Knocking on Heaven’s door: User preferences on digital cultural distribution

Joan Josep Vallbé, Balázs Bodó*, João P. Quintais, Christian W. Handke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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This paper explores the social, demographic and attitudinal basis of consumer support of a Copyright Compensation System (CCS), which, for a small monthly fee would legalise currently infringing online social practices such as private copying from illegal sources and online sharing of copyrighted works. We do this by first identifying how different online and offline, legal and illegal, free and paying content acquisition channels are used in the media market using a cluster-based classification of respondents. Second, we assess the effect of cultural consumption on the support for a shift from the status quo towards alternative, CCS-based forms of digital cultural content distribution. Finally, we link these two analyses to identify the factors that drive the dynamics of change in digital cultural consumption habits. Our study shows significant support to a CCS compared to the status quo by both occasional and frequent buyers of cultural goods, despite the widespread adoption of legal free and paying online services by consumers. The nature of these preferences are also explored with the inclusion of consumer preference intensities regarding certain CCS attributes. Our results have relevant policy implications, for they outline CCS as a reform option. In particular, they point evidence-based copyright reform away from its current direction in the EU of stronger enforcement measures, additional exclusive rights, and increased liability and duties of care for online platforms. This work shows that CCS may be an apt policy tool to hinder piracy and potentially increase right holder revenues, while respecting fundamental rights and promoting technological development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternet Policy Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019

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© 2019, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. All rights reserved.

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