With all this regulation being proposed, one has to wonder if it is really worth all the effort. Do the media companies see increased sales when piracy declines? There is evidence that says it does not. France recently passed a “Three Strikes” law which gives infringers two warnings before they prosecute infringers. They claim it has drastically reduced piracy within their country. However, close inspection of profits from French media companies shows that they haven’t seen an increase in sales. The purpose of protection of intellectual property is to incentivize creation, but that goal has to be balanced with the goal of ensuring the public has access to content. When the government creates policies that don’t increase incentives for authorship, but decrease access, they have fundamentally failed to achieve their goals. Dedicating money and manpower to a strategy that doesn’t achieve its goals is waste of limited resources.
Part of ACTA’s focus is aimed at stopping counterfeiting, but are “counterfeit” goods really a problem? It has been said that counterfeiting costs businesses millions of dollars in the United States alone. However, many of the statistics put forth to justify cracking down on counterfeiters is hyperbole, and highly suspect, as explained by Kenneth Port in his article for the Cardozo Law Review. Kenneth explains that the fuzzy numbers used in reference to counterfeiting lead to inaccurate assumptions.For instance, some “imitative commodities” actually have a positive economic impact on status goods. If imitative commodities are actually benefitting the companies who make the goods they imitate, then it doesn’t make sense to waste resources prosecuting their activities. If the private companies would like to pursue those actions in civil court, they should certainly get that opportunity, but these new laws are slowly shifting the burden of enforcement from the private sector to the public sector. It makes no sense to spend taxpayer money locking non-violent people up, who may actually be doing more public good than harm, while at the same time failing to achieve the goals copyright laws are supposed to achieve.