Indie films benefit from illegal downloading as a promotional means, according to a new report from economists at the Munich School of Management and Copenhagen Business School called, “Piracy and Movie Revenues: Evidence from Megaupload A Tale of the Long Tail?“.

The researchers examined the effect of piracy on box office revenues before and after the shutdown of Megaupload and found a correlation between illegal downloading and increased movie sales for indie films. Illegal downloading didn’t help blockbusters, but it did help build awareness and, in turn, drive sales of smaller films.

Check it out: “Our main finding is that smaller and larger movies were differentially affected by Megau- pload’s shutdown: while only very large movies benefitted from the shutdown, revenue for most smaller and medium-sized movies decreased with the shutdown.” (Via The Washington Post).