Piracy and (Digital) Economy - Beneficial side-effects of outlawed acts and black market economies for societies.
There are various pointers in recent research that suggest that product piracy as a means of distribution is a mayor factor in not only innovation but also education and economic advancement. Independent studies also show positive effects for the establishment of the class of goods that have been pirated on local markets.
This is especially true if looked at in combination with weak copyright protection mechanisms.The book market in Germany in Early Modern Europe - for example- could not have had such an explosive growth in comparison to the book market Great Britain at the same time without widespread and cheap illegal reprints available for a low price, no effective censorship nor copyright protection (Eisenstein_1980, Gieseke_1998). While Great Britain had a strict copyright regime in place around 1710, Germany did not establish a common copyright until around 1830. This lead to a wide-spread distribution of knowledge, a highly skilled workforce, a vibrant civil society and to Germany closing up and surpassing other industrial nations in the 19th century (Höffner_2010).
This research idea aims at linking these findings to the recent debate on internet piracy, copyright protections, pricing of goods and measures to foster innovation and economic growth.