The Social Science Research Council has released its highly anticipated 440-page report, “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies.”  It scrutinizes piracy issues in Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, India and South Africa.

Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, wrote about the study and summarized its main topics, saying the report “also features a detailed discussion of industry-sponsored piracy research, the shortcomings of the enforcement agenda, the lack of evidence that ‘organized crime’ is heavily involved in piracy, and the ongoing failure of ‘education’ programs.”

The report, which can be purchased on the SSRC website or can be read here, tackles privacy and enforcement from a global perspective, saying, “[h]igh prices for media goods, low incomes, and cheap digital technologies are the main ingredients of global media piracy.”   DVDs, CDs and other media cost nearly ten times higher in countries like Brazil and South Africa when compared to their prices in the United States and Europe, the study notes, adding that such dramatic price disparities, especially in countries where demand may be high but supply is low, helps to fuel vast piracy in these countries.

Besides raising questions about whether organized crime really is involved in piracy, the report also warns developed nations that instead of cracking down on pirates with stronger enforcement to preserve the existing market structure, the main question is “whether stable cultural and business models can emerge at the low end of these media markets that are capable of addressing the next several billion media consumers.”