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Media piracy rampant in developing countries

In a landmark report, Media piracy in emerging economies, authors and researchers argue that media piracy in emerging economies results from a combination of high prices for media goods, low incomes, and cheap digital technologies. CDs, DVDs, and computer software, for example, cost 5 to 10 times more in Brazil, Russia, or South Africa than in the US or Europe. Strong domestic companies that could potentially lower prices of digital goods in legal markets are also lacking in many developing countries. As a result, the researchers suggest, global anti-piracy enforcement efforts have largely failed. Anti-piracy education has also been ineffective and there is no significant stigma attached to piracy in any of the countries examined. 
 
Based on three years of IDRC-supported work by some 35 researchers, the study tells two overarching stories: one traces the explosive growth of piracy as digital technologies became cheap and ubiquitous around the world; the other follows the growth of industry lobbies that have reshaped laws and law enforcement around copyright protection.
 
Media piracy in emerging economies argues that the problem of piracy is better addressed as a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets.
 
This project represents the first independent, large-scale study of music, film, and software piracy in the developing world, with a focus on Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, and Bolivia. The report received significant media coverage in Canada and abroad including in the Globe and Mail, Reuters, and the Guardian. It was also the subject of a blog by technology expert Michael Geist.

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