Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany
October 11, 2013

Professor Dr. Christophe Geiger (CEIPI, University of Strasbourg)
More Enforcement = More Innovation? Lessons from the Failure of Repressive Solutions in the Context of Copyright Infringement on the Internet

Enforcement of intellectual property rights and of copyright in particular, is currently among the top priorities of national, regional and international lawmakers. In this context, initiating additional criminal penalties or implementing "graduated response" mechanisms are options frequently presented by policy makers and cultural industries as the most effective means to address the issue of copyright infringement on the Internet, especially in relation to peer-to-peer file sharing. Nevertheless, such legal solutions have so far shown very unclear results with regard to the protection of creator's interests and the promotion of innovation and creativity. They have had, on the contrary, strong psychological impact on public opinion, in some cases potentially leading to a general rejection of intellectual property rules. Therefore, alternatives need to be envisaged in order to produce better revenues for creators, to adapt copyright to the practices of the online world, and more generally to secure the acceptance of intellectual property rights within society.

These alternatives could consist in a combination of enforcement measures with educational initiatives, in an encouragement to develop better creative business models based on adequate pricing affordable for consumers and/or in a decriminalization of unauthorized uses. Furthermore, they should also involve exploring the feasibility and implications of the legalization of peer-to-peer file sharing through the implementation of an ambitious "limitation-based" remuneration system, with clear and binding rules for distributing the revenues raised to the benefit of creators. An additional option to consider resides in proposing a collaborative approach based on mandatory or extended collective management.