Movie Piracy

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  1. Losses to Movie Industry due to Piracy $2.5 Billion

Movie Piracy

Information and statistics about movie piracy and the sale of pirated movies, DVDs and streaming sites online. Data collected from the entertainment industry and public information sources.

In a survey of over 6,000 people in Finland between the ages of 7 to 84, researchers found that on average each person who downloaded pirated content online had about 2,900 pirated music files and 90 pirated movie files.

The researchers who conducted the study beleives that downloaders have more music files is due to the ease of downloading pirated music. According to the study, downloading movie files require faster internet speeds, more digital storage space, as well as a higher technological ability to playback movies.

(See more movie piracy statistics.)

Amoung the reasons that people gave for committing online piracy were that it was cheaper, and that they could access content that was either not available in their region of before it was released to the general public.

(See more music piracy statistics.)

Source:  Samuel Gibbs, “Piracy study shows illegal downloaders more likely to pay for films than music,” Guardian, May 6, 2014.


A report by TorrentFreak stated that an online service is providing customers with the ability to set up a fully working online streaming site that displays pirated movies and television shows.

People who are looking to own their own movie streaming site pay at least $200 to the service. Once payment is complete, the service provides the scripts that automatically adds updated movies and televisions to the site. All the buyer needs is a server to host the website. According to interviews with one buyer, the total time to set up a new streaming site after payment was between 5 to 10 minuets.

The new owner of the site is then able to recoup the original investment by generating revenue from ads that are displayed on the sites.

It was previously reported that online streaming websites and other BitTorrent sites that offer users pirated movies are collectively able to make $227 Million a year from advertising clicks. A small BitTorrent site that has less than one million unique visitors per day can make around $100,000 a year from advertising.

(More earnings from illegal jobs and activities.)

Source:  Andy, “Buy a Fully Loaded Movie and TV Show Piracy Site for Just $200,” Torrent Freak, April 27, 2014.

Criminal justice agencies in Jamaica reportedly seized $14.5 Million (1.6 Billion Jamaican Dollars) worth of counterfeit goods across the country between April 2013 to April 2014.

Security agents in Jamaica state that proceeds from the sale of counterfeits are used to fund the operations of organized crime groups active in the country.

Between the time period listed above, over 13.1 million pirated CDs and pirated DVDs were seized in raids by intellectual property enforcement campaigns. In addition, over 80 people were apprehended for violation IP laws.

(More information about crime in Jamaica.)

Source:  Livern Barrett, “Counterfeit crackdown – Cops vow to clamp down on masterminds behind intellectual property crimes,” Gleaner, April 26, 2014.


A study on digital content by La Coalicion found that 51 percent of internet users in Spain accessed pirated content in 2013.

84 percent of all digital content, such as movies and music, were illegally consumed in Spain during the year.

43 percent of the internet users who committed online piracy stated that they had either downloaded pirated movies or watched the movie on unlicensed streaming  sites.

The report finds that pirating digital content in Spain causes tax losses of $725 Million and the loss of over 26,000 jobs.

Back in 2012, market research firm Nielsen reported that around 45 percent of all internet pages visited by Spain users had links to pirated music or movies.

Source:  “Half of Spain’s internet users download illegally,” The Local, April 9, 2014.

In a study released by the Digital Citizens Alliance, researchers calculated that online streaming sites and BitTorrent sites that allow users to access pirated movies and television shows make up to $227 Million a year from advertising.

The 30 largest websites, such as The Pirate Bay, earn around $4.4 Million a year, with the largest sites making $6 Million a year from advertising. Smaller websites with less than 1 million unique visitors per month can make over $100,000 a year.

On average, across BitTorrent sites, streaming sites, full movie downloads, and linking sites, the profit margins for these websites is between 80 percent to 94 percent. The main driver of cost for these sites is the hosting fees, since all content is pirated.

(More earnings from illegal jobs and activities.)

Source: “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business,” Digital Citizens Alliance, February 2014.

The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the movie Wolf of Wall Street from being show in the country due to its “extreme scenes of nudity, sex, debauchery, hedonism and cursing”, as reported by the BBC.

Despite the ban, the Oscar-nominated movie directed by Martin Scorsese about a Wall Street stockbroker is readily available on the black market. The reported price for a pirated copy of Wolf of Wall Street sold at street DVD vendors in Kenya is $0.57.

(More black market prices and services.)

Source:  “Kenya arrests over banned Wolf of Wall Street film,” BBC News, February 13, 2014.

In 2008, file sharing of pirated content online accounted for 31 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Sandvine, a network equipment company.

In 2013, file sharing activity accounted for less than 10 percent of overall Internet activity.

Entertainment officials attribute the drop to the rise in free online streaming sites. In a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, when ABC added television shows to popular streaming site Hulu, the illegal pirating of those shows dropped almost 20 percent when compared with a control group.

Source:  Joshua Brustein, “Want to Fight Off Content Pirates? Just Stream Your Show for Free,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 2, 2013.

On average, criminal justice programs in South Africa record 26 busts of counterfeit goods from entering the country through ports of entry each day.

In 2013, a total of $251 Million (2.6 Billion South African Rand) was seized by security services in South Africa. Among the items seized were replica clothing worth $14.9 Million (155 Million Rand) and pirated DVDs and CDs worth $64 Million (671 Million Rand).

Source:  “South Africa Wages War On Pirated Goods,” Bernama, November 12, 2013.

In an interview with TorrnetFreak, an online pirate who uploads movies to streaming sites explained how he makes money.

According to the individual, a person uploads content such as movies or television shows to a file-hosting site. Users who watch the movies are also show advertisements. The file-hosting website has affiliate programs where ad revenue that is generated is shared with the person who uploaded the movie. On average, the payout to the person who uploaded the movie is around $1 to $2 for each 1,000 views that the movie or tv show generates.

(Cash payments reported from under the table jobs.)

Both the file-hosting site and the person uploading the movie both benefit from having more people view the content. Thus, streaming link sites exist. These sties collect links to the file-hosting site in a way similar to how search engines work. The more streaming links there are, the more people are able to view the movie and thus increase revenue for the person who uploaded the movie.

The pirate who was interviewed by TorrentFreak has uploaded 30,000 movies and television shows on to the Internet using 12 different file-hosting websites. In order to drive traffic and views to those movies, he has added over 200,000 links to streaming link sties that direct people to the pirated content.

Source:  Andy, “Making Money from Movie Streaming Sites, an Insider’s Story,” TorrentFreak, October 19, 2013.

Intellectual property experts in Malaysia state that the cost to produce a pirated DVD that is sold on the streets is $0.16 (.50 Malaysian Ringgit.)

The pirated DVD sellers are able to sell the discs on the streets for $0.95 to $1.58 (3 to 5 Ringgit).

Source:  Rashvinjeet S. Bedi, “Criminologist lauds crackdown on pirated DVD sellers,” Star, October 15, 2013.