YEAR 2019 N.º 2

ISSN 2182-9845

Copyright, internet is not the enemy. Thoughts on the “Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU” hidden report

Alberto Hidalgo Cerezo


Copyright; Internet; Intellectual Property; Digital transition; Revenues; Piracy; Music; Video games; Movies.


Since the dawning days of the popularization of the internet, it has been regarded as an enemy for copyright. Cultural industries have claimed for the losses derived from rampant piracy. That is their side of the coin. In 2013, the European Commission tendered a study that run over 28.000 polls and had an extension of over 300 pages to deepen into this subject: “Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU”. It was finally handled by 2015. However, the report never saw the light of day. Why? In July 2017, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Julia Reda filed an application for accessing public documentation. The results of the report were surprising, stating that piracy in some cases was not hurting revenues, while in others, it was in fact enhancing the sale of copyrighted content by legal channels. Was it an unexpected result for the European Commission? Now, in 2019, with the perspective of time, it is easy to see that internet and digital distribution was not a threat, but an opportunity. Profits in all industries show wealthy increasements coming from digital sources. Steady growth figures for online markets of music, audiovisual and videogaming industry do not match the old discourse anymore. This work approaches to what this report said, why it was not made public, and how figures from 2019 prove that, perhaps, it was ahead of its time, and internet was not an enemy to fear all along. 

Table of contents

 1. History of a lost report
1.1. How the “Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU” spent two years in the dark and finally got to be published in 2017
1.2. Stubborn data and mislead of the Single Digital Market agenda
1.3. Regulation (EC) No. 1049/2001 and how the report was finally published
2. Main ideas from the report
2.1. General approach and music industry as an example
2.2. Films as the most affected category. The disruption and success of the Video on Demand models
2.3. The enhancing effect of piracy. Is it surprising that it actually boosted sales? The videogames market
2.4. The singularity of the book market
3. Additional considerations
3.1. Apart from adapting to consumer tastes, price adjustments were needed.
3.2. Lack of education is an important factor. Value of copyrighted works needs more awareness
3.3. Changes over time: a 5 years’ perspective
4. Closing words