On April 1st 2009, Sweden implemented its controversial IPRED law which promised to make it easier to track down those sharing illicit media via the Internet. Now, exactly 6 months on, what has been achieved with this legislation and what effect has it had on the country’s file-sharers?
The introduction of Sweden’s controversial Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) gave rights holders the authority to request the personal details of alleged Internet copyright infringers so that they may be pursued through the legal system.
On April 1st this year the new law became active and immediately there was a reported dramatic drop in Internet traffic, which many believed could be attributed to file-sharers becoming more cautious about being identified by anti-piracy and entertainment companies.
While many forecasted that file-sharing lawsuits would quickly follow, in fact the reverse is true. So far, no action has been taken against music pirates at all – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming, it is, albeit somewhat later than expected.
But at this point and in the absence of lawsuits, how has the introduction and awareness of IPRED affected file-sharing activities?
According to new research carried out by SIFO on behalf of TV operator Viasat – who earlier this year said that although affected by piracy would not use the new legislation at all – 11 % of Swedes continue to download copyright works using the Internet.
When split between the sexes, 16% of men said they are continuing to download compared to 5% of women.
Of the traditionally download-intensive 15 to 29 year olds, 25% of those questioned said they are carrying on their activities regardless of the law.
While 76% of the file-sharers questioned said that they aren’t intimidated by IPRED, 16% of all respondents said they had stopped illicit downloading completely.
Overall, a significant 46% said that they could be encouraged to stop illicit sharing if provided with better legal alternatives. Just over a quarter of respondents said they are happy with existing ‘legitimate’ services through which they can buy music and movies.
“We need more good, reasonably priced legal alternatives to prevent illegal downloading,” said Viasat CEO Hans Skarplöth. “Only 27 percent think that the alternatives are good enough today. The commercial operators must therefore act more vigorously to attract more people to become legal while we must become better at information about the options that actually exist.”
Bonver, a company providing bricks and mortar stores with DVD movies, said that since the introduction of IPRED, rental has increased by a massive 40%.
According to CEO Gerard Versteegh, online movie downloads have benefited the most, with a reported increase of 115%.
These digital sales figures should be interpreted with caution though. Movie downloads are on the rise worldwide and the reported 115% increase might very well be attributed to other factors.