It appears the shutdown of Megaupload has had at least a positive short-term effect on illegal downloading.
According to a story by The Wall Street Journal, a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics found that two major movie studios’ online movie revenues rose between 6 and 10 percent since US prosecutors forced Megaupload’s closing last January. The study oversaw streaming trends in 12 countries, which included the US.
Here’s how the Carnegie Mellon team assembled their study, as summarized by CNET:
“The Carnegie Mellon study looked at digital transactions in the four months after the cyberlocker was shut down. What it found was that the weekly digital sales of movies from the two studios grew by between 10,500 and 15,300 units, according to the Wall Street Journal. Additionally, rentals also increased by between 13,700 and 24,000 units a week.”
While this is good news for movie studios, what the study didn’t look at is the music industry. According to the RIAA, Megaupload was responsible for up to $500 million in damages to numerous copyright owners before its shuttering, and it would be reasonable to assume a good percentage of that involved music. Whether movie watchers’ habits extended to music listeners remains unclear. The Carnegie Mellon research team are also hesitant to claim if this uptick in online movie revenues is a sign of long-term habit change or a short-term reaction to a site’s shuttering that accounted, on some days, for 4 percent of the Internet’s total traffic.
In other Kim Dotcom-related news, a New Zealand court has ruled that Dotcom can sue the New Zealand foreign intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau. Dotcom can now seek damages from the GCSB for its role in illegally collecting information on him, which lead to his arrest last September at the behest of the US on fraud, money laundering and piracy charges. It’s still unclear, however, how much of a role the National Security Agency played in the GCSB’s spying, but Dotcom will find out when his proceedings against the GCSB continue.
Oh, and he’s scheduled to appear at the “Kim Dotcom Speaks! A Skype Panel” at SXSW (not in person, obviously) on Monday. So busy, busy first several months of 2013 for the man.