Research: Copyright Policy Is Borked Because Everyone’s Ignoring Physical Piracy

Five months after it was commissioned by a government advisory to research non-internet digital piracy, a consulting group has concluded – we need more research.

BOP Consulting didn’t undertake new research of its own for the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP), which advises ministers and the Intellectual Property Office, but, rather, conducted literature reviews on several previous papers that have tried to quantify copyright abuse…

The result, its wordy Changing Attitudes & Behaviours in the ‘Non-Internet’ Digital World and their Implications for Intellectual Property paper, concludes: “(Previous research) is of limited use to policy-makers concerned with intellectual property regulation. We still know far too little about many of the dimensions of these changes that will help both industry and government.”

That should worry both of those sides – the Gowers review of 2006 already advised government changes on many aspects of intellectual property, while Lord Carter’s 2009 Digital Britain white paper has been worked up in to a bill and is slap-bang in the middle of going through parliament. Both those papers have relied on research like that sifted by BOP to generate copyright policy, like the bill’s key graduated-response piracy measure. It was the Gowers review that established SABIP itself in 2008.

“There appears to be surprisingly little quantitative research on the scale of piracy in the UK, largely because it overwhelmingly focuses on the impact of illegal downloading (alone),” BOP’s paper says…

“It is not helpful to analyse the phenomena as a simple dichotomy between