THE BODS AT THE European Commission has been accused of burying a report into piracy and its effect on industry and artists because it did not produce the negative result that it was looking for.
The report (PDF) was loaded from the start. The EC threw some ones and a lot of zeroes at a Dutch consultancy in 2014 to look into "displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU," and sought to ascertain how much money pirates were draining out of Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes.
It was completed in 2015 and then sat on for two years according to the curious Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda who reckons that something sniffy is going on.
"In January 2014, the European Commission awarded the Dutch company Ecorys a contract worth €360.000 to conduct a study on the question, Does copyright infringement negatively affect legal sales?" she wrote.
"The 300-page study was delivered to the Commission in May 2015, but was never published. Until today - I have managed to get access to a copy. The study's conclusion: With the exception of recently released blockbusters, there is no evidence to support the idea that online copyright infringement displaces sales."
Funny that. Reda said that this is not the first evidence to suggest that this is the case, and questioned what would motivate her peers to suppress the findings. We suspect that it is the butter-popcorn stained icy fingers of the copyright cartels, a concern that is not abetted by Reda's claim that her colleagues turned a deaf ear to her questions about the report.
"This study may have remained buried in a drawer for several more years to come if it weren't for an access to documents request I filed under the European Union's Freedom of Information law on July 27, 2017, after having become aware of the public tender for this study dating back to 2013. The Commission failed twice to respond to my request in time, but I expect a final answer with the study and some supplemental material to be officially released by the end of this week," she added.
"I would like to invite the Commission to become a provider of more solid and timely evidence to the copyright debate. Such data that is valuable both financially and in terms of its applicability should be available to everyone when it is financed by the European Union - it should not be gathering dust on a shelf until someone actively requests it."
We say, All Hail Julia Reda. µ
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