Economic Rationales for File Sharing Suits

In the Social Affairs Unit Weblog, economist Tyler Cower examines Why the music industry is suing you, your neighbour, or your child

Why has the music industry throughout Europe decided to sue hundreds of those sharing music files on the Internet? Tyler Cowen – Professor of Economics at George Mason University and author of Creative Destruction: How Globalization Is Changing the World’s Cultures, What Price Fame?, and In Praise of Commercial Culture – argues here that it is not an attempt to scare off the downloaders, similar suits in the US have not stopped illegal file-sharing. Rather, Prof. Cowen argues, it is ‘about spreading the idea that downloading is wrong and illegal… think of the lawsuits as one way to buy space in the newspaper, but without paying advertising rates.’