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Swedish anti-piracy law resulted in boost of music sales, drop in Internet traffic

According to TorrentFreak, once the Swedish government implemented an anti-piracy law dubbed IPRED, legal sales of music spiked dramatically, while Internet traffic dropped significantly as well. IPRED allows copyright holders to request the personal details of people who allegedly steal copyrighted content.

Economists based at Sweden’s Uppsala University found that, as a result of IPRED, “the reform decreased Internet traffic by 16% and increased music sales by 36% during the first six months.” The researchers discovered that “pirated music therefore seems to be a strong substitute to legal music.” The team’s findings will be published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

However, the law’s effects started to taper off after a while. TorrentFreak notes that after six months, Internet traffic and music sales returned to normal levels, though the spike in digital music sales stood pat. Why? That’s attributed to the sluggish pace at which the Swedish legal system operates.

“The deterrent effect decreased quickly, possibly because of the few and slow legal processes. Law enforcement through convictions therefore seems to be a necessary ingredient for the long-run success of a copyright protection law,” the economists said. They conclude that “it is still possible that further convictions would restore an effect that is more long-lasting,”

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