The Impact of Online Piracy Website Blocking on Legal Media Consumption

36 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2024

See all articles by Brett Danaher

Brett Danaher

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros College of Business and Economics

Liron Sivan

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Michael D. Smith

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Rahul Telang

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: February 12, 2024

Abstract

This study investigates how piracy website blocking implemented by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) impacts the consumption of piracy and of legal video content. Using browsing data from Brazil and India, we examine shifts in user behavior during three waves of website blocking occurring in December 2019 and September 2020 in India, and July 2021 in Brazil. Using the methodology employed by Danaher et al. (2020) to study piracy website blocking in the UK from 2012 to 2014, we find that all three waves of block in our study caused statistically and economically significant increases in usage of legal media sites.

Our results are consistent with those in the prior UK study showing that piracy website blocking can lead to increases in legal consumption. Specifically, website blocking in India in 2019 and 2020 caused an 8.1% and 3.1% increase in legal consumption, and website blocking in Brazil in 2021 caused 5.2% increase in legal consumption. Importantly, this provides evidence that website blocking in Brazil and India in 2019, 2020, and 2021 has a similar effect as it did in the UK in 2013 and 2014, despite the fact that during that intervening time the landscape of piracy and legal consumption has changed significantly. In short, our results suggest that piracy website blocking remains an effective strategy for increasing legal consumption of copyrighted content.

Keywords: Piracy, regulation, digital distribution, motion picture industry, natural experiment

JEL Classification: L5, L8, L82, L86, M2

Suggested Citation

Danaher, Brett and Sivan, Liron and Smith, Michael D. and Telang, Rahul, The Impact of Online Piracy Website Blocking on Legal Media Consumption (February 12, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4723522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4723522

Brett Danaher

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros College of Business and Economics ( email )

1 University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Liron Sivan

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Hamburg Hall
4800 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Michael D. Smith (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/~mds

Rahul Telang

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

4800 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-1155 (Phone)

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