A new Dutch study on the effects of filesharing has just come out. Unfortunately it is all in dutch! However, courtesy of online translation, it appears the basic message is that filesharing has a net positive impact on welfare (though they term this the ‘economic’ impact):
File sharing has net positive economic impact
The net economic effects of file sharing on the Dutch welfare in the short and long term are positive. As a result of file sharing consumers access a wide range of cultural products. In contrast, a decrease in turnover from the sale of sound recordings, DVDs, and games as a result is plausible.
This is reflected in joint research of SEO Economic Research, the Institute for Information Law (IViR) and TNO to the economic and cultural impact of file sharing for music, movies and games on behalf of the Ministries of Education, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Justice. The analysis is carried out according to a study of statistics and scientific literature, interviews with fervent downloaders, a representative survey among the population and a number of informational workshops in the sector. [translation via Google with some copyediting]
Not being able to read the main study I’m not able to offer any evaluation of its merits or salient points (such as how they trade-off welfare gains from greater access again any costs in lost production – if any).
Update: I’ve been pointed to the English version (thanks Tobias!):
More comments to come.