1st Workshop on the Economics of ICTs Overview

 Alexandre Mateus at ICTs Workshop

The 1st Workshop on the Economics of ICTs took place in Porto, Portugal, on March 11th, 2010. The event was organized by the Faculdade de Economia of the Universidade do Porto, Carnegie Mellon | Portugal Program, and the Center for Advanced Studies in Management and Economics (CEFAGE) of the Universidade de Évora.

In this event Alexandre Mateus, Ph.D. student in Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) under the Carnegie Mellon | Portugal program, made a presentation about his article titled “Characterizing Digital Media in a University Campus Network” (pdf) written with Jon M. Peha, professor in the Department of EPP and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Q. In your opinion, what is the most important conclusion of your work?
A. I think our work can offer some interesting insights for policymaking. In particular, we found P2P, and unauthorized transfers of copyrighted content to be widespread in a university campus, however decreasing over the 1-year period we looked at. While students transfer a lot of media using P2P, a significant share of those that use P2P also purchase media from the iTunes Store, which indicates that factors other than price or fear of legal consequences must influence students' decision to purchase media versus transfer it from P2P, and such factors can perhaps be used by copyright owners to compete with P2P. Also, on the side of enforcement, we find that network monitoring technology was able to detect most users that transferred copyrighted content if those users did not activate traffic encryption, but that use of encryption can severely undermine the purpose of network monitoring for enforcement of copyrights.

Q. What could be the impact of your study?
I think our study contributes with empirical evidence to aid in the policymaking process. Over the years there has been debate as to how big copyright infringement using P2P is, which relied on poor and scattered evidence, and how to deal with it. Our work steps forward to bridge those gaps by providing a characterization of P2P file-sharing based on actual observation of activities performed on the network, and by evaluating the effectiveness of one of the principal technologies being considered as an enforcement mechanism for copyright protection online.

Q. This was the 1st Workshop on the Economics of ICTs. Are these kind of events important to whom is doing a Ph.D.?
I think this type of event is always beneficial for Ph.D. students, for two main reasons. First, because you get exposed to what the research community is doing in your area and surrounding areas. But more important is that you get to expose your work and gather valuable input and criticism from your peers. There is nothing better than comments and criticism from an audience of knowledgeable people to help improve the quality of the research that you produce.

The 2nd Workshop on the Economics of ICTs will be held in Évora, on March 25th-26th, 2011.

More information available at http://www.fep.up.pt/conferencias/ict