Piracy is a puissant parasite of the entertainment business. With 146 million visits on illegal online content a day, piracy takes 22% of all global bandwidth. In music industry alone, piracy is responsible for $12.5 billion economic loss. 95% of all music downloads are illegal. 42% of all software in the world are also illegal. E-book piracy is catching up with 54% increase in demand since August 2009. Yet 70% of internet users find nothing wrong with it.
The reason is it’s free, isn’t it?
Even with piracy, entertainment companies can still beam at their bank accounts. The global box office hit of 2011 is 7% higher than 2010 with $32.6 billion. It rose to $34.7 billion in 2012, adding 6% more. The global music sale in the same year is $16.5 billion, another increase from 2011. They remained lucrative yet eliminating piracy will definitely payout.
Piracy is not totally harmful. Oxford economist Karen Croxson claims that illegal downloads create a buzz and gives unplanned promotions for the product. Asst. Prof. Robert Hammond of North Carolina State University took an interest on studying piracy and found that leaks of albums before its actual release has a sales-boosting effect. Unauthorized access shifts unknown products to familiar brands.
The benefits of piracy are recognized. Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft Corp’s business division, prefers users to pirate Microsoft products than the competition. It’s the biggest opportunity for people to try the software and then later on buy them. Researchers at University of Texas at Austin cautioned the companies on their anti-piracy campaign as it may repulse poor consumers. The US government agrees that piracy increases brand awareness. In the long run, piracy will contribute sales.
Annihilating piracy has been a global effort, yet the demand never ceases. No matter the justification, piracy is stealing. It’s a crime against creation and innovation. Original works deserve compensation.
Have you bought a product you once pirated?