Section: New Results

Modelling the exchange of cultural goods on the Internet

Participant : Jacques Lévy Véhel.

In collaboration with Pierre Emmanuel Lévy Véhel and Victor Lévy Véhel.

Illegal sharing of cultural goods on the Internet has become a massive reality in today's connected society. Numerous studies have been performed to try and evaluate the impact of these practices on the industry of cultural goods, and how much harm, if any, they have entailed. The effect of legal and technical responses to limit pirating has also been investigated, showing in general inconclusive effect. Instead of penalizing illegal actors - providers and/or consumers -, a totally different approach has been proposed recently by the french government agency Hadopi. The idea is to offer the possibility to sites that illegally share cultural goods to become legal in exchange of a retribution proportional to their activity. In the frame of a contract with the Hadopi, we have built a model that studies the economic feasibility of such a scheme under various assumptions on the behaviour of the different actors involved. Our main finding is that, supposing that more popular goods are more prone to pirating, a retribution of the order of the increase in benefit per user gained by legalized sites does indeed lead to a win-win situation for both producers/sellers of cultural goods and willing-to-be-legalized sites. This will be the case under two conditions: the proportion of pirates is large enough (which seems largely true) and the increase in the amount of money that forums will make from advertisement when becoming legal is sufficient [43] .

An extension of our work is under way, that will consider further actors and refined modelling of the way illegal sharing takes place. Calibration issues will also be investigated more closely.