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Split of total estimated trade losses due to copyright piracy (Source: IIPA)

Per capita U.S. dollar loss due to copyright piracy (Source: DailyTech)

Estimated per capita loss against GDP (PPP) per capita (Source: DailyTech)
Canada is the world's largest piracy offender per capita

Last week, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) submitted recommendations to the Bush administration in its “Special 301” review of copyright piracy and market access problems around the world. The IIPA report recommended that 16 countries be placed on a “Priority Watch List,” for piracy offenses. Canada, Mexico and Israel joined China and Russia as countries severely plagued by piracy.

“The annual Special 301 process continues to be the primary means for the U.S. copyright industries to advise U.S. government agencies about the principal impediments to adequate and effective protection in global markets,” noted Eric H. Smith of the IIPA. “Many of the key markets around the world that are infected with high levels of copyright piracy or deny effective market access to copyright industries.”

At first inspection of the figures released by the IIPA, the $2 billion estimated trade losses due to copyright piracy in China and Russia are more than double that of any other nation. Smith comments, “China and Russia are again this year the two countries that are of the greatest concern to the copyright industries, as they were in 2006. While there have been developments in both these key markets over the year, the bottom line is that piracy levels have not come down at all or only marginally, and some problems have grown worse.”

Upon further examination, however, we find that there is more to the Priority Watch List than just raw loss numbers. For example, China leads all nations in piracy with an estimated $2.2 billion lost due from piracy -- but China is also the world’s most populated nation. Could it be that China’s piracy problem is explained by its huge populace? After all, it would be easy to say that China is the world’s biggest consumer of rice because it has the most citizens. While China’s population has a strong role to play in the country’s rice consumption levels, it would be erroneous to attribute the statistic to just a single factor. There are usually several forces at play to explain statistics, as in the example presented with China and rice, culture can be one of them. One raw statistic alone, such as rice consumed or dollars lost, is meaningless without context.

Taking a deeper look into the IIPA’s figures to bring some weight and context behind its estimates show that the Priority Watch List numbers from the Special 301 report are imperfect. Aside the fact that dollar estimates are not an exact science, the IIPA’s lists do not include any figures for the motion picture industry’s losses, has incomplete data for entertainment software and books and features no data for the music industry in Canada. Out of the five categories of copyright piracy, the IIPA only has complete data for business software.

Plotted below is the IIPA’s estimated total business software trade losses due to copyright piracy during 2006 against population and gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP).

Nation

2006 Estimated Total Losses (U.S. dollars millions)*

Population**

Loss Per Capita (U.S. dollars)

GDP (PPP) Per Capita (U.S dollars)***

Canada

551

32,830,400

16.78

34,273

Russia

2180.1

142,400,000

14.80

11,041

Israel

98.4

7,100,000

13.86

23,474

Mexico

1005.6

108,700,000

9.25

10,186

Argentina

301

40,060,000

7.51

14,109

Ukraine

320

46,481,000

6.88

7,213

Venezuela

174.6

27,483,200

6.35

6,186

Costa Rica

27.1

4,327,000

6.26

10,434

Chile

95.6

16,432,674

5.82

11,937

Saudi Arabia

140

27,019,731

5.18

15,229

Thailand

219.7

64,631,595

3.40

8,368

Turkey

243

72,600,000

3.35

7,950

Dominican Republic

20.9

9,183,984

2.28

7,627

China

2207

1,315,844,000

1.68

7,198

Egypt

90

78,887,007

1.14

4,317

India

496.3

1,103,371,000

0.45

3,320

*International Intellectual Property Alliance
**Latest data available on Wikipedia and CIA Factbook
*** International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, September 2006

The table is sorted according to dollars lost per capita, and it’s immediately apparent as to why the IIPA is so critical of Canada. Not only does Canada have the greatest loss per capita at $16.78, but its citizens also have the greatest purchasing power. While the IIPA may be concerned about its loss per capita from Canada, the report the coalition filed expressed frustration with Canadian legislation. The IIPA says that pirates have taken advantage of the gaps in Canadian law to become a “leading exporter” of camcorder bootleg movies and modchips for video game consoles.

On the other hand, China, the world leader in dollars lost from piracy, only manages $1.68 lost per person. Of course, incidents of piracy are likely to be spread very unevenly in a nation with huge disparity between urban and rural areas. The IIPA also points to China as a large exporter of pirated goods to Eastern and Western Europe.

The IIPA has spelled out exactly what it believes China must do, including taking deterrent “criminal” actions against pirates instead of fines, which the coalition believes are meaningless. “So far, it is clear that the Chinese government has not devoted sufficient resources to combat rapidly advancing Internet piracy and needs to further clarify underlying legal rules and enforcement procedures, as well as to expand the opportunity for U.S. copyright based industries to offer legitimate materials to the Chinese public,” the IIPA wrote to the Bush administration.

Russia, the other leader in piracy, stays near the top of the list with $14.80 lost. The U.S. government announced in November 2006 a joint program with Russia to fight piracy. The IIPA acknowledges the development, but continues its disparaging tone, saying, “Despite the repeated efforts of industry and the U.S. government to convince the Russian government to provide meaningful and deterrent enforcement of its copyright and other laws against optical disc factories and all types of piracy -- including some of the most open and notorious websites selling unauthorized materials in the world, such as www.allofmp3.com -- little progress has been made over the years in convincing Russia to take the  enforcement actions that could reduce these high piracy levels.”

Despite Israel’s relatively low $98.4 million loss, its smaller population results in a per capita loss of $13.86. The IIPA’s main concern, however, appears to be the Israeli government’s inaction and indifference to U.S. copyright laws. Specifically, the IIPA is dissatisfied with a bill that “would discriminate against foreign producers of sound recordings specifically, and potentially violate Israel’s bilateral obligations to the United States.”

Mexico places fourth on the list of loss per capita at $9.25 and an overall third in terms of overall losses at over $1 billion, but even then, the country’s ranking may be under rated. Going back to the IIPA’s 2005 report, Mexico posted the highest numbers for movie piracy at $483 million—nearly double that of China. The 2006 IIPA report does not include any information about motion pictures, underscoring the potentially incomplete nature of the coalition’s statistics.

Nevertheless, the IIPA has gathered its stats and focused its attentions on the black markets and reigning governments of Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela.

“The unwillingness of the countries identified in our submission to curb high rates of piracy – in most countries, through more effective and deterrent enforcement – saps the U.S. economy of the high-paying jobs and strong growth rates that make this sector critical to the health of the U.S. economy,” said Smith.



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By masher2 (blog) on 2/21/2007 9:15:26 AM , Rating: 4
> " You see evidence of this throughout the animal kingdom..."

And you see evidence of the exact opposite throughout the human kingdom. How many stories have you seen of would-be rescuers dying while trying to save someone from drowning? Or thousands of people who volunteer to spend a weekend searching for a missing child? Or take a look at the lost-and-found counter at a major airport...crammed full of expensive items found by people who-- rather than keeping them-- turned them in.

None of those examples fits your zero-sum game theory. Humans can possess a moral philosophy more advanced than "me, me, me". Some of us do; some don't. But its not nearly as rare as you believe.


By DocDraken on 2/25/2007 7:55:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How many stories have you seen of would-be rescuers dying while trying to save someone from drowning? Or thousands of people who volunteer to spend a weekend searching for a missing child?


So now you're equating all this to not pirating software? Wow....

quote:
Or take a look at the lost-and-found counter at a major airport...crammed full of expensive items found by people who-- rather than keeping them-- turned them in.


To not turn in the items would be -STEALING-, NOT piracy. If you kept the items someone would be missing them. Haven't we explained this already? You still can't compare the two.

quote:
Humans can possess a moral philosophy more advanced than "me, me, me".


Yes and pirating software doesn't mean your moral philosphy is "me, me, me". That would imply that you don't care about others and therefore would hurt or steal from them. Pirating does neither...


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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