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Study: Illegal file sharing is good for sales

The Dutch university, University of Amsterdam, has conducted a study to identify how illegal file sharing affects sales, both from a short and long term perspective.

The study shows that around 44 percent of Dutch people over the age of 15 who have access to the Internet have used illegal file sharing one or more times in the past twelve months. Music is by far the most popular material to download via illegal file sharing in Holland, the study shows.

According to the study, it turned out that the people who share files are also the ones who buy music legally. 68 percent of those who engaged in illegal file sharing stated that they regularly buy music legally.

As for movies, the study shows that the people who download movies illegally also buy movies legally to a far greater extent than others. On average, file sharers go to the cinema as often as those who do not engage in file sharing. The same applies to those who engage in file sharing of computer games.

A whopping 63 percent of those surveyed state that they have gone out and bought music that they first downloaded for free. 80 percent state that the reason they bought the music is that they appreciate the music or want to support the artist.

The study’s summary states that only a small portion of the material distributed on file-sharing sites contributes to the entertainment industry’s losses. The study also says that file sharing has stimulated the entertainment industry in the long term.

The study can be downloaded in its entirety here (pdf, 300 kb).

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