As recommended by the IPO, we expanded the project’s research methodology beyond the standard literature review to gain greater insight into how industry measures IP rights. However, to provide another level of insight for our recommendations for future methodologies, especially with so much IP infringement moving to the online space, we reached out to a number of experts in the field. The experts were not just from the content industries but also included contributions from technology firms such as Bit Torrent Inc.
The primary aim of our study was to assess existing research, draw comparisons between UK and international research and identify good and best practice amongst research. This then allowed an analysis of the emerging methodologies and an assessment of the most viable ones for each of the four IPR under review. Having segmented the literature and research on the basis of whoever paid for it, we also needed a method to assess the quality of what we reviewed, taking account of the key principles we recognise, including the IPO’s own three-point criteria of replicability, transparency and clarity.
We also assessed whether the research contained other key elements within the methodology, such as a statistical process involving repetitive, consistent, systematic elements, and for surveys whether quota and random sampling were used to achieve reliability and validity. It is readily apparent that much of the reviewed research contained no methodological description and such research was generally treated as being inadequate for our purposes. There were research reports that contained some or most, but rarely all, of the elements we advocate for recommended research methods and our recommendations for methodologies for each of the different IP rights.