Internet piracy is a hot issue these days. As the amount of non-text media online grows, so does the amount of pirated media. But, just how much piracy is going on has largely remained a topic of speculation.
Putting Hard Numbers to Online Piracy
A new study conducted by the British firm Envisional has shed new light on just how widespread the piracy problem is.
According to the study, in the United States alone, 17% of the content streaming, downloading, or otherwise being viewed via the internet is pirated material. That’s nearly one-fifth of all the content viewed by Americans.
To be clear, the study measured bandwidth usage. So, Envisional is not saying that 17% of the population in the United States is pirating copyrighted materials. However, it does show that a massive amount of piracy traffic is cutting into the bottom line of many companies in several industries.
The Magnitude of the Problem
If you own your own business, you can readily understand how devastating these numbers are. Imagine if, after paying for your employees’ benefits, covering workman’s comp insurance, paying business taxes, and shelling out for all the operating costs of your business, someone took 17% of your profits and walked out the door.
In fact, you don’t even have to own a business to understand how frustrating this situation is. If you’re a U.S. employee, you’re used to getting a pay check that’s missing a large chunk of the money you’ve worked hard to earn. As the old saying goes, “Who’s FICA and why is he getting all my money.”
Take another 17% off that and imagine how happy you would be.
The Good News
There is a bright side to the Envisional study. It shows a growing online market for a variety of new media. The interest is there, if we can find a way to control widespread piracy, it will open new doors for legitimate businesses to not only make money but provide additional jobs, which, in this economy, would be a welcome sight.
You can read the full Envisional report here.