Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Link to 200+ articles on digital piracy research

A while ago, I posted an entry about a key addition to the literature in the form of this report here which systematically reviews research on digital piracy and does so in a critical way. It highlights the many shortcomings of methodology, issues with definitions, etc.

Then I recently stumbled upon an appendix to the report which includes a full reference list of the 200+ studies reviewed, and supplemental content on the breakdown of different studies which considered predictive factors of digital piracy by 'media type' (i.e. music, movies, etc.).

At a glance, it's probably the single best entry to the world of digital piracy research possible.

A mega recommend, and an optimal way to round off 2014.


Watson, S.J., Zizzo, D.J. and Fleming, P. (2014). Determinants and Welfare Implications of Unlawful File Sharing: A Scoping Review (Working Paper No. 2014/5). Retrieved from Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy website:  http://www.create.ac.uk/publications/determinants-and-welfare-implications-of-unlawful-file-sharing-a-scoping-review/

Monday, 22 December 2014

The Soundtrack to Christmas is Changing - here's a compilation of reasons why

Hop on over to The Conversation to find my latest contribution. It's a festive one!

In the article, I review the sorts of music compilations you might fund stuffed in your stocking this year. And why. There's even a few Spotify playlists stuck in there. It's Christmas, after all.

Times are changing in this era of instant gratification with unlimited streaming and all the rest of it, and it's interesting to note that formal music compilations are not exactly an aging dinosaur.

Even if it isn't you who is buying them.

Tweets @ musicpiracyblog

Friday, 19 December 2014

New 'Crouching Tiger' sequel to be released on same day in theatres and VOD

For a long time, film critic Mark Kermode has shown support for films being released on the same day in cinemas as on VOD services. For even longer, George Lucas has championed this move. The logic is simple: this would appeal to different audiences.

It looks like next year, with the sequel to 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', this will finally happen.

The move follows the principle behind the also-penned-for-2015 move to release new albums on the same date, in an effort to minimise copyright infringement. Yet, it looks like not everyone is happy about it.

The Guardian's Ben Child reports that some cinema chains are planning on boycotting the release.

I'm excited to see how it all plays out, where Netflix really is emerging as a dominant force in entertainment. It's unclear where things are going, but innovation should always be celebrated for what it's worth and evaluated on it's successes and failures afterwards, not shot down in advance.

Twitter @musicpiracyblog

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

10 FAQ's on Twitter

Every now and then, people on Twitter ask me some questions about digital piracy that I fail to answer for a multitude of reasons, but mostly as Tweeting gives me no pleasure at all; the restricted word limit is also a major barrier.

With that in mind, this blog entry aims to address some of the common queries so I can direct people here in the future instead.

'Digital piracy is a good thing': Is it? How are you quantifying that? Good for who? There's little hard evidence on the economics of it, but to claim it is good doesn't sound very sophisticated. Good for you, perhaps, getting free stuff. But good for everyone?

'I read somewhere that...': Whoa, whoa, stop there. Get the facts right. Don't rely on what some pro-piracy website said, spitting out propaganda. Nor should you rely on industry stuff on the other side. Do some hard research. Commit.

'Musicians are filthy rich, so...': Musicians' Union data shows most musicians make less than £20,000 a year. Most musicians are not rich. You just see the rich successful ones more often in the media. And it's these guys giving music away for 'free' (even though it's not - see below).

'Music is free, right?': No, it's not. It's everywhere, and paid for in various behind-the-scenes ways. Always. When bands give away music for free, they aren't really giving it away for free at all. Recorded music is expensive to produce to a high standard.

'Pirates spend more money on music legally': The research is not crystal clear on this, but it might very well be true. With music anyway, it looks like the anomaly is accounted for when you consider live music. But the live and recorded music sectors are completely independent. And this nugget won't help you in court if and when you are caught.

'It's the fault of the music industry, they deserve it...': This does not justify copyright infringement.

'If better legal services were available, I would pay for them': Then why don't you? There are hundreds of them. They have been around for a long time.

'But Breaking Bad/Record label profits/etc.': Great for them, but that's just one case study to match your beliefs. You're not looking at the bigger picture.

'If I download something and enjoy it, I will then go and buy it': You might believe that, and it might be right. But it's not true for everyone. See the poor box-office performance of movies that get leaked before they are released, for example.

'I don't care': Well, that's your prerogative. Good on you, for at least being honest.

In effect, all of these comments stem from looking at piracy through a distorted lens. Only research papers which match the beliefs of music pirates make their way into the public sphere. If you believe piracy is good, you can argue that point easily by looking here instead of there. Once you have a belief about anything, you're locked in.

Hearing something you don't want to hear or believe doesn't make it false.

The evidence that it harms the industries isn't particularly strong, so don't think I'm asserting an anti-piracy stance. I have in fact committed a lot of time campaigning about the weak methods used in research and that we have little real knowledge on what's what.

What I won't accept are the weak excuses to justify piracy. That's all they are. Excuses.

Piracy is easy, you get free stuff, and the chance of being caught is slim. That's it.

Don't forget that when you obtain copyrighted media illegally, someone somewhere is profiting from that. Illegally. Rightsholders are denied money they are legally and morally entitled to.

If you are happy to go see 'Fast and the Furious 12', or listen to Two/Three/Four Direction, then keep at it. Investment in new talent is down (BPI) because the return on investment has no guarantee anymore.

And it looks like the cost of live concert tickets keeps rising in response to music piracy, so if you like concerts, start saving up for 2015.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 5 December 2014

Measuring infringement of intellectual property rights

A regular fixture on this blog is a critical look at the methodologies used when researching digital piracy (see here, for example).

And so, I direct you to this recent 2014 report commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office in the UK.

It's very wide-reaching, and uncovers some critical observations on the conflicting methods used to research copyright infringement, including that: 'When one method is advocated, there is failure to acknowledge the weaknesses of the proposed method or the strengths of the alternative' (Collopy et al., 2014, p. 10).

The report contains an expansive literature review, considering government, industry, and academic research independently. The authors find that the bulk of the research reviewed did not report the methodology used in sufficient detail to really allow for scrutiny.

It's well worth a read, and acts as a welcome reminder that there's a need for a common language and streamlined methodology to really allow for comparisons between different studies; the report finds that even the interpretation of IP varies across different research.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Collopy, D., Bastian, V., Drye, T., Koempel, F., Lewis, D. and Jenner, P. (2014). Measuring Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights (2014/37). Retrieved from UK government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measuring-infringement-of-intellectual-property-rights

Thursday, 27 November 2014

How giving away music for free can be profitable: A Radiohead case study

This research article completely slipped past me, but then again, there's so much research out there that it is hard to keep on top of it all.

Some seven years on from Radiohead's pay-what-you-want model of distribution 7th album 'In Rainbows' for free online, academics are still investigating the practicalities of the so-called 'honesty-box' system for other artists.

In this recent article (which is free to download), authors assess that Radiohead earned greater revenues from giving away the album for free, exploring sales data on previous releases and making comparisons with other artists over a long period of time. Notably, the research also considers Nine Inch Nails and specifically 'The Slip', which is reassuring as for the longest time it appeared it was only me who considered Reznor's work in an academic context. I will take credit for getting the ball rolling, thank you very much.

Of interest, the research finds that Nine Inch Nails did not benefit in the same way as Radiohead when giving away The Slip in 2008, but it is important to note that this album is still available for free online, a full six years after it was released: Radiohead's 'In Rainbows' was only online for free for 3 months. The key difference here is that 'The Slip' was fully intended as a gift to fans; it was after all released but months after the album 'Ghosts I'-IV' (compare that to the six year gap between 'The Fragile' and 'With Teeth'). As noted in the paper, Radiohead received far more publicity as well - this is important.

To tie in with my recent posts, the core difference here is your existing audience. What works for one band does not necessarily work for another. Consider U2's recent move with Apple which I discussed recently; the authors of the paper in fact draw critical comparisons here in a recent article on the excellent resource The Conversation where they discuss the outcomes of the paper in the context of U2 and their deal with Apple, should you wish to ponder the bigger picture.

Tweets and treats @musicpiracyblog

Saturday, 22 November 2014

"No photos, please"

Some time ago, writing a review of Roger Waters' staging of 'The Wall', I discussed the then emerging trend for 'concert spoilers' wherein fans upload video footage to YouTube and the likes and effectively minimise the impact of the show for others. You can read it here.

It's still very much a big deal, where earlier this week at a Jack White gig in Glasgow, a well-dressed gentleman appeared on stage some 15 minutes before the performance and politely requested that fans did not take photos. The audience were fine with it. Mostly

What is worth mentioning, is that Jack White had a photographer take pictures of the action all night and the images are free to download from his website. And so, fans were able to enjoy the show without messing around with their phones trying to take a good photograph (and failing). I like this.

It's a gamble asking an audience not to take photos: a lot of people will take it as being perhaps too 'up-your-own-arse' as I would call it. Others would simply reflect on an artist making a sincere request that, even with pure intentions, fans do not ruin the impact of future performances for others. A lot of work can go into a live show, especially when there's novel aspects like visuals.

Who enjoys having key plot points in movies explained to them before they go to the cinema to see a new film?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Anatomy of a research article #2

In the second of this occasional series, I will be exploring a recent study I carried out with Professor Raymond MacDonald (The University of Edinburgh). The article, titled 'Predictive factors of music piracy: An exploration of personality using the HEXACO PI-R', was published in the journal Musicae Scientiae earlier this year and can be found here.

In short, the drive behind the article was to see if personality in any contributed towards an individuals propensity to favour music piracy. The results showed that this was indeed the case, with analysis suggesting people who do favour music piracy are more likely to be open, less likely to be conscientious and less likely to be honest. With regards to the latter trait, further analysis revealed that individuals favouring piracy were less fair (or more unfair, if you like).

But how does one achieve all of this? Let's briefly consider the research process of designing a survey methods research study.

Firstly, an appropriate piece of apparatus was chosen to measure personality, the HEXACO PI-R (Lee and Ashton, 2004). This instrument was chosen over rivals due to the inclusion of the 'H' scale which explores  honesty (of interest, given the research topic). Then, to avoid the limitations of self-report methodology which plagues much research on digital piracy ("How many songs have you illegally downloaded over the last 12 months" etc.), a scale was constructed to measure attitudes towards music piracy without actually using the loaded word of 'piracy' at all - attitudes have been shown as predictors of music piracy engagement in other research.

The new instrument to measure attitudes towards music piracy (AMP-12) was pre-tested (successfully) on a small sample of participants to check it's reliability in statistical terms; such analysis effectively confirms that the questionnaire items actually ask what they aim to ask (and helped weed out the ones which did not).

This leaves us with the right tools for the job (in a manner of speaking). Next, we need some willing participants to get some data.

Using a variety of recruitment sources, all largely under the umbrella of 'opportunity sampling', a large enough sample to meet the needs of the research was sought out and completed an online version of the questionnaire (there are practical advantages to online surveys over pen-and-paper including a greater likelihood of more honest responses). Once the desired sample size was gained, the dataset was collated (further to excluding some individuals who did not finish the survey or process the materials carefully - this is routine practice).


Hypothesis-testing was carried out using a Hierarchical regression and analyses produced the results outlined in the article, including finding preference for digital music and being 24 or younger as predictors of pro-piracy attitudes. Data analysis involves asking sophisticated statistical software some big questions; in this instance, SPSS was used. Ultimately, the tests chosen informed us that the chances of our findings occuring by chance were so small that we can readily assume they had not, and reflected our observations on personality. In other words, the analysis strongly suggests, to levels of what is known as statistical significance (a shorthand for being at least 95% confident), that the results were genuine, and that personality does guide the attitudes towards music piracy amongst the sample.

The process above is not far away from that of most studies using survey methodology, with broad questions like 'How can I measure this?' guiding the process. Given we are not blessed with physical scales like time, weight, etc. (like physical sciences), Social Scientists must develop appropriate instruments for measuring whatever it is they are measuring on any given study. No one study 'proves' anything, but if, over time, the same results keep coming up using different methods and different samples, then it can be readily assumed that we're onto something. To re-iterate, no one study proves anything - what it does do, is confirm or reject various hypotheses.

In this study, the decision to choose the HEXACO PI-R (Lee and Ashton, 2004) was supported, given the novel findings on honesty which would not have been generated if a different instrument was chosen. In other words, the hypothesis that personality was a predictor of attitudes towards music piracy was upheld. The assumption behind this was that personality guides much music-related behaviour such as preference for various genres, so why not how people listen to music?

The findings (see the article for the conclusions drawn) not only further the psychological underpinnings of music piracy engagement, but have policy implications. This is, or ought to be, the desired outcomes of any empirical research: 1) To make contributions to the scientific literature on a given topic to date and 2) Generate findings to the benefit of various stakeholders in the real world.

As Shermer (2011) explains, there is a need to teach how science works, rather than simply reporting merely on what is known from science. I agree.

While it's all very well for me to go into some detail on this research article, the thinking behind it is hard to articulate given there's a lack of understanding on the experimental method, hypothesis-testing etc. in the general public. I have made some effort to explain the research process as straightforwardly as possible, and will continue to to so in future blog entries on my other research articles to date which employ a broad range of methodology.

Feedback on the success or failure of my efforts above to describe the research process would be welcome, ahead of future entries in this series.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Brown, S.C. and MacDonald. R.A.R. (2014). Predictive factors of music piracy: An exploration of personality using the HEXACO PI-R. Musicae Scientae, 18(1), 53-64.

Shermer, M. (2011). The Believing Brain. New York: Times Books.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Nice review of one of my papers on research methods used in digital piracy research

Stumbled upon a link to my recent paper critiquing research methods into digital piracy here with the quite excellent summary:

"Brown reviews conventional approaches to studying online media piracy, arguing that most of these are limited to the economic issues raised by piracy, such as negative impact on sales for the media industries. Brown critiques the unreliable data these approaches adopt and suggests scholars need to think in terms of multiple piracies, not a monolithic piracy. Brown calls for alternative, qualitative forms of studying piracy, like interviews or focus groups, in order to get at the complex social forms that constitute and drive the online, unauthorized exchange of media"

Not sure who these guys are at the Carsey-Wolf Centre, but they have clearly read my article closely and I'm delighted to read such a well put-together summary.

The article in question discussed in a previous blog entry (when it was not yet published) is now published in the journal Convergence, which can be found here.

It's an important contribution to the literature if I can say so myself, in that encourages a more critical evaluation of research findings to date by scrutinising research methods used to study this often contentious research topic.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Thursday, 30 October 2014

New e-book on digital music revolution

I haven't gotten round to reading in full yet, but there's a new e-book from music-tech writer Kyle Bylin available now over on digital publisher Leanpub. It's all about how digital startups and youth culture helped to redefine the music industry over the last few years.

It's more of a collection of essays (many originating as blog entries on Hypebot I believe) than a book per se, and it is on the short side; these things might or might not appeal to you. I direct you there as I did get a lot out of his last e-book (which was a collection of entries from different authors).

There's a free sample to download, which should get the ball rolling.

I should note, I plan on using Leanpub in the future. I will keep you all posted in due time.

Tweets and eats @musicpiracyblog

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The big names in digital piracy research: (More) Economists

Further to a recent entry detailing some prominent Economists research digital piracy, this entry collates some more big names for you to look up online.

Felix Oberholzer-Gee
Joey Waldfogel
Martin Peitz
Nicolas Curien
Patrick Waelbroeck
Tobias Regner
Peter Tschmuck

A simple cut and paste job should spawn research articles galore on personal websites, institution web pages, and other sources such as Academia.edu etc. Authors often have personal copies of their articles which they can share, upon request - there's no harm in asking. Tschmuck has a few books you will be able to find easily enough.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 17 October 2014

When living in a world where re-issues of music are more exciting than new music

Call me a sucker.

I've been enthusiastically enjoying the archival projects of The Smashing Pumpkins (and by that I of course mean Billy Corgan) over the last few years, and am very excited at the prospect of the Machina/Machina II reissue next year. I love making playlists and all these rare outtakes and live cuts make for fun compilations of 'alternative tracklistings' and so on. I have put a lot of time into this sort of thing, particularly with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which is my perhaps my favourite album of all time, if not at the very least the most meaningful.

I'm not alone out there. There has been a huge revival of interest in older bands work, informed by streaming services and so on, and many of the big players like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd have been enthusiastically getting in on this. Some of the lesser known bands like Slint are also cashing in.

Such re-issues are not however viewed with any skepticism. At least not anymore. Respectable publications include a regular rundown of their best reissue of the month (and even week), such is how built-in they are into the recorded music market today. It's like an alternative greatest hits compilation (which does appear rather unnecessary today), focusing on particular bodies of work.

Yes they are cheap to produce, given these tracks are all pre-recorded rejects, but there's real value in them. The recent 'Adore' re-issue by The Smashing Pumpkins sincerely helped me re-appraise this body of work in a new light, thanks largely to the timing of me revisiting it at the same age of the songwriter. I am also embarassed I never noticed the deliberate echoes of the closing track '17' in one of my favourite b-sides from the era 'Blissed and Gone'. There's a nice transition for me to build into a new playlist..

For loyal 'band fans', they may feel obliged to purchase these increasingly more costly relics (yes I am talking to you now Mr. Corgan) but that's a moot point in a way.

If I do have a point, it's that I very much enjoy these re-issues by my favourite bands and it's the unheard songs I long to hear, not the re-mastered versions of the albums themselves. So, in effect, it is new music I am excited to hear which is fair enough. Yet, knowing the majority of these songs were once considered inferior does sometimes leave a bad taste in my mouth (especially when they are shit, as they often are).

For now, I worry as I segue into my thirties I will reliably turn into my Dad and insist on solely listening to old music. I have every song I could ever wish to listen to at my fingertips, including music that isn't even released yet. Why do I insist on listening to the same old stuff?

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 10 October 2014

What about book piracy? #2

In what appears to be the first article on book piracy post-digital revolution (there must be a few that slipped past me over the last few years), Nkiko (in press) discusses wide-ranging issues surrounding book piracy in Nigeria.

Proposing that: "it destroys creativity, denies the authors economic benefits, and makes publishing unproductive and unattractive", this is a nice addition to the literature on digital piracy to date in as much as it formally introduces book piracy into academic discussion.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Nkiko, C. (in press). Book Piracy in Nigeria: Issues and Strategies. The Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Monday, 29 September 2014

The future of movie piracy

In what is a bit of a departure from the focus of this blog, I direct you to this excellent article over on Empire, the best movie magazine in the world.

Discussing the ongoing fight against movie piracy, the piece centres on what is often referred to as 'the carrot' rather than 'the stick' in appeasing consumer preferences; by this I of course mean rewarding good form rather than punishing bad form. To this end, the article discusses releasing movies on the same days in different territories as a means to minimise the demand for pirated movies and the rise of VOD services.

There are strong parallels with music piracy trends and I credit the writing style for being informative and entertaining at the same time, without slipping into the usual sort of anti-corporate rhetoric so common from similar sources.

Tweets @ musicpiracyblog

Friday, 26 September 2014

Thom Yorke, bit-Torrent, and the act of the surprise

It was a normal Friday, processing some words on a leading word processing programme. Then, Twitter changed it all.

Twitter is amazing. First of all, it brought to my attention that Radiohead's Thom Yorke had released a new album digitally via bit-Torrent. Then, it brought to my attention that this sort of thing is relatively common using new features on the file-sharing software. Who knew? (lots of people, seemingly)

On Monday, I downloaded my first ever digital album (Syro, by Aphex Twin). And now, on what has been a huge week for new music for me (new soundtrack for 'Gone Girl' by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross streaming), I have downloaded my second. I'm so 2014.

Released via bit-Torrent, I had to download the software after paying a modest $6. It was alien to me. But very easy. I understand the appeal of instantly being able to listen to the music. Like that.

I have never used bit-Torrent before, nor any such software. And my research into music piracy conjures up negative associations with the software, hence my surprise when I read about the new album 'Tomorrow's Modern Boxes' being released this way. As I mentioned though, others have experimented with this strategy, but oor Thom might just popularise it. Like Radiohead did the pay-what-you-want model on 7th record 'In Rainbows' in 2007.

As an expert of music piracy who also knows nothing about actually engaging in music piracy (perfect conditions for an academic), I can only assume this programme on my desktop is not a pandora's box of pirated content just waiting to happen and that they thought this through. 

And so, but a mere week-or-so after U2's efforts to distribute their latest album in an innovative way (and receiving widespread criticism in the process), it looks like Thom Yorke is back to save the universe.

Ultimately, from reading the blurb over on the official Radiohead website, it is clear the move aims to bypass the likes of Spotify which he and producer Nigel Godrich routinely slam in the press as bad for business.

Let's not forget, to return to my 'stage-in-the-game' hypothesis that has featured on many a former blog entry (and summarised in the context of Daft Punk well here) that what works best for one artist is not the same as what works best for another. Thom has a legion of fans he has earned on the back of conventional business practices in the pre-Napster '90's. This move will not catch on. Major record labels have more of a strangehold than ever before, despite appearances. 

Anyhow, let's see how it all plays out in the coming weeks.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Is the artwork for the new Aphex Twin album a satirical tribute to music piracy?

The new Aphex Twin album 'Syro' is a 2014 highlight for me. And it's not all about the music.

The artwork details a lengthy series of costings for the record, from 'Online advertising in Norway' to 'Leah's taxi from Warp office to radio station', and offers a breakdown of associated costs that most people (including myself) would never have considered with a new release.

It's all very tongue in cheek, and the actual costs remain a mystery: Does it really cost £0.02286 for 'Digital mastering including studio time, running parts and upload'?

The list even includes the cost associated with dealing with illegal uploads of copyrighted Aphex Twin songs.

It's easily my favourite artwork in some years. And a decent album too.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

How music piracy is changing the music industry landscape

For my latest contribution to The Conversation, hop on over to this piece which charts the changing relationship between recorded music and live music. I specifically consider if the rise of the live music sector is influenced by music piracy, and consider rising ticket prices in the process.

There are some links to good resources including books, which I recommend checking out.

I aim to commit more posts over on The Conversation in the future, as well as some guest posts on other websites. I will keep you posted.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

U2, Apple, and you too: A beautiful day?

Admittedly, I am not a U2 fan. I feel the need to put that out there.

Bono single-handedly ensured he would never see a dime from me when he flew his favourite hat across the atlantic for a show (this was obviously before he knew or cared about global warming and climate change).

But anyhow, his band U2, on the back of the most profitable live tour of all time, have released their new album for free via Apple where 500 million users discovered the collection of songs in their libraries whether they wanted it or not.

I'm not too bothered about the alleged invasion: it's easy enough to delete. I'm more concerned about yet another huge band giving music away for free which adds to the perception that music is in fact free. U2 will recoup all costs from making this album if they haven't already done so a hundred times over by simply attaching themselves to Apple. Sales of their back catalogue have also increased in the last few days (albeit modestly) and I'm sure 2015 tour dates are on the cards..

Don't forget, musicians make more money from live music and licensing than they do from recorded music revenue. In this interesting article about the U2 deal, Pinar Dogan explains how more money can be made from giving music away for free.

Tim Ingham, editor of Music Week shares my concerns and his interesting back-and-forth debate with journalist Andrew Mueller on the Guardian website is one of the best articles written on the topic thus far.

Reactions have been largely unkind, and this article over on NME sums it all up by explaining how the stunt "is as damaging as piracy".

It will take some time for the dust to settle on this to see what it all means, but for now, it has gotten people talking about the value of recorded music, the relevance of the album format etc. and that keeps me stimulated.

Shame it wasn't a band I like though. Big fan of free stuff [insert gag about working pro-Bono...].

Tweet and greet @musicpiracblog

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Reflections on the distribution of research into digital piracy, by academic discipline

Over the last few months, I have been posting lists of prominent scholars engaged in research into digital piracy. They have been the most viewed (by a mile) entries on the blog to date, which is encouraging news to me that blog readers are up for the challenge of doing their own research. This makes me happy.

I feel, given the interest to date, I should elaborate on some points raised and answer some questions I have been receiving via email.

Firstly, the list of names is non-comprehensive. These are names that have either a) appeared regularly during my literature searches over the last 4/5 years or have b) contributed, in my opinion, particularly important additions to the research to date. The list has not been collated in a particularly systematic way such as using h-indexes (a measure of research productivity and impact).

Secondly, and following on from the first point, the list is likely skewed with my own reading being tailored to my own research interests (digital piracy is a very broad area of research). This is most notable with just one Lawyer present in my list of around 30 scholars. There are plenty of research articles exploring legal sides of digital piracy, but I just haven't read most of them! They are out there, I assure you.

Thirdly, I have NOT been paid to promote anyone's research. I don't even know where to begin pointing out holes with that speculation. I have only ever been in the same room as a few of these individuals; I don't know any of them. The lists were simply intended to give readers a heads up on some key search terms to guide them to good reading materials on digital piracy research, as is the ultimate aim of this blog overall. To date I have received zero pounds and zero pence to maintain this blog - it's an entirely voluntary pursuit.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce I will be publishing a similar series in 2015 mapping out key journals for you to sift through on your own time. It's an encouraging sign to see the readership of the blog grow over 2014 which is perhaps due to my efforts to post more and actually try and use Twitter effectively. There is only one of me though, and other life events and workloads mean I will probably have to rely on more of these sorts of posts where I direct you elsewhere. I get the vibe from the recent series however that this will work out just fine. Fully committed to the blog until at least next April.

Thanks for the support, and happy reading.

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Sunday, 31 August 2014

I (really) love Deezer

And why wouldn't I?

It seems in UK everyone who uses a music subscription service uses Spotify. When I mention I use Deezer, a lot of people have seemingly never heard of it.

I used to use Spotify for years, shifting from the free version to the paid version and then back again. I gave Deezer a spin about a year ago, and soon discovered a promo for their £9.99 version for half price; the offer lasted 6 months. I went for it, and over 6 months found Deezer to be superior in various ways. The principal edge it has for me is the mobile application; it looks and feels good. This is what music industry commentators would refer to as the context, not the content (roughly equivalent on both Deezer and Spotify). It also feels more plastic, with eye-catching features and third party apps that genuinely draw your attention to different content.

The mobile app also offers some degree of customisation with the levels to enhance bass or recreate the sound of a studio or concert hall etc. With good headphones, the audio quality is stellar. 

Most recently, I tried out their 'Flow' feature which is the same idea as the Apple Genius feature. Shuffling up a playlist built around my listening habits, it kicked off with 'Ceremony', by New Order - a spectacular start. From there, it shuffled around songs from recently added albums and playlists I haven't really listened with a healthy sure fire 'favourite' song of sorts every now and then. It was a pleasant and elegant experience, and I am impressed.

I am now on a different promo with Deezer, and feel that when it expires, I will stay put. I have invested a lot of time and effort into building my library on Deezer with (lots of) playlists I couldn't replicate elsewhere.

Deezer, you have won. Luckily, I love you, and I'm happy to continue paying for your product.

P.S. I recently found out I had been paying for two different Deezer accounts. That is how much I love it!

Tweets @musicpiracyblog

Friday, 22 August 2014

New article on the seldom discussed issue of porn piracy

There, I said it: porn.

In the latest issue of the new journal 'Porn Studies', a new article of mine ponders why researchers have paid so little attention to porn piracy. It's one of the few open access ones in this issue, so it's free to download and enjoy.

The article unpacks reasons why engaging in porn piracy might carry unique motivations (when compared to music piracy, for example), and considers the unique challenges rights holders have in fighting porn piracy.

The article discusses the recent 'Pay For Your Porn' campaign, which adds some colour to proceedings and generally makes links to recent news items. It's a hot topic.

Whether or not you approve of it, the porn industry is an industry like any other and employs lots and lots of people across a range of roles 

The new issue of the journal itself contains a few articles on censorship and related topics which might also be of interest to readers of this blog.

Check it out, unless of course you are too scared to be caught 'reading' about porn..

Tweets @musicpiracyblog


Brown, S.C. (2014). Porn piracy: An overlooked phenomenon in need of academic investigation. Porn Studies, 1(3), 342-346.