In this paper we analyze how one such anti-piracy intervention, the shutdown of the popular Megaupload site, affected the digital sales of movies for two major studios.
Our analysis across 12 countries suggests that, in the 18 weeks following the shutdown, digital revenues for these two studio’s movies were 6-10% higher than they would have been if not for the shutdown. Thus our findings show that the closing of a major online piracy site can increase digital media sales, and by extension we provide evidence that Internet movie piracy displaces digital film sales.
Here’s the Carnegie Mellon page that announces it, and says “The creation of IDEA was made possible through a gift from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), allowing Smith and Telang to extend their groundbreaking research along with faculty from across the university, including the Tepper School of Business and the School of Computer Science.”
“Smith” is Michael Smith who is the co-author of the paper.
It’s not impossible that their research and figures are a) correct, b) actually lead to the conclusions they claim, and c) just happen to be funded by the MPAA, but this isn’t something I would trust on the face of it.