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The Global eBook Market: Current Conditions & Future Projections by Ruediger Wischenbart

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Chapter 8. eBook Piracy in Europe: The Example and Debate in Germany, and Related Findings

Methodological Issues with Regard to Research on Piracy

Throughout media history, the emergence and penetration of markets by new media have been intimately intertwined with the advent of piracy and challenges to the current business practices of those in control of the respective “old media.” To provide an example from the early days of the movie industry, a recent, highly authoritative study says bluntly: “Piracy was, we have seen, absolutely central to the birth of the film industry.” In fact, piracy and the subsequent legal battles were instrumental in the formation of the movie industry. Those studios that dominated the new-born industry for decades after the outcome of those legal battles owed their strong position in large part to those early innovators and explorers of the new technology of film who, in the end, had been labeled as “pirates.” In practical terms—which are not necessarily identical to legal considerations—the label “piracy” can refer to different issues under different circumstances.

In the context of fragile, emergent, under-regulated, and under-controlled markets such as those in large parts of the Arab world (or similarly, in Russia), piracy can be a direct threat to the precarious infrastructure of the book business. A good example of this is Lebanon’s (and the Arab world’s) first online book shop—Nil WaFurat. Its founder, Saleh Chebaro, explained in 2012 during an ...

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