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News

Intellectual property advisory board release software piracy report

The Federation Against Software Theft : 12 June, 2009  (Technical Article)
Report from advisory group details industry losses of £12 billion per year through illegal digital content downloads
The cost to the economy of unauthorised downloads of digital content including software equates, as a conservative estimate, to £12 billion a year, according to the findings of the first definitive study into the economic impact of illegal file-sharing.

The report, commissioned by The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP), has been welcomed by FAST IiS as it is the first comprehensive study into online consumer behaviour and the financial cost to UK business.

John Lovelock, Chief Executive of FAST IiS, stated: "The timing of this report could not be better, coming one week before the publishing of the UK Government's Digital Britain Report and a week after the Swedes elected their first (and hopefully only) Pirate Party MEP. The loss figure used by industry for a number of years has always been denigrated by Government as exaggerated, but that was a mere £10 billion, it seems we weren't far from the mark after all!"

"Europe is at a crossroads: on the one hand we are gathering more and more evidence on the economic impact of piracy and yet, on the other, we are seeing a backlash. There is no doubt in our minds that the result in Sweden was more to do with domestic political issues following the recent sentencing of two members of Pirate Bay. But this sends a message to any content creators: illegal file-sharing is being viewed as legitimate, as fair game, and now a political issue."

The report itself found that on one peer-to-peer network at midday on a week day there were over 1.3 million sharing content. If each 'peer' in the network downloaded just one file a day that would equate to 0.47 billion items a year. This, according to the report's authors, equates to £12 billion of lost revenue to digital content owners, based on their assessment of the value of an individual file.

"At a time when Europe's economy is facing its biggest challenge since the 1930s the last thing the creative industries need is a pro-piracy evangelist sitting in Europe. The EU is responsible for the overwhelming majority of legislation passing through the UK Parliament. I can only hope that this MEP will be a lone voice in a sea of commonsense," he concluded.
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