GAO reports “positive economic effects of counterfeiting and piracy” !

CNET’s Greg Sandoval notes that a new Government Accountability Office report: Intellectual Property: Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods suggests that figures often cited by the film and music industries to represent losses due to piracy and illegal copying cannot be substantiated, and ignore the positive economic impacts of same.

The accountability office even noted the existence of data that shows piracy may benefit consumers in some cases.

“Some experts we interviewed and literature we reviewed identified potential positive economic effects of counterfeiting and piracy,” The GAO wrote. “Some consumers may knowingly purchase a counterfeit or pirated product because it is less expensive than the genuine good or because the genuine good is unavailable, and they may experience positive effects from such purchases.”

“Consumers may use pirated goods to ‘sample’ music, movies, software, or electronic games before purchasing legitimate copies,” the GAO continued. “(This) may lead to increased sales of legitimate goods.”


..experts disagree over the potential impacts of piracy on jobs. One leader in the field told the GAO that piracy kills jobs, while another said “any effects are unclear” because job loss in one sector may result in a “rise in other industries as workers are hired to produce counterfeits.”