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Digital video piracy costs movie and TV industry at least $29 billion a year, study says

It's estimated that at least 230,000 jobs were lost because of it.

Piracy is costing the entertainment industry a lot of money. 
James Martin/CNET

Piracy doesn't just affect the US entertainment industry, says a new government study. It's capping the industry's earning potential while also hurting the economy.

Global digital piracy costs the US film and TV industry at least an estimated $29.2 billion and as much as $71 billion annually, according to a new study from the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center on Tuesday. That represents a revenue reduction of 11% to 24%. The study also says 230,000 to 560,000 jobs were lost because of piracy, which in turn resulted in the US GDP taking a hit of $47.5 billion to as much as $115.3 billion in 2017.

"Digital video piracy results in significant losses to the US economy, harming businesses ranging from content production firms to the innovative technology companies that are driving the digital distribution revolution," David Hirschmann, CEO of GIPC, said in the study. "While there is no single solution, global collaboration among industries and governments to educate consumers of the dangers of piracy, coupled with the expansion of legal options in cases of infringement, is necessary to curb these negative effects."

The methodology for the study used estimates based on the number of digitally pirated movies and TV episodes, the market value of that content and how much of that content would have been purchased. The biggest culprit of piracy is online streaming, which accounts for more than 80% of pirated content, according to the study.