China cleared of leading IP theft

China cleared of leading IP theft

Britain's record looks less good

An analysis of the recording industry's own piracy data has shown that China far from leading the theft of digital media, but Britain ranks near the top of the table.

A survey of over 20,000 consumers in 22 countries held last year showed that movie studios lost $6.1 billion to piracy, of which 80 per cent came from overseas.

Topping the list of offenders was Mexico, the United Kingdom, and France, accounting for a quarter of all losses. China was well down the table in sixth place.

Analysing the data in the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, Aaron Schwabach, associate professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law found that taken on a damage per capita basis China's cost to the industry was minimal, even if only the top ten per cent of the country's inhabitants likely to have internet access was considered.

This goes contrary to the public perception that China was responsible for large scale theft.

"Politicians in search of a safe, non-voting scapegoat often target foreigners," said Schwabach.

"The unfortunate xenophobia that characterizes public political discourse on everything from immigration to trade policy, not just in the U.S. but worldwide, is the result of this cost minimizing behavior by politicians. It will always be safer for a senator from Michigan to blame Detroit’s economic woes on Japanese carmakers (for somehow competing unfairly) than on Detroit’s carmakers for making lousy cars."

He said that while there is large scale piracy in the country it was largely confined to domestically produced content, which doesn't require a knowledge of English to view and is more suited to Chinese tastes.

He also questioned the values attributed to the loss of revenue by the movie studios.

"Not every unlicensed copy necessarily represents a lost sale," he says.

"Many who might have been willing to pay 60 cents for a pirated DVD of the mind-numbingly awful conclusion to the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy would have been unwilling to pay $22 for a licensed copy, or $11 per person to see the movie in a theater – or would have demanded their money back if they had."