Economists Urge Government to Stop War on Piracy

In an advisory report two economy professors are urging a government to rethink new anti-piracy legislation currently being drafted. The professors argue that harsher anti-piracy measures will only benefit the large media companies and prominent artists, at the expense of users and upcoming artists.

The Spanish Government has recently proposed new legislation under which BitTorrent sites could be taken offline without a judicial order. The new Sustainable Economy Law, sponsored by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, further includes a wide range of measures that are aimed at protecting copyright holders from online piracy.

It comes as no surprise that the new legislation has been met with firm opposition from the public. They are now joined by Professor Pablo Fernández and Professor Michele Boldrin, who have published a report arguing that the new law might do more harm than good.

The report, published by the economy research center FEDEA, harshly criticizes the Government’s plans to clamp down on the file-sharing public. They say that the current proposals are a “useless and an ineffective way to defend the artists because it is already an ancient form of fighting piracy.”

According to professors Fernandez and Boldrin, the proposed legislation only benefits the major labels and artists “at the expense of users and lesser-known artists.” They further say that it would be more effective for the entertainment industry to explore new business models instead of clinging to an old model that has proven to be ineffective.

“The Internet has changed the playing field and there are new rules that would allow a substantial reduction in property rights,” Professor Pablo Vazquez said commenting on the report. The researchers therefore advise the Government to stop its war on piracy and come up with legislation that would allow for reduced copyright terms .

In their report the professors rightfully argue that the Internet has drastically changed the way users interact with media. If tougher anti-piracy legislation is implemented, digital innovation may be hampered due to unnecessary restrictions on Internet use.

Under the current laws Spanish citizens are allowed to share copyrighted files for non-commercial use. Websites that offer links to copyrighted files are also acting within the boundaries of the law as long as they do not profit directly from infringements.

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