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Study: Piracy actually helps small films make money

More studies on piracy have come out and it appears that it may actually help smaller films make more money. A recently updated study theorizes that pirates recommend the films they have downloaded to their friends who don’t pirate, and that translates to more ticket sales at the box office. Here’s a quote from The Washington Post:

Drawing from nearly five years’ worth of data, the economists compared box office revenues before and after the shutdown of Megaupload.com, the infamous file-hosting site that, by its own numbers, once accounted for 4 percent of daily Internet traffic. They theorized that, if piracy on Megaupload really hurt sales as much as the film industry claims, then profits would jump after the site’s shutdown.

Of course, the MPAA disagrees with this conclusion and takes pot shots at their research:

Unfortunately, in order to reach its conclusion, the Munich and Copenhagen study also all but ignores a critical piece of the box office picture – how timing or other factors that are completely unrelated to Megaupload impact the box office performance of small, medium or large films.

The researchers did, in fact factor in timing in their analysis.