A study on music, film and software piracy in regions of emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia and India, has found that the major cause of piracy to be high prices compared to local incomes.
Based on three years work by 35 researchers, the Media Piracy in Emerging Economies report explores the "explosive growth of piracy as digital technologies became cheap and ubiquitous around the world", setting the growth of piracy against increasing efforts to control piracy via legal and technical means.
The report produced by the Social Science Research Council argues that the anti-piracy measures had "largely failed", ascribing the root cause of the problem as a failure to provide affordable access to media via legitimate means.
The report pointed out that Microsoft Office costs five to ten times as much as the US and Europe relative to local incomes in Brazil, Russia and South Africa and that this policy meant that legal markets were tiny and underdeveloped as a result.
Legal systems had been readily changed to outlaw piracy but the report authors argue that there's little realistic way to tackle the scale of the piracy through enforcement, particularly in nations with overburdened legal systems.
The study also found that was no link between media piracy and organized crime or terrorism in the countries the study focused on.