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Home History What it is Facts/Figures The Pirate Party Our Data Facts/Figures

Online music and movie piracy is a real life crime, and with crime comes consequences. The fact is,  online piracy is a continuous problem that is negatively affecting the music and movie industry. However, the level at which piracy has affected these industries is still under quite a bit a dispute. The RIAA asserts that piracy has cost the United States economy over $12 billion in total output  annually as well as over 70,000 lost jobs [1] . The RIAA has also said that “both the volume of music acquired without paying for it and the resulting drop in revenues are staggering. Digital sales, while on the rise, are not making up the difference. There should be no doubt that piracy undermines the entire chain of creating and investing in music [2].” Conversely, there have been studies done that suggest that piracy has a minimal,if not negligible, effect on music sales, and that piracy can in fact sometimes act as a driving force in increasing music sales [3]. What both sides can agree on is the fact that online piracy is now easier and therefore more prevalent than ever.

One example of a band using file sharing to their advantage is when the band Radiohead produced and released a record on their own allowing users to pay whatever they wanted for the album and then download the album online.  In an interview with the lead singer it was reported that the band made more money than all the previous albums combined (Cosstick) [7].  A similar example is with the recent popular computer game Minecraft, which was largely pirated.  The creator is not complaining though, instead he looks at it as more opportunity to increase sales. “Treat game development as a service,” he says. “Make a game last longer than a week. You can’t pirate an online account.” [8].

With the increased awareness about the severity of internet piracy in recent years, it is evident in the below graphs that number of people that pirate media constantly increases [5] and [6]:

Quick Facts on Illegal Piracy: (Results from 2007)

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) members received advance copies, also known as screeners, for 30 out of 34 films. (Everything except Click, Monster House, Poseidon, and Black Dahlia.) 31 out of 34 films were released online in some form, including camcorder footage. (Everything except Letters from Iwo Jima, Notes on a Scandal, and Venus.) 24 screeners were leaked online. (In several cases, they were leaked months before Academy screeners were mailed.) The average length of time between a film’s USA release and its first appearance online is 12 days. On average, a screener appears online 24 days before it’s received by Academy members [4].

Overall, with the graphs and facts shown above, it is evident that there is a severe issue with online piracy on the internet that needs to be corralled. Although the RIAA has made efforts to increase awareness on the consequences of illegal downloading and file sharing on the internet, the fact is, piracy has become a social norm. Whether it be music or movies, the average person has illegally downloaded some sort of media in their lifetime. How can the RIAA and the FBI put a stop to internet piracy? A question that is yet to be answered.


[1]Stephen E. Siwek, “The True Cost of Sound Recording Piracy to the U.S. Economy.” Institute for Policy Innovation Policy Report – #181. (2007)<>

[2]  RIAA. 2011. 17 July 2011 <>.

[3]McGuire, D. (2004, March 29). Study: file-sharing no threat to music sales. The Washington Post , pp.

[4] UnEasySilence. 24 Jan. 2007. 17 July 2011 <>.



[7] Cosstick, Adrian. “OK, Computer: File Sharing, the Music Industry, and Why We Need the Pirate Party.” Journal of Media and Communication. (2009): Print.

[8] “Minecraft Creator Says Piracy Is Not Theft.” IndustryGamers . Web. 19 July 2011. <>.

877 Responses to “Facts/Figures” Ervin Suozzo said: July 20th, 2011 at 1:53 am

Great Post. Would’ve been beneficial to me 5 years ago

Resumes Sydney said: July 23rd, 2011 at 5:03 am

Good resource, Ben. Must have taken some time to compile.

toprice said: August 6th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

You are totally right.

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Jamar Corish said: September 1st, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I for one will fight Organized Crime and not vote for a single incumbent, and tell them the reason why.

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