Dr. Brett Danaher, Assistant Professor of Economics and Management Science, was a keynote speaker for the Motion Picture Association (MPA)’s annual presentation at the Tokyo Film Festival October 25-November 3, 2018.

Dr. Danaher presented his research on successful tactics to stop web-based piracy. There are issues with those supplying pirated content, and those purchasing the pirated content. Both the public and the political realms support efforts to block or shut down websites which provide access to copyright-infringing content. Dr. Danaher’s research illuminated how in previous instances of website blocking, the key was to block access to multiple sites at once. When just one piracy site was blocked, users transitioned to other illegal suppliers of pirated content. However, when multiple sites were blocked, one observed a decrease in total piracy and an increase in legal site usage.

The U.K. has experimented with multiple instances of site blocking. When one popular supplier of illegal downloadable content (The Pirate Bay) was blocked in 2012, legitimate content providers such as Netflix, did not see increased visits. The next year however, U.K. courts required that 19 major piracy sites be blocked and Dr. Danaher observed a substantial decrease in piracy and a 12% increase in visits to legal sites. In 2014 the U.K. expanded their blocks further and a 10% increase in legal access was observed. “Website blocking also scales much more efficiently than shutting down entire sites,” said Dr. Danaher. “It is much cheaper to go from blocking one site to blocking thirty than it is to go from shutting down one site to shutting down thirty.”

Following his keynote, Dr. Danaher participated in a panel discussion with industry leaders, such as the managing director of Australia’s top anime distributor Madman Entertainment, and politicians like Japan’s secretary general, intellectual property strategy headquarters, along with various CEOs and ambassadors.