Does Piracy Hurt the Film Industry?

Piracy has become extremely common in the digital age today. As it is becoming easier to share data via the internet, many people are turning to the internet to illegally download and stream movies. Lets face it: downloading a movie online saves time and money, plus you get to view it without even leaving your bed.

Just this weekend, five Sony movies, including four unreleased ones were leaked online to peer to peer networks by an unknown source. Since then, Fury, one of the movies that was shared, has already been downloaded more than 1.2 million times, and Annie, one of Sony’s unreleased films, has been downloaded over 200,000 times. While this may sound like a big problem, this is not nearly the first time this has happened. In July, The Expendables 3 was leaked online three weeks before it was released, probably causing its poor box office sales.

Because many people just focus on the negative effects of piracy on movie studios, they fail to look at the benefits that it may have.

This video explains why piracy may actually help movie studios and lists reasons why people decide to pirate movies:

In 2011, torrentfreak.com came out with a list of the ten most pirated films of all time. The list included Avatar, The Dark Knight, Transformers, Inception, The Hangover, and Star Trek. All of these films ended up faring extremely well at the box office with Avatar even becoming the highest grossing film of all time.

Similarly, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first movie in the Hobbit series, was the most pirated film of 2013. It ended up getting over 8.4 million downloads on file sharing site BitTorrent. However, the film was the fourth highest grossing movie of 2012 and made $1.017 billion dollars worldwide.

If these movies were illegally downloaded by so many people, why did they still make so much money at the box office?

One of the possible reasons could be that people liked a movie so much seeing it in theaters that they downloaded it to watch it again. This practice doesn’t necessarily hurt movie studios as the viewer did pay to watch the movie.

Another reason could be the buzz generated from watching these films. It is important for movies to generate buzz and discussion, making people want to see it. The more times a movie is watched, the more likely it is for people to talk about it. This will generate free advertising for movie studios.

Overall, there hasnt been enough evidence to prove that film piracy is a big problem.

In the link in this tweet, they researched 32 widely released movies and download statistics. They found that “the amount of times a movie was pirated had no effect on its box office sales”

While there are people who use piracy as a source of their movies, there are still people who still prefer the traditional movie going experience, and movie studios are still profiting because of it.

“Variety.” Variety. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

“Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of All Time | TorrentFreak.” TorrentFreak RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

“The Most Pirated Movies of 2013 — And Why Piracy Isn’t Hurting the Box Office | WIRED.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 31 Dec. 0013. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

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