Media Piracy in Emerging Economies is a new, comprehensive study on the impact and role of piracy on/in some of the biggest developing countries: Brazil, Russia, India. The study is out: http://www.scribd.com/doc/50196972/MPEE-1-0-1
Follow the latest development at http://piracy.ssrc.org/
From the Introduction:
Media piracy has been called “a global scourge,” “an international plague,” and “nirvana for criminals,”1 but it is probably better described as a global pricing problem. High prices for media goods, low incomes, and cheap digital technologies are the main ingredients of global media piracy. If piracy is ubiquitous in most parts of the world, it is because these conditions are ubiquitous. Relative to local incomes in Brazil, Russia, or South Africa, the price of a CD, DVD, or copy of Microsoft Office is five to ten times higher than in the United States or Europe. Licit media goods are luxury items in most parts of the world, and licit media markets are correspondingly tiny. Industry estimates of high rates of piracy in emerging markets—68% for software in Russia, 82% for music in Mexico, 90% for movies in India—reflect this disparity and may even understate the prevalence of pirated goods.
Acknowledging these price effects is to view piracy from the consumption side rather than the production side of the global media economy. Piracy imposes an array of costs on producers and distributors—both domestic and international—but it also provides the main form of access in developing countries to a wide range of media goods, from recorded music, to film, to software. This last point is critical to understanding the tradeoffs that define piracy and enforcement in emerging markets. The enormously successful globalization of media culture has not been accompanied by a comparable democratization of media access—at least in its legal forms. The flood of legal media goods available in high-income countries over the past two decades has been a trickle in most parts of the world.
The growth of digital piracy since the mid-1990s has undermined a wide range of media business models, but it has also disrupted this bad market equilibrium and created opportunities in emerging economies for price and service innovations that leverage the new technologies. In our view, the most important question is not whether stronger enforcement can reduce piracy and preserve the existing market structure—our research offers no reassurance on this front—but whether stable cultural and business models can emerge at the low end of these media markets that are capable of addressing the next several billion media consumers. Our country studies provide glimpses of this reinvention as costs of production and distribution decline and as producers and distributors compete and innovate.