Every day many people choose to go online to watch a movie rather than to go to the movie theatres. While people are free to do what they want to do, what most people don’t realize is the damage they are doing to the future of the entertainment industry. By watching a pirated movie online, there is a lot of money that isn’t going to the many people who worked to make that movie a reality. The workers behind—the-scenes that make it possible for the movie sets to come alive, the movie studios and actors fans love and adore miss out on due profits because of movie piracy. Therefore, movie piracy hurts the movie studios, movie workers, and economy even though movie piracy doesn’t necessarily hurt domestic box office sales.
While watching pirate movies online may seem like the best choice for many people on a budget, it’s not fair to make the movie studios and workers suffer financial losses due to stealing. As put by Granados, losses from movie piracy “trickle down to directors, actors, and others who miss out on royalties that would have otherwise accrued from legal consumption” (Granados, 2015). If consumers of pirated movies would not continue to watch pirated movies, the huge losses appear to be able to stop. However, according to the “researchers at Wellesley College and the University of Minnesota [there] was no evidence that piracy displaced domestic sales” upon reviewing “U.S. box office receipts before and after the introduction of BitTorrent in 2003” (Han, 2012). Still, other academic studies determined the losses to be “conservative” but significant. For example, a “2014 peer-reviewed study at Carnegie Mellon found that piracy prior to release leads to 19% additional box office losses relative to post-release piracy” (Granados, 2015). Thus, movie piracy does dramatically hurt the movie studio’s profits in the international market, but not as much in the domestic market. While movie studios may not seem to lose an enormous amount in theory, in reality, they do lose a lot because a lot of the funding for movies must be paid back. All profit counts with movie studios even if it may be termed insignificant by those not involved.
Due to the fact that movies don’t just appear out of think air, it’s important for all those involved to receive proper payment for their hard work. With movie piracy running rampant, this is very difficult to do. Movies usually require “ a high fixed cost of product[ion]” so every penny that is lost to piracy “can be the difference between making a profit or not” (Granados, 2015). The difference can even mean firing necessary employees for the studio to be able to still make a profit. In the article “Piracy’s Ripple Effect on the Global Economy, “ Scholes states “technicians, editors, producers, hair stylists and camera operators are just a few of the 2.4 million U.S. employees that make up the entertainment industry” (Scholes, 2014). Scholes found that many creators today are indeed suffering because of piracy. Scholes states “it’s estimated that 750,000 jobs have been lost due to online piracy” (2014). Not only do the movie studios suffer heavy losses, but also the people that staff Hollywood lots and make Hollywood magic everyday suffer because of movie piracy.
With movies such as Expendables 3 having such a mass appeal, this movie should have not suffered losses, however it did because of movie piracy. According to Granados, Expendables 3 is estimated to have “lost about $100 million due to piracy” which comes out to be “about a $1.40 loss per pirated copy” (Granados, 2015). Thus, movie piracy does have a significant impact on the movie studios and the workers. On a large scale, movie piracy even hurts the economy being that the entertainment industry is an $80 billion industry but all this could end if movie piracy continues (Scholes, 2014). As stated brilliantly by Avi Lerner, producer of Expendables 3, “If piracy continues to be rampant like this, then in four to five years it will be the end of the independent film business as we know it and the studios will be making way less films then they do now” (Granados,2015). This means that the $80 million a year contribution that the entertainment industry gives to the U.S. economy would decrease significantly affecting not only those in the entertainment industry but in the economy as well.
Thus, even though movie piracy doesn’t affect the profits movie studios make in the United States, it does affect the money they make in international markets. Most importantly, however, movie piracy affects all those people that have families and mouths to feed that work in the movie industry including publishers, authors, actors, directors, maintenance workers, movie investors, etc… Therefore, before going online to watch a free film it’s important for the consumer to think about the long-term consequences for the Hollywood magic makers.