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Hollywood Box Office Unaffected by Online Piracy


Noofa Hannan, Howl Staff

The recently-introduced US bill, SOPA, was created to target online piracy. The bill is meant to protect the movie industry from the the enormous threat BitTorrenters pose. However, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College has revealed that this is far from the truth.

According to the study that investigated box office history, online pirated movies had no effect on domestic revenues generated by Hollywood movies. “We do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in U.S. box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent,” said the researchers. “Consumers in the U.S. who would choose between the box office and piracy, choose the box office.”

It should be noted that where the international market is concerned, the introduction of BitTorrent did contribute to a seven percent drop in receipts from countries other than the U.S. But, there’s a valid explanation for that. Researchers suggested that the delayed legal availability of content abroad drive the international audience to piracy. The study found that the longer it took for a movie to get released in other countries, the more likely people were to illegally download it. Simply put, eager Hollywood fans could not resist waiting for the movie to come out in their native countries and resorted to watching pirated versions.

In sum, it’s ridiculous to see that a seven percent drop could contribute to the creation of major internet laws. Movie studios could have simply focused on adjusting international release date windows if they wanted to minimize their losses.

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