Movie Piracy

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  1. Losses to Movie Industry due to Piracy $2.5 Billion

Information and statistics about movie piracy and the sale of pirated movies, DVDs and streaming sites online. Data collected from the entertainment industry and public information sources.

A study on digital content by La Coalicion found that 51 percent of internet users in Spain accessed pirated content in 2013.

84 percent of all digital content, such as movies and music, were illegally consumed in Spain during the year.

43 percent of the internet users who committed online piracy stated that they had either downloaded pirated movies or watched the movie on unlicensed streaming  sites.

The report finds that pirating digital content in Spain causes tax losses of $725 Million and the loss of over 26,000 jobs.

Back in 2012, market research firm Nielsen reported that around 45 percent of all internet pages visited by Spain users had links to pirated music or movies.

Source:  “Half of Spain’s internet users download illegally,” The Local, April 9, 2014.

The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the movie Wolf of Wall Street from being show in the country due to its “extreme scenes of nudity, sex, debauchery, hedonism and cursing”, as reported by the BBC.

Despite the ban, the Oscar-nominated movie directed by Martin Scorsese about a Wall Street stockbroker is readily available on the black market. The reported price for a pirated copy of Wolf of Wall Street sold at street DVD vendors in Kenya is $0.57.

(More black market prices and services.)

Source:  “Kenya arrests over banned Wolf of Wall Street film,” BBC News, February 13, 2014.

In 2008, file sharing of pirated content online accounted for 31 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Sandvine, a network equipment company.

In 2013, file sharing activity accounted for less than 10 percent of overall Internet activity.

Entertainment officials attribute the drop to the rise in free online streaming sites. In a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, when ABC added television shows to popular streaming site Hulu, the illegal pirating of those shows dropped almost 20 percent when compared with a control group.

Source:  Joshua Brustein, “Want to Fight Off Content Pirates? Just Stream Your Show for Free,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 2, 2013.


On average, criminal justice programs in South Africa record 26 busts of counterfeit goods from entering the country through ports of entry each day.

In 2013, a total of $251 Million (2.6 Billion South African Rand) was seized by security services in South Africa. Among the items seized were replica clothing worth $14.9 Million (155 Million Rand) and pirated DVDs and CDs worth $64 Million (671 Million Rand).

Source:  “South Africa Wages War On Pirated Goods,” Bernama, November 12, 2013.

In an interview with TorrnetFreak, an online pirate who uploads movies to streaming sites explained how he makes money.

According to the individual, a person uploads content such as movies or television shows to a file-hosting site. Users who watch the movies are also show advertisements. The file-hosting website has affiliate programs where ad revenue that is generated is shared with the person who uploaded the movie. On average, the payout to the person who uploaded the movie is around $1 to $2 for each 1,000 views that the movie or tv show generates.

(Cash payments reported from under the table jobs.)

Both the file-hosting site and the person uploading the movie both benefit from having more people view the content. Thus, streaming link sites exist. These sties collect links to the file-hosting site in a way similar to how search engines work. The more streaming links there are, the more people are able to view the movie and thus increase revenue for the person who uploaded the movie.

The pirate who was interviewed by TorrentFreak has uploaded 30,000 movies and television shows on to the Internet using 12 different file-hosting websites. In order to drive traffic and views to those movies, he has added over 200,000 links to streaming link sties that direct people to the pirated content.

Source:  Andy, “Making Money from Movie Streaming Sites, an Insider’s Story,” TorrentFreak, October 19, 2013.

Intellectual property experts in Malaysia state that the cost to produce a pirated DVD that is sold on the streets is $0.16 (.50 Malaysian Ringgit.)

The pirated DVD sellers are able to sell the discs on the streets for $0.95 to $1.58 (3 to 5 Ringgit).

Source:  Rashvinjeet S. Bedi, “Criminologist lauds crackdown on pirated DVD sellers,” Star, October 15, 2013.

A survey conducted by accounting company PwC found that 18 percent of consumers in Britain admitted to purchasing counterfeit alcohol. 16 percent reported purchasing counterfeit drugs such as Viagra and weight-loss pills. And 13 percent admitted to buying counterfeit cigarettes.

British consumers between the ages of 18 to 34 bought the most counterfeits, with 60 percent saying that they bought pirated movies and music and 55 percent have bought replica clothing.

Source:  Rebecca Smithers, “Surge in purchases of counterfeit goods,” Guardian, October 1, 2013.

According to a study commissioned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), 74 percent of consumers surveyed in a study stated that they first found a website offering pirated materials through a search engine.

58 percent of searches with keywords such as the movie’s title or names of television shows had links to online piracy sites, according to the report.

82 percent of search queries that brought a user to a website offering pirated materials was through Google search. This number is in direct contrast with a report released by Google last week. Google claims that just 16 percent of internet users find online piracy sites through a search engine.

Source:  Eriq Gardner, “Why Hollywood Is Suddenly Marveling Over Piracy Studies,” Hollywood Reporter, September 18, 2013.

327 million people around the world was searching for pirated content online, according to a study commissioned by NBCUniversial. The people accessing pirated content accounted for 14 billion page views on websites that were proving content without a licenses. The number of page views was 10 percent higher than the amount recorded in November 2011.

149 million users visited cyberlockers in January 2013, a decrease of 8 percent from November 2011.

Online piracy accounted for 24 percent of total Internet bandwidth in 2012, a 160 percent increase from 2010.

Source:  Richard Verrier, “Online piracy of entertainment content keeps soaring,” Los Angeles Times, Company Town, September 17, 2013.

In 2012, Google disabled the AdSense accounts and prevented ads from being displayed on 46,000 websites that was providing pirated content.

However, Google also stated in the report “How Google Fights Piracy” that all major search engines such as Yahoo, Bing and Google only provides 16 percent of the traffic to bit-torrent and piracy sites like The Pirate Bay. Most of the websites that provides torrents, downloads and pirated materials receive their traffic through social media, word of mouth and other marketing methods.

Source:  “How Google Fights Piracy,” September 2013.