Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Digital Piracy

  • Paul BelleflammeEmail author
  • Martin Peitz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_13


Digital piracy is the act of reproducing, using, or distributing information products, in digital formats and/or using digital technologies, without the authorization of their legal owners.


The objective of this entry is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of digital piracy (this entry summarizes and updates Belleflamme and Peitz (2012)). Although we put the emphasis on the economic analysis, we also briefly present the legal context and its recent evolution. As digital piracy consists in infringing intellectual property laws, it is important to start by understanding the rationale of such laws. That allows us to define more precisely what is meant by digital piracy. We can then move to the economic analysis of piracy. We start with the basic analysis, which explains why piracy is likely to decrease the profits of the producers of digital products; we also examine how the producers have reacted to digital piracy when it started to grow. We review...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CORE and LSMUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany