Piracy of the movies has become a very controversial issue for the movie industries. Many of the people condemn the piracy of the movies for the recent loss of the movies. Movies are not making sufficient profits from their business, as many researchers say. At the same time, some other people say that piracy not the reason for the loss of the movies and piracy is acting like ads and promoters for the movies. Both of the sides have their strong logics and reasoning. From my point of view I think that piracy is affecting the movie industries in negative ways like reduction of paid viewers, financial losses, loss of employment and inspire stealing others’ intellectual properties.
With the increase of the internet and sharing software and websites, the piracy of the movies are increasing every day. Many people these days are avoiding to pay for the movies and prefer to watch the free or cheap pirated copies of the movies. According to Rosenblatt, about 20% of the total viewers of the Hollywood movies are watching pirated versions of the movies (Rosenblatt 2013). In many countries this percentage can reach as high as 45% of the total viewers. As online policing is still lacking the required technologies to identify the illegal websites and software quickly, the viewers of the pirated copies are taking this opportunities.
Though many people believe that piracy is not affecting the number of viewers of the movies, researches show that a good portion of the viewers are shifting from watching legal copies to pirated copiers. People, who ignores the effects of piracy, say that the viewers who are watching pirated copies would not watch the movies if they had to pay. But the research of Rosenblatt showed that thousands of previously paid viewers are becoming the viewers of the free pirated copies. Once people get hooked to watch the movies for free, it becomes a habit for them. Those people would not go back to watch movies again by paying money from their pockets. This way the movie industry is losing a major percentage of the paid viewers.
Pro-piracy people often claim that the industry is not losing money for the piracies, rather piracy works as a way of advertisement for the movies. To counter this claim, it can be said that it should be the choice of the movie-makers if they would want this type of promotion. Viewers cannot decide that by themselves. And in this era of modern technologies, there are more than enough ways to promote the movies. Therefore, as those people are not paying anything for the movies, the movies are not getting any money from them. As more and more people are turning to the pirated copies, the industry is losing money and facing financial losses.
Despite the claim from many people that piracy does not have any impact on the employment and economy, in reality piracy is increasing the unemployment. Due to the financial losses, many of the movie companies are sacking their employees to reduce the loss. People from all levels of the industry are losing their jobs. The earnings of the actors also have been reduced. Some of the artists have left their jobs and looking for jobs in some other fields. According to McBride, in the last 6 years the unemployment in the movie industry has increased by 22 percent. Even some of the movie theaters also have been closed permanently due to lack of viewers. Siwek said that in Asia more than 400 movie theater have been shut down for good and the owners have moved to some other businesses (Siwek 06).
Movie is a great and most popular form of art, and the producers, directors and the artists are the owners of this art. With the help of the piracy the owners of the arts are losing their credit for the creativities, though some people still do not agree with that. Pro-piracy people say that the owners of the movies are not losing their rights from the movies due to piracy. They add that, just some poor people are taking the opportunities of the piracy to enjoy the movies. But in reality things are not that simples. Those free-watchers are in fact stealing the rights and properties of the owners of the arts. When the artists’ works are devaluated in the society, it is not a good sign for the society. Artists are the ones, who carry the traditions and values of a culture. If their works are constantly stolen and degraded, if would affect the whole culture one day.
Though some people argue that piracy does not have any deep impact on the movie industry, it can be proved wrong easily. Piracy is forcing people out of their works, making losses for the movie industry and also devaluation the works of the artists, as discussed above. To protect the movie industry from the dark future, people should come forward and prohibit the piracy of the movies.
Bill Rosenblatt, Yes, Piracy Does Cause Economic Harm; Economics trackback; 2013, http://copyrightandtechnology.com/2013/01/27/yes-piracy-does-cause-economic-harm/
McBride, Sarah, and Geoffrey A. Fowler. “Studios see big rise in estimates of losses to movie piracy.” CHANGE 17 (2006): 0-08.
Siwek, Stephen E. The true cost of motion picture piracy to the US economy. Institute for policy innovation, 2006.