by George S. Ford
March 13, 2014
Earlier this year, the music industry sent its 100 millionth piracy notice to Google. This shockingly large number is but one piece of evidence pointing to how rampant piracy has become and how it threatens the arts. While recent years have shown some promise for revenue stability, piracy remains a significant problem. Congress is actively reviewing copyright law. An increasing amount of research is examining copyright, including the effects of piracy. Intuitively, piracy reduces the returns on investments made in the arts, and thus discourages such investments (of time and money). This logic is embedded in the Constitution’s Copyright Clause, which empowers Congress “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” by granting authors and inventors an “exclusive right” to their works. There are, however, studies that argue that piracy has not hurt and, possibly even helped, professional artists and performers. This claim has little, if any, sound empirical support.