Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Putting a Price on Piracy

According to this blog post on the Washington Post website, The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that online piracy amounts to a net loss of $20.5 billion dollars a year. However, once you narrow in the window onto American pirates, it is figured that the industry only loses around $446 million dollars a year, subsequently less than what they claim.

There is a grey area in which the numerical figures are to be calculated. We cannot say that money is lost from the industry as it is uncertain if a person who illegally downloads a movie would have actually bought it in the first place. In this instance, the entertainment is at the expense of the entire film crew, but not even. On the other hand, there are cases in which thousands upon thousands of works are downloaded immediately after release, quite at the expense of the industry.

While there may be detrimental damage done to the music/film/television industries by online piraters, there is no harmful repercussion done unto our economy. Money not spent on a $20 movie winds up being spent elsewhere.

As SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, has been pulled from Congress' agenda due to severe uproar amongst the citizens of America, the ball is in the entertainment industry's court. My guess is that Congress will create a new Anti-Piracy Act, but one slightly more lax and less threatening of American's first amendment rights.


Smith said...

Riveting points and discussion. Do you think SOPA was based off economical issues, or a measure of control? Do you believe in absolute internet freedom?

Erin said...

Recently there has been much discussion about the issues of piracy. I actually recently got notified about downloading music illegally. In my opinion, I think economic-wise no one is being hurt from piracy. Like you said, the money people save by downloading music, movies, etc. will be spent elsewhere. Plus, it’s not like the people losing money are struggling to make ends meet. Musicians, for example, make plenty of money, so even though they lose some personal income when people download music illegally it’s not like their struggling financially. The economy is not being hurt by piracy. People should not even have to pay a lot of money for a little entertainment.

michael.parleto said...

SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, etc. have nothing to do with the economy and piracy. It's about government control. Most of the money goes to billion dollar corporations anyways, not to the artists themselves. Google has already begun to censor blogs at government orders. The reason the RIAA and MPAA realize they aren't needed with the evolution of digital distribution. Artists can sell their content directly to the consumer, no middle man required. The best way to combat piracy is to make it easier to buy than to pirate. Look at steam, it's easier and better to buy games from steam than it is to go pirate it. People pirate media to get around ridiculous restrictions and DRM. Good digital distribution is the key to fighting piracy.

Sarah Craig said...

​i agree with what Erin said about how the people losing money aren't the ones struggling to make ends met. When Justin Bieber concert tickets are being sold for up to 400, it's had to feel bad about illegally downloading music. I have a hard time believing that illegally downloading music is having a negative effect on the economy.

Darcy said...

Michael, your point about fighting piracy by making it easier to buy is very interesting, I didn't think of it that way. Come to think of it, that would eliminate government censorship all together, would it not? After all, like you said, the main motive behind these acts is censorship. It's interesting how the government can sneakily cover up their plans to gain control over internet content by voicing their concern for the alleged economic problems piracy creates.