The Problem of Divergent Methods and Non-Transparency


We believe different stakeholders in the field of IP infringement assessment have an in-built bias towards different methodologies, presenting policy makers with a distinct challenge. Within the frequent debates on copyright policy, the need for and lack of effective, robust, accurate data has become increasingly apparent. Crucially, it became clear to us that the divergence of methodologies and approaches used in the myriad pieces of research are at least partly responsible for the vacuum in quality and acceptable data.

Online copyright infringement

This research review’s stated aim to scope the measurement of the infringement of the four main IP rights, including online and offline, criminal and civil, has proven the most challenging aspect of the work. Measurement of online copyright infringement alone required quite divergent methodologies. This led us to advocate a unifying framework for assessment and demonstrate where this framework has so far been partially adopted within the different fields of IP rights. This can also be used to assess where and if new innovations in methodology can contribute. We located several very insightful pieces of research that offer the potential for transferability across different IPR.


One typical source of confusion we saw within this area was the conflation of the measurement of scale and the economic costs of infringement. Our review was required to focus on the measurement rather than the costs of IP enforcement, so we had to attempt to dis-entangle these aspects. Nevertheless, our review undertakes a robust review of current methodologies (both domestic and international) used to estimate levels of IP infringement and to provide recommendations for other potential methodologies and identify any potential transferability of methodologies between IP rights and different markets.