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Digital piracy continues to spread, despite the persistent efforts of rights holders and companies specializing in the fight against this phenomenon. Everyone knows that one of the main consequences of piracy is the loss of revenue for content creators. But beyond simple copyright infringement, digital piracy has much wider implications, and one of the most worrying is its consequences on unemployment in the creative and entertainment sectors. We will therefore attempt to explore some of the facets of this complex issue, highlighting the economic and social impacts of this practice on individuals and industries.

The economic impact on the entertainment industry: key figures

On average, over half a million people lose their jobs every year due to online piracy. In the music sector alone, an estimated 71,000 jobs are lost every year due to piracy. On average, around $12.5 billion a year is lost to piracy, although as with any illegal activity, exact figures are of course impossible to obtain. According to the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), between 230,000 and 560,000 jobs are lost every year in the USA due to piracy. The problem shows no signs of abating, with the International Chamber of Commerce estimating that the global loss of revenue due to piracy will reach $991 billion by 2022.

The domino effect on jobs

The direct financial loss caused by digital piracy creates a domino effect: by depriving artists and entertainment companies of their income, it contributes directly to the loss of jobs in creative sectors such as music, film, software and video games.

The film and music industries are among the hardest hit by digital piracy. Fims, albums and TV shows are massively distributed online without consent or monetary compensation, resulting in considerable financial losses for producers, studios and artists. This reduction in revenue can lead to budget cuts, including numerous job losses in areas ranging from creation to post-production.

Similarly, in the software sector, companies depend on license sales. Counterfeit versions are very easy to find online, and they are also quite popular (not least because of the price of some software, one of the most pirated being Photoshop). Companies may be forced to cut staff, affecting jobs in areas as diverse as development, maintenance and technical support.

Impact on small businesses and start-ups

Small businesses and start-ups, often more vulnerable to financial loss, can be particularly hard hit. Product counterfeiting and unauthorized software distribution can result in losses large enough to compromise the very viability of these businesses. In smaller companies, not only are jobs affected, but there are also cases where very few products, or even just one, are marketed. So, if the product that brings in the most revenue is pirated, the whole company suffers the consequences, even going bankrupt and having to discontinue the product. The pirated versions, on the other hand, will continue to be available, or even be improved, without any consequences for the pirates.

New opportunities emerging

Paradoxically, digital piracy has also contributed to the rise of certain sectors, especially cybersecurity. The growing need to protect data and systems against online attacks has created an exponential demand for IT security experts, opening up new employment prospects in an ever-evolving field. Indeed, skilled professionals in cybersecurity, copyright management and the development of digital protection strategies have become essential to help businesses withstand the onslaught of digital piracy.

Unemployment linked to digital piracy is therefore a multifaceted problem requiring a holistic approach. Content creators, businesses and governments need to work closely together to develop effective strategies to combat piracy while stimulating job creation in emerging sectors. By balancing the protection of intellectual property rights with the promotion of innovation, society can aspire to mitigate the negative effects of piracy on employment and build a more resilient economic and social future.

In our next article, we’ll look at how piracy not only affects unemployment, but also the creation, product quality and reputation of companies; in the meantime, if you have a film, series, software or e-book to protect, don’t hesitate to call on our services by contacting one of our account managers; PDN has been a pioneer in cybersecurity and anti-piracy for over ten years, and we’re bound to have a solution to help you. Happy reading and see you soon!

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