Movie Piracy

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.

As of 2013, the movie industry has backed away from previous figures estimating the losses from movie piracy. The Motion Picture Associated of America previously reported that up to $58 Billion was lost in business revenue in the United States due to pirating activities.

In an April 5, 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that “the industry has backed away from these estimates, while sharing more data with academic researchers.”

The MPAA has changed its strategy in terms of estimating the size of losses by instead acting as a “trusted data broker” and providing data to researchers.

Based on this method, an academic study has found the effect of movie piracy is between $2 Billion to $3 Billion a year.

Source:  Carl Bialik, “Studios Struggle for Focus on Film Pirates’ Booty,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2013.

In late 2007, online video site YouTube introduced Content ID, a program designed to identify and take down copyrighted materials and content from its website.

In 2013, YouTube announced that over 4,000 companies use the program to monitor the website to ensure that their copyrighted materials is not being use. In the 5 years that the program has been in existence, YouTube has identified over 200 million copyrighted videos that were uploaded to the site.

Source:  Amir Efrati, “Reappearing on YouTube: Illegal Movie Uploads,” Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2013.

The regional manager for Virgin Megastore in Dubai stated that their industry believes that it losses between 20 to 30 percent of revenue due to counterfeiting and pirating activities in the Gulf Region.

Other companies in the region state that the loss to revenue could be as high as 60 percent due to counterfeiting.

In a single raid, investigators with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry found nearly 17,000 counterfeit Swiss watches in a private apartment in Dubai.

Source:  Shane McGinley, “10,000 fake watches seized in Dubai raid,” Arabian Business, January 10, 2013.


According to the Motion Picture Association of America, businesses in the United States lose up to $58 Billion and 373,000 jobs a year due to movie piracy activities.

The figure is in dispute, as other researchers put the economic impact of movie piracy at a lower rate. One researcher at the Cato Institute estimates that the impact from pirated movies in the US is less than $500 Million.

Source:  Karl Taro Greenfeld, “Mr. Dodd Goes to Hollywood,” Bloomberg Businessweek, November 15, 2012.

UPDATE:  The MPAA has since backed away from this estimated. Click here for the latest estimated movie piracy losses.

According to a report by Google and the Performing Rights Society for Music in Britain, roughly 86 percent of file-sharing websites that allow users to share digital content rely on advertising to fund their operations. For websites that allow Live-TV Streaming, 67 percent of the sites relied upon advertising to fund their operations.

Source:  Dawn C. Chmielewski, “Report links Google, Yahoo to Internet piracy sites,” Los Angeles Times, Company Town Blog, January 2, 2013.

Full Report: “The six business models for copyright infringement: A data-driven study of websites considered to be infringing copyright,” PRS for Music and Google, June 27, 2012.

According to an anti-piracy organization in Italy, 37 percent of consumers in the country view pirated movies and shows. The viewings of these pirated content causes annual losses of $636 Million (500 Million Euros).

Source:  Nick Vivarelli, “Italy takes on pic pirates,” Variety, November 12, 2012.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan reported that 4.36 billion files of music and video was illegally downloaded in the country in 2010. During that year, 440 million media files were purchased in Japan.

Source:  “Japan introduces piracy penalties for illegal downloads,” BBC News, September 30, 2012.

The illegal trade in pirated DVDs in Ahmedabad, India is estimated to be worth $18 Million (1 Billion Indian Rupees). There are over 200 street vendors and 100 shops that sell pirated movies on DVDs in the city.The stores sell pirated movies of Bollywood films, Hollywood movies, television shows and porn.

A  seller told the media that he sells around 100 DVDs a day and makes between $0.36 to $0.54 (20 to 30 Rupees) for each pirated copy he sells. Out of that total, he pays the police $0.18 (10 Rupees) as a bribe.

 (Examples of police and political corruption.)

Source:  Parth Shastri, “Pirated DVD market is more than Rs 100 crore in size annually,” Times of India, August24, 2012.

In August 2011, the number of times that Internet users in New Zealand viewed pirated movies online was 110,000. After a change in law where pirated content users could be fined up to $11,980 (15,000 New Zealand Dollars), the number of online views of pirated movies dropped to 50,000 in September 2011.

Up to 41 percent of all Internet users in New Zealand access pirated content online. 28 percent of all Internet users worldwide access pirated content online.

Source:  “Four in 10 Kiwis still flout piracy laws,” TV NZ, July 23, 2012.

In 2011, movie piracy in Germany created losses of $200 Million to the film industry. Users in Germany illegally downloaded or viewed unauthorized steams of movies on 185 million occasions.

In the same year, the music industry in Germany lost $660 Million to pirated music.

The total losses of counterfeit goods in Germany is estimated to cause losses of up to $32 Billion a year.

Source: Scott Roxborough, “Study: Cost of German Music Piracy at $660 Million,” Hollywood Reporter, June 12, 2012.