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The Unintended Consequences of Antipiracy Laws on Markets with Asymmetric Piracy: The Case of the French Movie Industry

Christophe Bellégo () and Romain De Nijs ()
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Christophe Bellégo: Centre De Recherche En éConomie Et Statistique, École Nationale De La Statistique Et De L'administration Économique, 91120 Palaiseau, France;
Romain De Nijs: romain.de-nijs@polytechnique.edu

Information Systems Research, 2020, vol. 31, issue 4, 1064-1086

Abstract: Using the French antipiracy law known as HADOPI as a natural experiment, we study the asymmetric effects of online piracy on cinema admissions. Applying four estimation strategies at different levels of observation (town, movie, country, and consumer), we find that the introduction of the law is associated with a 9% increase in the market share of American movies. This increase occurs at the expense of other movies. Although we find an increase in overall admissions, this effect is not statistically significant. These findings primarily originate from a high initial level of asymmetric piracy between American and other movies, which was attenuated by the antipiracy law, resulting in a fiercer competition between movies. The results can also be explained by the behavior of younger consumers and might be caused by consumers’ budget or time constraints. We exclude positive shocks on the relative quality of American movies, the advent of three-dimensional movies, supply-side reactions by firms, and word-of-mouth effects of illegal downloads as explanations for this redistributive effect.

Keywords: internet; online piracy; redistributive effects; natural experiments; movies; online/offline substitution; regulation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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