Andrew Robinson: The true cost of piracy is, of course, zero.

The true cost of piracy is, of course, zero. Piracy neither creates nor destroys money. It may divert money from one industry to another, but if a penniless student who can’t afford to go to the cinema has movie files with a retail price of $30,000 on his computer, the movie industry would have you believe they’ve suffered a $30,000 loss, when in reality, if piracy was somehow made impossible overnight and all illegal copies destroyed, the student would still be penniless, and the movie industry would be no better off… in fact it would be worse off, because in 20 years time that student wouldn’t be tempted to buy the 20th anniversary reissue for nostalgia’s sake.

If all the figures presented here are correct, then universities would be around $500,000 better off, and the IFPI, RIAA, MPAA and BSA would be around $30m better off if politicians did what 54% of the American population think they ought to do, and legalised private copying.

  • Andrew Robinson