Ever since Industry Canada released an independent study it sponsored on the impact of peer-to-peer file sharing in late 2007, the Canadian Recording Industry Association has worked overtime to try to discredit it. The independent study, completed by two European economists, reached the following two key conclusions:
- When assessing the P2P downloading population, there was “a strong positive relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchasing. That is, among Canadians actually engaged in it, P2P file sharing increases CD purchases.” The study estimated that 12 additional P2P downloads per month increases music purchasing by 0.44 CDs per year.
- When viewed in the aggregate (ie. the entire Canadian population), there is no direct relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchases in Canada. According to the study authors, “the analysis of the entire Canadian population does not uncover either a positive or negative relationship between the number of files downloaded from P2P networks and CDs purchased. That is, we find no direct evidence to suggest that the net effect of P2P file sharing on CD purchasing is either positive or negative for Canada as a whole.”
The study generated considerable media attention and was later published in the peer reviewed Journal of Evolutionary Economics as “Don’t blame the P2P file-sharers: The Impact of Free Music Downloads on the Purchase of Music CDs in Canada.”
With CRIA and the Balanced Copyright for Canada group scheduled to appear before the Bill C-32 committee tomorrow, CRIA is releasing a new study it commissioned that tries to discredit the Industry Canada study and reach the opposite conclusion. The author is Australian professor George Barker, who has completed CRIA-commissioned work in the past. In the years since the original study, the authors of the original study have posted responses to some criticisms including this one in 2007 and a more detailed discussion from 2010 that counters the mud-slinging that has come from several sources.