The study, penned by Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), claims that piracy will cost EU businesses over 240 Billion Euros by the year 2015 and result in 1.2 million jobs being lost in the same period. These job losses aren’t limited to content manufacturers, but oddly includes losses from “device manufacturers, retail employees, cargo handling and water transport.”
Given that the industry’s current (incredibly inflated) estimates peg piracy’s cumulative impact at approximately 10 Billion Euros lost and 185,000 jobs lost, it would take an absurd leap of logic to reach these numbers. So how did they do it?
Well, they took these inflated statistics and then multiplied them by the estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate of internet adoption (130%). This methodology is certainly flawed. For one thing, it’s not a stretch to assert that the most likely pirates are the most savvy internet users, namely people who already have internet connections. While some of these new users will find themselves using uTorrent, the majority probably won’t.
Even assuming that this part of the study is valid, the study’s big number is its assumption that piracy will spread far beyond P2P. The study’s big, scary headline seems to be totally arbitrary. Indeed, in the study, there isn’t a detailed explanation of the study’s methodology.
Moreover, the study greatly overestimates the impact of piracy on device manufacturers, retail stores and sailors. As piracy has become more widespread, companies like LG have designed their devices to play ripped movies. As for retail stores, one only has to look at the plight of companies like Blockbuster to see that it’s not piracy that’s killing some of them. The online alternatives are just better. And it looks like the poor sailors are SOL anyways, with the rise of direct to download.
The most disturbing thing about this study is that it’s already being parroted as gospel truth by industry advocates trying to lobby the EU’s member states. If they say something that’s incorrect loudly and repeatedly, people might start to believe them.