Sunday, January 24, 2016

Impact of Internet Piracy

The film industry is known to sell dreams and thoughts. But since the advent of digital revolution, they’ve failed to sell one detail: piracy is a theft and people who imbibe piracy are abating criminals. The watchdogs have been trying in vain to keep the pirates at bay and to slowdown the assault of viewers rushing to download torrents or stream movies or episodes of TV series online.
The film industry has been responding to this threat by taking legal measures and raising awareness of the consequences of internet piracy. They have urged numerous governments to toughen laws on online file sharing. Just a year back, the founders of The Pirate Bay were found guilty of copyright infringement.
A different aspect to piracy is that if we consider just one film at a time, piracy will definitely have a negative impact, but the same can’t be said for the film industry as a whole because the most pirated films are the ones that make the most money at the box office. Nobody complains about the piracy of a blockbuster film, but when a flop film is leaked online, people raise the issue of piracy.
A logical deduction of the case would be to analyse the situation in a piracy-free world. Just because the viewer had watched the pirated version of the film doesn’t necessarily mean that he’d have paid for the film had it not been available for free. A college student wouldn’t have bothered to go in a theatre to view movies or subscribe to Netflix to binge-watch his favourite TV series; he’d rather wait for them to be telecasted on the cable network. It can be safely assumed that every pirated work doesn’t represent lost revenue.
For instance, if people forgo paying $7 billion in movies by downloading pirated movies and spend the same amount on laptops and smartphones which they’d use to watch the movies, then this would lead to job creation in the computer and consumer electronics field.
According to a report by consulting firm L.E.K, internet movie piracy causes a total lost output for Hollywood of $20.5 billion per year, accounts for more than $850 million in lost tax revenue and thwarts the creation of about 145,000 jobs.
The cinema halls and production houses are the major victims of piracy. The financial impact is felt the most by the cameramen, makeup artists, studio executives, costume designers, box office staff and they’re adversely affected by this loss of revenue due to piracy. Sometimes the upfront payment received by the filmmakers isn’t enough to cover the whole production cost but since film is a product that has long-term value, the producers take the risk.

People may think an individual act of piracy doesn't matter, but if that becomes a way of life then intellectual properties would have no value. Piracy, if not stopped or at least controlled, could have an adverse impact on the film industry and play havoc with the lives of lakhs of people, whose livelihood depends on the film industry.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.


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