IEMS Newsletter - May 2016 - page 1

Digital entertainment industries are
blooming in emerging markets such as China
and in India’s Bollywood, particularly for
makers of movie production-related software.
Taking the movie industry as an example,
in 2012 the total gross revenue of the top
ten domestic films was US $500 million for
China and US $20.9 million for India. While
impressive, these figures could have been
significantly higher had China and India
implemented more effective technical measures
against copyright infringement. As illegal
movie downloads become more pervasive and
emerging markets introduce a growing number
of their populations to the internet, movie
studios can expect less-than-optimal revenues
and overall digital piracy numbers to increase.
The impact of copyright infringement on the
movie industry is particularly noteworthy. For
instance, in 2012, movie revenues climbed to
US $10.8 billion while music revenues were
US $1.7 billion. Given that movie revenues in
particular are so high, the movie industry has
the most to lose given the burgeoning issue of
movie piracy.
To combat online copyright infringement,
the United States and United Kingdom have
adopted technical measures to de-list infringing
materials. Delisting can prevent piracy by
removing sites with infringing material from the
search results and indexes of search engines
such a Google, Bing, and others, effectively
making the website “invisible” to those not
already familiar with a given website. As recent
trials in France have proven, such measures
are an efficient way for policymakers to
combat copyright infringement. In the United
States, de-listing is one of the three major
enforcement mechanisms under the “Stop
Online Piracy Act” (SOPA). In early 2012 in
the United Kingdom, major entertainment
companies proposed voluntary regulations for
search engines to de-list infringing websites.
Leading entertainment companies are keen to
see such measures expanded to other major
The issue of copyright infringement is
exacerbated in emerging market countries
due to multiple factors, including weak
enforcement and unavailability of legitimate
copies of digital goods. Furthermore, in
emerging markets, policies aimed at fighting
copyright infringement are afforded fewer
resources and are thus less effective than the
policies in developed countries. In recognition
of this fact, we have tried to identify more
effective strategies for emerging market
countries to de-list websites with infringing
material, with requests for de-listing handled
in a more efficient and timely manner.
Pirate Flag
, CC0 1.0
Digital Copyright Infringement
in Emerging Markets:
Countering Piracy through
Smarter Search Engine
James S.H. Kwok
Kai-Lung Hui
As digital copyright infringement
becomes more pervasive
in developing economies,
policymakers wanting to fight
such infringement can adopt
search engine de-listing policies,
effectively allowing copyright
holders to take down the links
of websites featuring infringing
material from search engines.
Searches for copyright infringing
movie downloads tend to peak
at both the movie’s theatre
release date as well as its DVD
release date.
By focusing de-listing activities
around the peak months of
infringing searches (near release
dates), movie piracy can be
reduced considerably, even by as
much as 90%.
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