Internet piracy taking big toll on jobs

Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:01pm EDT
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By Sangeeta Shastry

BRUSSELS (Reuters Life!) - Plenty of people download music from the Internet every day, but illegal downloading has a huge economic impact and could put more than one million people out of work by 2015, experts say.

A study into Internet piracy by a Paris-based consultancy published on Wednesday showed that 1.2 million jobs in the European Union could be lost over the next five years if more is not done to clamp down on illegal downloading.

The study by TERA Consultants for the International Chamber of Commerce focused on piracy in Europe's music, film, television and software industries.

Those industries generated 860 billion euros ($1.186 trillion) and employed 14.4 million people in 2008. But in the same year, 10 billion euros and 186,000 jobs were lost to piracy, the study found.

If that trend continues -- and the rapid increase in illegal downloads and advancing piracy techniques suggest it will -- then up to 1.2 million jobs and 240 billion euros worth of European commerce could be wiped out by 2015.

"In the near future and even today in 2010, we observe increasing bandwidth, increasing penetration rate in terms of the Internet," said TERA Consultant's Patrice Geoffron, explaining that piracy was only likely to escalate.

"If we combine all those elements, obviously the impact in a few years won't remain stable compared to what it was in 2008."

ARTISTS SUFFER   Continued...

<p>A customer looks at pirated DVDs at an alley in Beijing December 13, 2007. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV</p>