The cost of piracy


The major Hollywood studios lost $6.1b last year to bootlegging, illegal copying and Internet piracy.

This is according to the first ever comprehensive study of movie piracy commissioned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Previous studies focused only on “hard goods” piracy and did not take the cost of Internet piracy (estimated at $2.3b) into account.

According to the study, of the $6.1b in piracy losses, $1.3b occurred in the US and $4.8b internationally, almost half of it coming from Europe. About $2.4b was lost to bootlegging, $1.4b to illegal copying and $2.3b to Internet piracy. Illegal copying and distribution were more prevalent in the US, while illegal downloading and bootlegging were the primary piracy forms internationally.

China, Russia, the UK, France, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Poland and Mexico were the countries where piracy was more prevalent, the MPAA said. The study also found that the average movie pirate is male, age 16-24, and lives in an urban area.

The MPAA is hoping that the study will encourage governments around the world to be proactive in fighting against piracy.(Source:

For a local perspective on how piracy has affected the new South African films Tsotsi and Mama Jack, see the in-depth report in the May issue of Screen Africa.


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