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Saturday, September 1, 2012

CD Sales in Canada

As you know, there’s been lots of controversy on the question of file-sharing and how this activity affected the entertainment industry. There were a lot of studies, some of which claimed that the file-sharing is actually helping with sales, while others claimed the exact opposite. Recently, another study was conducted on how file-sharing affected CD sales in Canada by Birgitte Andersen, a Danish academic working in the UK.

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However, the first survey on this issue was taken in 2006 by an economics professor Liebowitz at the University of Texas. His study was highly regarded, and after a look into file-sharing, he came to a conclusion that it had seriously harmed the recording industry. A year before, Professor also criticized the idea that unauthorized file-sharing helped copyright holders.

Still, not everybody agreed with his opinion, including Birgitte Andersen. Her study was first published by Industry Canada’s official website four years, titled “The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music”. It has confirmed that a P2P file-sharing actually tends to increase rather than decrease music purchasing.

After Andersen’s study was published, Michael Geist labeled it as a “must read” and concluded that the music industry had benefited from peer-to-peer, so there was no emergency that necessitates legislative intervention to reform the Copyright Act. Geist continued to defend and praise Birgitte Andersen, particularly after her paper was scrutinized by Liebowitz who claimed that her report was a result not just implausible but even impossible to be true.

Then, in March 2010, Andersen withdrew her initial claim by publishing a revised report in collaboration with her co-author Marion Frenz. They concluded that there was no association between the number of P2P files downloaded and CD album sales, so peer-to-peer file-sharing can’t be blamed for the decline in CD markets.

Finally, last week, professor George Barker at the Australia’s National University published a study based on Birgitte Andersen’s two surveys, where he said that her findings were “fundamentally flawed”. The most interesting fact is that Industry Canada is still keeping Andersen’s original study on their official website, even though it was abandoned by the author and also proved to be wrong by both Liebowitz and Barker. 

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