We review strategies that movie distributors have used to cope with piracy, copying, and sharing of movies in the United States in four categories: “hard goods” commercial piracy, consumer theft of pay TV signals, consumer copying and sharing of videos and pay TV, and (mostly in prospect) Internet file sharing. In the past, distributors have mainly sought to raise costs of engaging in these activities by increasing legal jeopardy, advantaging anti-copy technology, and reducing original sources of supply. They appear to have effectively reduced or contained most piracy, copying, and sharing of movies in the U.S., at least with analog media. Movie distributors are following similar strategies with digital media, including Internet file sharing. Digital media raise the stakes because of lower costs of copying or sharing and higher quality of outputs. Digital outputs are not always as high quality as source originals, however, and digital rights management (DRM) technologies potentially improve distributor control. The movie studios now face technological, demand, and political uncertainties in the U.S., notably in maintaining or achieving technically compatible DRM systems to control file sharing and PPV/VOD copying. Implications for foreign markets and directions for research are discussed.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 9, 2007
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