Information goods piracy is a pervasive problem as advanced information and communication technologies become so inexpensive and so easy to access. This problem, if not alleviated, can pose a serious loss to society as it can reduce information goods providers’ incentives to develop information goods or threaten the use and growth of the Internet as a distribution media for valued digital information goods. Contrasting with previous literature, which mainly consider instruments, such as law enforcement or technology-based solutions, that work on increasing individual piracy cost, we consider using versioning as a complementary means to these other methods. While the previous literature has shown that versioning may not be the optimal strategy for information goods (having negligible or concave marginal costs), we show that versioning could be a very effective and profitable instrument to fight piracy. Furthermore, we also show that it is possible to do this without sacrificing the consumer’s surplus and, as a result, the entire social welfare could increase. This suggests that by using versioning along with other instruments that work on increasing individual piracy cost, information goods providers can fight piracy more efficiently.
Wu, Shin-yi; Chen, Pei-Yu; and Anandalingam, G., "Fighting Information Good Piracy with Versioning" (2003). ICIS 2003 Proceedings. 51.