Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Solutions to improve the outlook of intellectual property regulation

An EU initiative aimed to bridge the gap between bottom-up social norms governing informal media economies and top-down copyright regimes.
Solutions to improve the outlook of intellectual property regulation
The EU-funded IME (Informal media economies) project explored the conflict between various stakeholders concerning the future of intellectual property regulation. It mapped informal networks where production and exchange of different intellectual properties occur. This was done to understand the role such informal networks play in various cultural ecosystems.

Work began by researching illegal websites and pirate libraries that gather and disseminate copyrighted works such as scientific monographs, textbooks and journal articles.

Project partners employed methods like participant observation, historical research and interviews to reconstruct the development of pirate scholarly libraries and the unique economic, social and political conditions that are a factor in their continued survival in an unfavourable legal and political climate. Results show that most library services are based and operate out of Russia thanks to ideal post-Soviet political, economic, social and legal conditions.

The IME team devised statistical models to explain the piratical availability and use of scholarly resources. It used legal availability and price details of available titles from piratical sources to identify factors that cause demand through these underground sites. Results show that pirate scholarly libraries contain the most pertinent and current Western academic mainstream titles mainly available in print. They also show that scholarly publications in book form lack electronic accessibility because e-libraries and individual e-book sales have serious limitations. An analysis revealed that Central and Eastern European countries have the most active users in terms of per capita downloads.

Researchers proposed several solutions, most notably the all-you-can-eat, flat-rate digital service approach which enjoys strong support from digital consumers and pirates – the two most dedicated users of legal and illegal access alternatives. It can generate considerable revenues to compensate rights holders for any potential revenue loss from more conventional distribution means.

IME successfully demonstrated that the existence and exhaustive use of piratical access options are clear indicators of various market failures within legal marketplaces. The academic publishing field and policymakers stand to benefit from the outcomes.

Related information


Intellectual property, informal media economies, IME, pirate scholarly libraries
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