Impact of Legal Threats on Online Music Sharing Activity: An Analysis of Music Industry Legal Actions

Posted: 29 Oct 2005

See all articles by Sudip Bhattacharjee

Sudip Bhattacharjee

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management; US Census Bureau

Ram D. Gopal

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management

Kaveepan Lertwachara

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management

James R. Marsden

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management

Abstract

The music industry has repeatedly expressed concerns over online music sharing activity and its potentially devastating impact on revenues. Until recently, attempts to control online file-sharing have been primarily through consumer education and legal action against the operators of networks that facilitated file-sharing.

Recent legal action against individual file-sharers marked an unprecedented shift in the industry's strategy in its latest anti-piracy campaign. The industry chose to focus on a relatively small group of individuals and maximize the publicity surrounding their legal action to discourage overall participation in file-sharing networks. However, the impact of these legal threats on individual file sharers is little known. In this research, we passively track the online file-sharing behavior of over 2000 individuals and examine the impact of these threats on their behavior.

Our results suggest that individuals who share a substantial number of music files react to legal threats differently from those who share a lesser number of files. Importantly, our analysis indicates that even after these legal threats, overall availability of music files on these networks remains substantial.

Keywords: File sharing, music, legal threat, risk, utility, online behavior, RIAA

JEL Classification: C14, D12, D64, K42

Suggested Citation

Bhattacharjee, Sudip and Gopal, Ram D. and Lertwachara, Kaveepan and Marsden, James R., Impact of Legal Threats on Online Music Sharing Activity: An Analysis of Music Industry Legal Actions. Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=827566

Sudip Bhattacharjee (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management ( email )

2100 Hillside Road, U-1041
Storrs, CT 06269-1041
United States

HOME PAGE: http://users.business.uconn.edu/sbhattacharjee

US Census Bureau ( email )

4600 Silver Hill Road
D.C., WA 20233
United States

Ram D. Gopal

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

Kaveepan Lertwachara

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

James R. Marsden

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

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