Online piracy not hurt entertainment industry, despite exaggerated suspicions

 In this July 12, 2017, file photo, Kit Harington, left, and Rose Leslie arrive at the LA Premiere of "Game of Thrones" at The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The couple announced their engagement in the Times of London newspaper on Sept. 27, 2017. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

You’re dying to watch your favorite television show. But, you realize that your subscription to Netflix ended. Or maybe you don’t know your Hulu account information to watch the latest movie that everyone’s talking about. So, discouraged but still hungry for your favorite new show or upcoming movie, the next common step to take would be finding a pirating website that has your desired content. And although the quality may not be the greatest, or you may deal with the pop-up ads every once in while in the middle of an intense scene, the point is that your show is on and it’s playing.

However, a thought crosses your mind. It tells you that this pirated movie or show you're currently watching for free is like an undeserved token. Despite all the hard work the creators of said show or movie put into it, you’re watching their product and they’re not getting a dime from it; you place yourself in that large majority of people who steal their hard-earned money and you fear a cancellation of that favorite show or movie in the future.

Well, piracy is bad, but the majority is not as large as you might think. Many have speculated (even myself) that piracy is ruining the economy of the entertainment industry by posting these shows and movies online for free. The big guys at the European Commission (the executive of the European Union in online and other such affairs) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an organization that strives to stop online piracy, have given reports on how seriously damaging pirating is to the business.

However, that’s not the case. In fact, online pirating rarely has any effect at all on the industry. As much as we’re told by the European Commission that online pirating is a big threat towards the entertainment industry, that fact seems to be more than false.

The EU’s European Commission, SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) have seemed to have been exaggerating the numbers a little too extensively. It was only until recently (most likely from constant pressure from suspicious citizens) that they report that newest blockbuster movies, the type of entertainment receiving the most damage from pirating, had lost only 4.4 percent, on average, due to illegal downloading of movies. This only affects movies that are fresh in theaters and a top hit at the box office .

So what does this tell us? Well, if that 4.4 percent is the biggest percentage of pirating, then it means piracy for television shows and music are hardly making a dent in ruining the jobs of the creative media. A survey from Felix Oberholzer-Gee of the Harvard Business School, which was recorded in an article by Julian Sanchez, stated that file sharing of music and television shows through free websites or live streams did not discourage the authors who made them and did not devastate the sales of said companies who produce the works (arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/internet-regulation-and-the-economics-of-piracy).

Although piracy in the entertainment business exists, it won’t cancel “Game of Thrones,” or even “Rick and Morty.” However, I would still not recommend pirating. It may be a small percentage, but don’t be part of that percentage.


Joseph Frare is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joseph.frare@uconn.edu