Study: Piracy costs L.A. billions

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Trumpeted at a press conference featuring Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other local leaders, a regional economic group has unveiled a study showing that entertainment piracy cost area companies $5.2 billion in lost revenue and 106,000 jobs in 2005.

About $2.7 billion was pegged to film piracy and the balance attributed to piracy of music and other intellectual property.

MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said the study, released Friday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., shows that piracy hurts more area businesses than just the movie studios.

"Motion picture piracy results in lost jobs and wages for middle-class American workers inside and outside of the movie industry," Glickman said.

A previous MPAA study put lost revenue from global film piracy at $18.2 billion in '05. The EDC and MPAA figures are based only on informed estimates, but officials said they help point to the magnitude of the problem.

RIAA representatives also participated in the news conference.

In a related announcement, Villaraigosa unveiled plans for an anti-piracy task force. Hollywood's labor unions also put out a statement of support for the anti-piracy efforts.

"We commend (the political leaders) for their foresight in commissioning this comprehensive study on the impact of piracy, in all its forms, on the economy of this city," said the joint statement from the DGA, IATSE, SAG and the WGA. "As the study underscores, the financial effect of piracy is measured in the loss of billions of dollars and more than 100,000 jobs.

"These figures, staggering as they are, are more than just numbers," the unions added. "They have a human face, and it is that of the directors, actors, writers and crew members we represent. Their livelihoods, health benefits and pension plans are inextricably tied to the sale of their films and TV productions after they are seen in the theaters or on television. Piracy strikes at the very heart of the compensation our members receive for the work they do."
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