Online distribution of digital cultural products
: are legal distributors strong enough against piracy?

  • Mélodie Saumard (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


In 2012, the music industry is showing positive growth for the first time in fifteen years. The same year, Game of Thrones is declared the most pirated TV series with an average of 4.28 million illegal downloads for each episode. Ever since the creation of Napster in 1998, online piracy became a common practice which is weakly reprehended socially-speaking. The starting point for our work was Gabe Newell's idea that piracy is not a matter of price but a problem of service rendered to customers. Such an opinion orientates our work towards finding a solution against piracy thanks business. To find this possible solution we started with the evolution of open source software because the concept and its history brings us to the notion of copyleft and the creation of the Creative Commons. These ideas translate to new ways of sharing intellectual property. But to understand these notions correctly we need to explain how cultural works are protected by the law. Which is why we introduce author rights and copyrights in several countries. When we know how the law works and the tools that have been developed to simplify them, we can start giving examples of businesses which are distributing digital cultural products legally. But a comparison between both legal and illegal offers is necessary to explain why customers choose piracy. Thus, in addition to the market study of legal offers, we also study pirate offer. Such comparison showed that several factors make customers willing to break the law to access cultural products. With our study we analyze the factors that might help in justifying this choice.
Date of Award21 Jun 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorLuís Gustavo Martins (Supervisor) & Alexandra Fonseca (Co-Supervisor)


  • Copyright
  • Author right
  • Online piracy
  • Open source
  • Creative commons
  • Copyleft
  • Business


  • Mestrado em Gestão de Indústrias Criativas

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