Study shows impact of digital piracy on U.S. economy

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 
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U.S. Chamber Study Shows Significant Impact of Digital Piracy on U.S. Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), in partnership with NERA Economic Consulting, today published a new study, Impacts of Digital Video Piracy on the U.S. Economy, detailing the economic impact digital video piracy has on the U.S. economy. While the proliferation of streaming services provides consumers with unprecedented choice, content, and convenience, it also presents new challenges.

“As the video streaming industry has grown, we have seen a dramatic increase in digital video piracy, especially of U.S.-produced television series and movies,” said Jeff Eisenach, Managing Director and Co-Chair of NERA’s Communications, Media, and Internet Practice. “Those illegal views and downloads deprive the content production industry and the broader U.S. economy billions in lost revenue – and hundreds of thousands of jobs – every year.”

In 2017, the U.S. movie and television production industry accounted for approximately $229 billion in domestic revenues and 2.6 million jobs. In recent years, video streaming has grown in popularity with more than 500 licensed online video portals worldwide. Currently, more subscribers pay for streaming services than traditional cable. This shift has given rise to a new source of online piracy. Now, over 80 percent of stolen and shared content is viewed on streaming sites. Overall, the study finds that approximately 26.6 billion viewings of U.S.-produced movies and 126.7 billion viewings of U.S.-produced TV episodes are digitally pirated each year.

“Video streaming, driven by innovative technologies, has transformed the industry, fueled the U.S. economy, and changed how people around the world consume content. However, digital piracy has emerged as a serious problem that undermines this growth,” said Jonathan Weinberger, Senior Vice President of the Global Innovation Policy Center. “The findings from this study highlight the urgent need to coordinate enforcement efforts against illegal streaming and strengthen IP protections both in the U.S. and abroad. GIPC will continue to champion strong IP protections to promote creativity and protect content online.”

Mark Olshaker, bestselling author of Mindhunter and the Emmy Award-winning writer of Roman City, added, “For anyone in the creative, inventive, or innovative community, intellectual property laws are the only bulwark that protects our ability to make a living. Theft of intellectual property is the same as theft of money or anything material because it prevents us from earning a living. Moreover, it rewards the copycat or exploiter at the expense of the creator.”

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Links: Global Innovation Policy Center; NERA