked at.

More Stories By David Weinberger

David is the author of JOHO the blog (www.hyperorg.com/blogger). He is an independent marketing consultant and a frequent speaker at various conferences. "All I can promise is that I will be honest with you and never write something I don't believe in because someone is paying me as part of a relationship you don't know about. Put differently: All I'll hide are the irrelevancies."

@ThingsExpo Stories
In the last blog, we looked at the impact of Internet of Things on industry and society, just like the Industrial Revolution did before it. But to date most smart city projects, such as green areas, smart trams, bike-sharing schemes and smart electricity grids, have been of relatively modest scale. In the not so distant future, we will reach a point where a city’s data infrastructure will be as important as its transportation, utilities and roads. How far are we from science fiction to reality? Below are some examples of what is already happening.
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...