Report: Film piracy costs the economy $1.37bn annually
A media conference held on the set of Stephan Elliot’s new comedy A Few Best Men at Fox Studios today has revealed shocking figures surrounding the economic impact of movie piracy within Australia.
A joint study undertaken by IPSOS and Oxford Economics on behalf of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has published the findings of the large-scale damage to the Australian economy.
After interviewing 3500 adults aged 18 and over, a third of the Australian adult population is thought to participate in movie theft of some form – downloading, streaming, buying counterfeit, borrowing and burning unauthorized material.
A total of $1.37 billion loss in revenue, not only to the film community, but to the entire Australian economy is lost, as well as a staggering 6100 jobs over a 12-month period alone.
AFACT executive director Neil Gane said that the report highlights the urgency of action that needs to be taken.
”The report provides the Australian public with the knowledge of the destructive impact of movie theft and allows those involved in online piracy to ‘think before they click’," he said.
An overwhelming 53 per cent of Australians admitted to being involved in some sort of movie piracy which, in turn means that direct consumer spending losses to the movie industry – including cinema owners, local distributors, producers and retailers – amounted to $575 million.
Actor Roy Billing, who spoke at the press conference, compared this final figure to “the equivalent of more than three times the combined revenues of AFL clubs Collingwood, Hawthorn, Carlton and Geelong.
Billing supported the need for immediacy in educating the public about the financial impact of movie theft.
“In terms of organised crime, movie piracy is a bigger earner than the illegal drug trade – The King's Speech is currently in the top ten pirated films of all time with BitTorrent.
“These are staggering figures and it suggests that we need to act urgently to stem the tide of movie theft.
“The livelihood of artists, technicians, laborers and service people, as well as the ability for Australia to compete as a leader in innovation and creativity is at stake.”
Antonia Barnard, a producer on A Few Best Men, spoke briefly about the danger of producing a film.
“It is a risky enough business without having to deal with the notion that all of the hard work and creative input will be worth nothing if your film is stolen.”
Barnard voiced her hopes for the release of A Few Best Men saying “we hope that people will choose to see it as it is intended to be seen – on the big screen – or that the DVD is bought or rented legally.”
When asked the next step, Gane stated that they would “continue at the same pace utilising the same strategy – data in the form of a report – as it clearly shows the economic damage across its entirety.”
“We need a multi-faceted approach; through awareness, education and enforcement, as well as a closer working relationship with internet providers.
“Seven out of ten household members or account holders who receive a warning will change their behaviour when notified by their service provider – it’s a gradual process of education,” Gane concluded.