Essays on Dissertation Interim Report Assignment

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n. b. this document is a template, so these page numbers reflect where the sections are right now, and are changed as the paper grows. It’s just my own odd way of formatting-as-I-go. Abstract(To be added after report is otherwise completed. 100-120 words)Executive Summary(To be added after report is otherwise completed. 500-600 words)IntroductionPiracy of copyrighted material, which can be generally defined as the copying of a work of literature, music, or film without compensating the owner of the rights of publication, is not a new concept. The invention of the photocopier, the cassette recorder, and the videotape recorder all provoked complaints of illegal reproduction and dire warnings of the death of the publishing and entertainment industries in the past.

Not only were the alarms obviously unjustified, the impact of new technology could not be accurately measured. The Internet Age, however, has changed all that. Not only is there credible evidence that piracy, mostly in the form of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing, is doing measurable damage to the film and music industries, the new technologies used for piracy make it possible to accurately measure the extent of this activity.

(Liebowitz, 2006)Intellectual property and copyright are issues at the core of eBusiness, and the objective of this dissertation is to discover how technology could be used to develop business strategies to combat the large and growing problem of Internet piracy. The primary focus of this study is on the UK film industry: the extent and impact of movie piracy in the UK, the threats posed to the long-term health of the industry, steps being taken to combat the problem of piracy, and recommendations for further industry action.

A vast amount of research has been conducted on the piracy issue, but this study is unique in the respect that none have yet focused particularly on the British movie industry. In the first part of this report, a clear definition of piracy is developed with regard to the difficulty in separating what constitutes a copyright infringement from “fair use”. Copyright and intellectual property, concepts that were easily understood when the products of creativity were something physical, such as a book, a music album, or a videotape, have become more complicated by the development of Internet technology.

(ACE, 2003, and Gasser & Ernst, 2006) Once this necessary definition is established, the various methods of piracy are explored, with specific attention to the growth and function of P2P file-sharing networks. The second part of this report attempts to determine the real extent of the economic impact of piracy on the entertainment industry and on the UK film industry in particular, whose claimed losses vary from slightly over one billion dollars in 2005 (Motion Picture Association/LEK, 2006) to £338 million (about $580 million) in 2006.

(UK Film Council, 2009) Accurately determining the financial losses to creative industries is difficult, however, because it is necessarily based on assumptions of consumer behaviour that are impossible to test. For example, it cannot be known with any certainty whether a person who normally downloads movies through a file-sharing network would pay to watch all or any of those movies in a theatre if the download option was no longer available, a supposition most industry estimates of losses makes. (Liebowitz, 2004) For the purpose of developing a realistic estimate of the losses of the UK film industry to piracy, this paper makes the assumption that most file-sharers would not pay to watch most movies under those circumstances, which is largely supported by the results of the research presented in part three.

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