Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 351–368 | Cite as

The short- and long-term effectiveness of anti-piracy laws and enforcement actions

  • Tylor OrmeEmail author
Original Article


Film studios have spent the past two decades lobbying extensively to establish new legislation restricting access to copyrighted materials online. While there is growing evidence of the effect film piracy has on studio profits, the evidence on the impact of anti-piracy legislation is limited. If anti-piracy legislation is having the film industry’s desired impact, we would expect film revenues to be consistently higher following the passage of major laws that restrict access to pirated content, or major enforcement actions, such as the shutdown of Web sites that provide illegal content for download. This paper applies an intervention analysis approach to weekly data on movie box-office revenues in the USA to determine whether the passage of new anti-piracy policy has generated significant changes in box-office revenues during the period from 1997 to the present. These effects are evaluated in both the short and long term, which allows an assessment of the duration of effectiveness of government actions. The results show that four of the six included policies are ineffective in the long term and those policies that do impact revenues in the short term often harm film studios, rather than help them.


Online piracy Motion-pictures industry Intervention analysis Intellectual property rights 

JEL Classification

C22 K11 L82 Z18 


  1. Bounie, D., Bourreau, M., & Waelbroeck, P. (2006). Piracy and the demand for films: Analysis of piracy behavior in French Universities. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 3(2), 15–27.Google Scholar
  2. Box, G. E. P., & Tiao, G. C. (1975). Intervention analysis with applications to economic and environmental problems. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 70, 70–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Box-Office Mojo. Accessed: November 1, 2013.
  4. DeVany, A. S., & Walls, W. D. (2007). Estimating the effects of movie piracy on box-office revenue. Review of Industrial Organization, 30(4), 291–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Digital Millenium Copyright Act (1998). Public Law 105–304.Google Scholar
  6. Enders, W. (2010). Applied econometric time series. Danvers: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (2005) Public Law 109–9.Google Scholar
  8. Heneghan, B. P. (2002). The NET Act, fair use, and willfulness-is Congress making a scarecrow of the Law? Journal of High Technology Law, 1(1), 27–46.Google Scholar
  9. Kravets, D. (2012). Feds shutter Megaupload, arrest executives.  Wired. Retrieved from
  10. McKenzie, J. (2012). The economics of movies: A literature survey. Journal Of Economic Surveys, 26(1), 42–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McKenzie, J., Walls, W. D. (2014). File-sharing and film revenues: An empirical analysis, working paper.Google Scholar
  12. MPAA (2013) Accessed November 20.
  13. NET Act (1997) Public Law 105–147.Google Scholar
  14. Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008. (2008). Public Law 110–403.Google Scholar
  15. Sudler, H. (2013). Effectiveness of anti-piracy technology: Finding appropriate solutions for evolving online piracy. Business Horizons, 56(2), 149–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Varian, H. (2005). Copying and copyright. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(2), 121–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Worthington, A., & Valadkhani, A. (2004). Measuring the impact of natural disasters on capital markets: An empirical application using intervention analysis. Applied Economics, 36(19), 2177–2186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Suffolk UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations