Study finds BitTorrent piracy does not affect US box office

Contrary to the claims of the movie industry, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College concluded that there is no evidence that BitTorrent piracy hurts U.S. box office returns, as reported by TorrentFreak. They did find, however, that there is a link between illegal movie downloads and movie revenue in international markets, which the researchers attributed to long release windows.

The paper, titled "Reel Piracy: The Effect of Online Film Piracy on International Box Office Sales," hypothesized that international movie revenue losses due to piracy are directly linked to the sometimes long delay between U.S. and foreign movie premieres. According to the study, international box office revenues will be impacted by piracy more significantly the longer it takes for a movie to be released in that market.

“We find that longer release windows are associated with decreased box office returns, even after controlling for film and country fixed effects. This relationship is much stronger in contexts where piracy is more prevalent: after BitTorrent’s adoption and in heavily pirated genres,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “Our findings indicate that, as a lower bound, international box office returns in our sample were at least 7% lower than they would have been in the absence of pre-release piracy.”

In contrast to these findings, the researchers reported that this negative effect of BitTorrent movie piracy does not extend to the domestic box office. “We do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in US box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent, and we suggest that delayed legal availability of the content abroad may drive the losses to piracy,” the researchers wrote.

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Once again, huh? Last time, The Pirate Bay used this as a defense and that was three years ago.

But the film industry have shown over and over again that they aren't interested in this kind of research. Either that, or they just aren't listening. In either case, it's not helping them.

It has been shown that among the most active consumers in this industry are also those who tend to commit to piracy. I don't find this synergy effect too surprising. Letting a person learn an actor, or watch a part in a trilogy, could make that person more interested in seeing more of that actor or that trilogy in a better experience (cinema). With no piracy, the person may have been oblivious. (no, YouTube trailers are often not good enough to tell someone whether a film is good)

makes sense, most people wait till the dvd or blueray comes out and then download copies of that? downloading copies of films recorded in cinemas is hit and miss for quality

Studies like these crack me up that come out with absolute findings.

"Contrary to the claims of the movie industry, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College concluded that there is no evidence that BitTorrent piracy hurts U.S. box office returns, as reported by TorrentFreak. "

I use to go to the movies all the time. Now, when I want to watch a movie that is in theaters, unless a group of friends want to also watch it, I stay home and save the $20. Saying there is no evidence when plenty of people say that they don't go to the movies because they can watch it for free means the statement that there is "no evidence" is completely false.

One more thing!!! Comcast, AT&T or network owner! is not the original copyright holder tell them to mind there damn business and adhere to the damn privacy policy and LAWS!

and another thing if that were true. FBI would shut down the damn network!!! US government with AT&T owns the backbone! They would just shut you down because artist producer "orgianl copyright holder" not RIAA or MPAA said you are depriving them of a fair wage! read the day US Bill of rights then post you articles!

As far as I can tell there is no Bit Torrent Piracy. as most of that stuff is vetted by IRC channels and groups they come from. Or Posted by store bought anon "source listed in text file they told you not to remove" user a, b, c, or d! FBI watches all of that!! TELL THE TRUTH! They are looking for counterfeiting and trade of illegal wares. One again Piracy is "theft while in transit". IE bit "Packet" sniffing would be Piracy as you are stealing my packets while in transit. its also a violation of US and UN privacy law.

Edited by Erik Ryans, Feb 12 2012, 5:08pm :

7%! loss in international markets!

SHUT DOWN THE INTERNET!

Seriously, they should have skewed their results like the MPAA and RIAA does and showed a 55% INCREASE in sales.

I've got two blu-ray box sets of House. Last two seasons I've downloaded only as I STILL can't buy them legally in the UK.

If they sold them I'd buy them. What do they expect?

stevehoot said,
I've got two blu-ray box sets of House. Last two seasons I've downloaded only as I STILL can't buy them legally in the UK.

If they sold them I'd buy them. What do they expect?

We face the same problem over here... >_< And to answer your last question, I guess they expect us to wait to be given the "right" to buy it legally...

Yeah but they are greedy. They want to stop some thing which cannot be stopped. And some of them might be doing piracy themselves under the table.

I know that, we know that, the world knows that, the courts know that, but the MPAA/RIAA try to forget they know that. How else do you get news that a movie is out there?? bonk. Just found out one movies been on dvd since 2010 but didn't know it and had been looking for it. It's technically not out. It's an on demand dvd.

And the same with game industry at some points. In this age what's the point of region restrictions? Yea Warner I'm looking at you and Arkham City.

I like these studies. They make up a bunch of numbers that so it appears that the people stealing movies and other crap aren't hurting any specific industry. /s

Pam14160 said,
I like these studies. They make up a bunch of numbers that so it appears that the people stealing movies and other crap aren't hurting any specific industry. /s

If they are made up numbers there are a few things that don't make sense.

For example, release dates of movies in cinemas and even on dvds/bluray etc are staged around the world, sometimes as much as a year later. Why should someone in the UK get a movie such as harry potter a month before the USA? OR indeed the otherway around.

Why are corps such as CBS releasing TV Shows that are litterly years behind to other counties yet still have fan facebook pages that detail the latest shows with links to their website and then tell us we're now allowed to watch said show trailer because we're in the wrong country.

Thats just ****ing your fan base off. Sure I can understand they want to maximise their income, but if you're going to do it then at least support the fans that you're ripping off.

We are fans of the movies, we DO want to watch or listen what they produce. People who are going to pay will generally do so anyway regardless of if they've downloaded it off the internet.
I know for sure that people download shows, movies and then go on to buy them in retail DVD packs or even become bigger fans and buy tshirts etc.


Crimalising your fan base isn't going to help things. I've spent a lot of money on DVDs in the past only to get abused at the start of movies telling me not to pirate the DVD... hello? i've just brought it! not able to skip the warning and then getting 30 minutes of trailers that can't be skipped by which point the kids are already fed up and more excited about the next movie then the one they wanted to watch.

As a bit of a movie geek, I could rant for hours on the crap that ****es me off every time I want to watch a movie. If hollywood wants to help itself they should move with the times and not try rip people off and force crap on to legit paying customers.

sagum said,

If they are made up numbers there are a few things that don't make sense.

For example, release dates of movies in cinemas and even on dvds/bluray etc are staged around the world, sometimes as much as a year later. Why should someone in the UK get a movie such as harry potter a month before the USA? OR indeed the otherway around.

Why are corps such as CBS releasing TV Shows that are litterly years behind to other counties yet still have fan facebook pages that detail the latest shows with links to their website and then tell us we're now allowed to watch said show trailer because we're in the wrong country.

Thats just ****ing your fan base off. Sure I can understand they want to maximise their income, but if you're going to do it then at least support the fans that you're ripping off.

We are fans of the movies, we DO want to watch or listen what they produce. People who are going to pay will generally do so anyway regardless of if they've downloaded it off the internet.
I know for sure that people download shows, movies and then go on to buy them in retail DVD packs or even become bigger fans and buy tshirts etc.


Crimalising your fan base isn't going to help things. I've spent a lot of money on DVDs in the past only to get abused at the start of movies telling me not to pirate the DVD... hello? i've just brought it! not able to skip the warning and then getting 30 minutes of trailers that can't be skipped by which point the kids are already fed up and more excited about the next movie then the one they wanted to watch.

As a bit of a movie geek, I could rant for hours on the crap that ****es me off every time I want to watch a movie. If hollywood wants to help itself they should move with the times and not try rip people off and force crap on to legit paying customers.

You forgot to mention that DVDs\BluRays are blocked by region codes too.

Another thing to note is, Why the hell do studios take 3-4 months to release a Blu-ray or DVD versions of the movie once it's out of all the cinema halls around the world?
Take Avatar for example. Does it really take 3-4 months to master a Blu-ray?

sanke1 said,
Another thing to note is, Why the hell do studios take 3-4 months to release a Blu-ray or DVD versions of the movie once it's out of all the cinema halls around the world?
Take Avatar for example. Does it really take 3-4 months to master a Blu-ray?

Nope, if they released it earlier they'd make less money in theaters. Believe it or not but I know people who actually have gone to see a movie again after seeing it in theaters.

De.Bug said,

Nope, if they released it earlier they'd make less money in theaters. Believe it or not but I know people who actually have gone to see a movie again after seeing it in theaters.

Movies are usually kept in theaters, what? A month or so so that the theaters can make room for newer movies? If they could get a dvd/blu-ray out a month or 2 after it left theaters it would be much better.

Also if the people that would go and see it at a theater, if they didn't go see it there wouldn't they end up buying it and making the company even more money seeing as dvd's and blu-rays cost more then a movie ticket?

ir0nw0lf said,
And in related news: DUH! LOL How long have "we" been saying this?

Huh. I must have been imaging it when I've asked people if they saw (insert film title here) and they said they have. When I asked it where they saw it, it was *not* at the movie theater.

Yeah. It never happens. Right.

PeterTHX said,

Huh. I must have been imaging it when I've asked people if they saw (insert film title here) and they said they have. When I asked it where they saw it, it was *not* at the movie theater.

Yeah. It never happens. Right.

You should have asked "without torrent would you have paid to watch the movies in the theater ?" 90% would answer, NO.

alexalex said,

You should have asked "without torrent would you have paid to watch the movies in the theater ?" 90% would answer, NO.

If 90% answer no, that means 10% answer yes with is 100% against the claims of this study. Nice logic there.

I'm sure the movie industry will take this on board, stop their anti-piracy witch hunts and instead focus on brining their wares to worldwide markets more swiftly.

Kushan said,
I'm sure the movie industry will take this on board, stop their anti-piracy witch hunts and instead focus on brining their wares to worldwide markets more swiftly.

indeed, these two agencies (MPAA and RIAA) would lose their purpose for existing and they need fabricated reasons to make money.