Does piracy help sales? Magellan Media founder Brian O’Leary thinks it can. In an interview with Forbes.com, O’Leary discusses how piracy may have helped lift sales for O’Reilly Media and Thomas Nelson titles.

He said: “Data that we collected for the titles O’Reilly put out showed a net lift in sales for books that had been pirated. So, it actually spurred, not hurt, sales. But we were only looking at O’Reilly and Thomas Nelson. The results are not emblematic of publishing overall. It could be more conservative, it could be less conservative. We just don’t have enough data. I’ve tried to get other publishers to join in, but it really hasn’t been a successful mission. Even at a low- or no-cost offer, publishers seem reluctant to collect the data required to reveal the true impact of book piracy.”

Understandably publishers don’t like the sound of piracy, but is it inevitable? Should publishers take O’Leary’s position and see how they can use piracy to their benefit for marketing purposes? What do you think?