Piracy cost Spain $6 bil in 2nd half of '09

Spain responsible for 20% of worldwide downloads

MADRID -- Rampant piracy in Spain cost the music, video and film industries some €5.1 billion ($6.28 billion) -- or triple the €1.6 billion ($1.97 billion) earned in sales by those industries -- in the second half of 2009, according to a study released this week.

Spain is responsible for an estimated 20% of worldwide downloads, securing it the dubious distinction of one of the top pirating havens in the world. But until now, the industry has been hard-pressed to quantify the losses.

The study, based on some 6,000 surveys, is to be conducted regularly from now on every six months.

According to IDC consulting firm's study "Observation of pirating and consumption habits of digital content" for Spain's Coalition of Cultural Creators and Industries, 95.6% of the digital music in Spain is downloaded illegally, while film registers some 83.7% illegal downloads and video games 52.3%.

Only 19.7% of the digital books downloaded in Spain in the second half of last year were done so illegally.

Translated to money, the film industry lost some €2.4 billion ($2.95 billion) due to pirating, while the music industry missed out on €2.3 billion ($2.83 billion) in sales thanks to illegal downloads.

According to the study, 80% of those asked said they used peer-to-peer sites for direct file exchange, while 43% said they downloaded from websites.

"The Economic Sustainability Law won't do anything to stop that 80%," said Antonio Guisasola, president of lobby Promusicae, referring to the so-called anti-download law that allows a judge to shut down a website that sells illegal content.

The study came out as the Spanish film industry announced the second edition of its "Fiesta de Cine" that allows moviegoers to pay €2 ($2.46) to see any film in 322 theaters and 2,877 screens from June 4-9. The initiative is supported by the sector's various segments: distributors, producers, exhibitors and rights holders.

"The idea is to get people to go to the movies," said Pedro Perez, President of Spain's federation of producers FAPAE.
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