The Japanese Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, a think-tank employed by the Japanese government, has released the results of a study that suggests online piracy may not be hurting DVD sales at all.

The study looked at the effect of uploaded YouTube clips and online P2P file sharing on Anime DVD sales, and surprisingly, found neither had an effect on DVD sales at all.

In fact, YouTube clips actually helped DVD sales (although P2P file sharing, using the popular software Winny, did affect DVD rentals, but not sales).

An abstract from the study reads: "YouTube's effect of boosting DVD sales can be seen after the TV's broadcasting of the series has concluded, which suggests that not just a few people learned about the program via a Youtube viewing. In other words YouTube can be interpreted as a promotion tool for DVD sales."

None of this may come as a surprise to those that have followed the issue of online piracy. YouTube is a great promotional tool that many publishers have already exploited to gain Internet hype, which then directly leads to sales. And as for P2P's effect on rentals, but not sales - people who still buy DVDs and Blu-ray's will continue to do so because piracy has been around for a while now, and if they haven't flocked to it, they never will. And with illegal download's being easier and faster to access than non-streamed rentals (which either involve going to the rental store, or ordering online and waiting for the post, days later), it may also explain why some are choosing piracy.

Either way, it appears piracy isn't always the sales killer that the movie industry has been saying it is.