back to article Net downloads cause 'millions of lost jobs'

A study for the international chamber of commerce reckons 2.7 million jobs have been lost since 2004 in Europe because of unlicensed internet downloads, and warns economic losses could treble to €32bn by 2015. The report is backed by trade unions, including the TUC. The work was led by Patrice Geffon, an economist at Paris …


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  1. Dirk Vandenheuvel

    Then again...

    I am sure trying to prevent downloading also creates quite a big amount of jobs.

  2. hplasm Silver badge


    What will they blame when (if) all 'illegal downloads' are somehow stopped, and the decline continues?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I'm sure they won't blame it on bland, formulaic, uninpsireing music, coupled with endless hollywood rehashes of old classics would they.

      Nah they'll blame it on Global warming....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      re: But-

      ...a very surprised expression?

    3. Mark Boothroyd


      Yup, I would expect so...

      Software companies that provide copy protection to games etc. SecuROM etc that wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for Piracy.

      Hardware companies that provide hardware dongles that unlock software.

      Many legal firms, some now specialising in piracy.

      All the politicians and their henchmen that seem to be always involved.

      on line file hosting services making money out of subscriptions and advertising.

      etc. etc.

    4. Captain Save-a-ho

      Like duh?!

      Everyone knows that the real source of all these problems is ManBearPig...

  3. ElFatbob

    One wonders if..

    these are the same guys who write the IPCC reports?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      You could easy find out

      Climatetards can simply check the IPCC website and find the CORE CABAL OF THE JEWISH^H^H^H^H^H^HCLIMATE CONSPIRACY easily.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Thousands write the IPCC reports, which is why it's no great shock if an odd (but minor) error creeps in.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Loss of sales...

    26 per cent decline in the retail value of music between 2004 and 2008. This was probably due to latest releases being shit!

    I only download illegally because it's free. If it wasn't free, I wouldn't pay for it. I just wouldn't bother to own it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I read 39,000 in the Metro today.

    That's still bollocks. There's jobs created in stopping people downloading. And to be honest I spend more money on products through downloading. Box sets, blurays, cds... I probably download between 10 and 30 albums to listen to, and I'll buy 2-5. That's albums I'd previously never heard of and would never have heard of were it not for the internet.

    I've bought films, bought series for myself and friends, travelled vast distances to see bands I'd only found out about the week before all thanks to so-called illegal downloads. It's almost like a massive free trial for me, one which costs me most of my spare cash :/

  6. Gary 23
    Thumb Up

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    They'll probably blame radio stations - MTV and the like.

    We'll probably end up in a situation where you can only listen to music if you actually buy it.

  7. Neal 5

    Not really a surprise

    and I'm sure that many don't see a connection with the internet and job losses in the real world, however, I'm sure that almost any postman will be able to tell you the pressures that email has had on their jobs. Not that email is an unlicensed download, but that the internet in general has had a downwards pressure on employment for a long time.

    Mind you, i also can't see the difference between an unlicensed download and one bought from iTunes to be fair, delivery method is exactly the same, 'ceptin of course, Mr Jobs doesn't get his nickel or dime or whatever it is, and Big Music really should have got it's house in order by now instead of pursuing the occassional downloader through their minions in the House forcing the "MandyBill" down our throats..

    In fact, i am now going to directly dispiute the claims made, by extolling the fact that the Black market economy has flourished, and continues to do so, creating jobs for errant teenagers who would instead be selling drugs, or pimping their sisters on street corners.

    I'm afraid the unions and the chamber Of Commerce, can't have their cake and eat it, this time anyway.

    El Reg hacks should be used to how the Black economy works, all those undisclosed back handers and stuffed brown envelopes from this weeks in favour evil empire. Or not as the case may be.

    Still the pubs have been open for the last half hour, maybe some solace for all in there.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Not really a surprise

      Lots of black economies become legitimate economies eventually, and so will P2P.

      It's just taking a bit longer, that's all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not really a surprise

      "I'm sure that many don't see a connection with the internet and job losses in the real world, however, I'm sure that almost any postman will be able to tell you the pressures that email has had on their jobs."

      Yeah, they don't get any work from all the internet purchases that Britons make (more than any other Europeans ISTR).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Poor quality

      If its so bad why download it at all, it only gives the record industry a reason to do nothing but blame it on downloaders.

      If its worth the money to you and you want it buy it, but if not leave it alone.

      When the downloading goes down and the sales still do not rise maybe they will understand that their price is too high or the quality too poor.

    4. Les Matthew

      @Neal 5

      "I'm sure that almost any postman will be able to tell you the pressures that email has had on their jobs."

      I think you may be surprised by the answer.

      It's a long read but the bit about how the management calculate the volume of mail is interesting.

      Search down for:

      "The truth is that the figures aren’t down at all"

      and read on.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Not really a surprise

      "I'm sure that almost any postman will be able to tell you the pressures that email has had on their jobs."

      Probably not the best example you could have chosen. Judging by the amount of unsolicited junk-mail that gets shovelled through my letterbox I would say that my local postie is seriously overworked.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Agree with post #1

    True, true but the system then loses its taxation revenues and for a bankrupt nation tax revenue streams are mission critical.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Let's play Freetard Bingo!

    Of the next ten comments eight will say one of the following:

    * I'll start buying it when they take off DRM, honest I will

    * Digital music should be free because the marginal cost is almost zero

    * Only pop stars get the money I'm not buying Bill Gates / Cliff Richard another yacht.

    Then the freetard will go and buy a £3.49 Starbucks Latte and feel very smug.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Let's play Paytard Bingo!

      Of the next ten comments, eight will say one of the following:

      * You're all thieves

      * My mate can't make a living because of the freetards

      * Piracy is a crime

      Then the paytard will go and tell his mate that the reason he can't make a living is because of the nasty file-sharers, instead of that his music is bollocks and that he should get a proper job.

    2. Gordon is not a Moron

      well a quick count tells us...

      that the next 10 posts after yours (11 if you included this one) contain absolutely of those phrases.

      So instead lets play Asshat bingo! Oh look I won you're there already.

    3. seanj

      Let's play "useless comment" Bingo.

      I predict that the comment I reply to will be someone thinking they're really smart by trying to put down any argument they don't personally agree with, and they'll hide behind the Anonymous Coward button to do it.

      I wasn't even going to comment in this topic today - I'm worn out from saying the same things over and over again, but your attempt to belittle anyone who doesn't agree with your way of thinking just riled me up.

      Besides, my latte costs me £2.95, moron.

      1. NB


        my latte costs 90p. But then my employer has a restaurant and 2 cafes on site...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "* I'll start buying it when they take off DRM, honest I will"

      Yes iTunes grew substantially when they removed the DRM. It did turn out to be a big reason for no sales from the previous FAILED DRM stores the record companies created.

      "* Digital music should be free because the marginal cost is almost zero"

      No, but without the 80% retail margin it can be cheaper and more plentiful.

      "* Only pop stars get the money I'm not buying Bill Gates / Cliff Richard another yacht."

      Music: the long tail means fewer people are buying from more artists.

      Software: Most of the apps sold through iTunes could not be commercially sold through retail at 80% margin, that created a market for them. XBox market also a success, Android market will be a success, PC continues to be a problem, no single online market for it.

      "Then the freetard will go and buy a £3.49 Starbucks Latte and feel very smug"

      Look, you can attack your market or you can attack your customers. What the BPI et al are doing is attacking their customers, what others are doing is attacking the market. iTunes *sales* shoot up, while ageing rock stars just shoot up.

      It's no good pretending they can't sell in this market, because others are selling and taking their market from them.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Bingo Schmingo

        If your industry refuses to provide what customers want in the form they want it and at a reasonable price - you can't complain that other (e.g. catering) industries can. STFU and find yourself something useful to do that has a demand that you can meet.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Bingo Schmingo

          But only a fool pays money for something when an identical copy is easily available, risk- free, for zero. It's irrational to pay.

          So the money is spent elsewhere.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Not so simple.

            I know, I heard this argument before - you can't compete with free.

            I often buy food at my local Waitrose. About 200 meters from it's entrance is a soup kitchen. Yet, Waitrose's shelves are full of canned soup and Baxters are doing just fine.

            AllofMP3s was also doing quite well notwithstanding the already existing and prospering P2P.

            People will pay for a product if it's what they need (quality, unrestricted use etc.) or, if they won't pay for product itself they will pay for the service of that product being delivered to them in a convenient way (if you make it easy for them to find, get, pay for).

            I can't say anything about music - I don't think new music is being produced anymore therefore I neither buy nor download anything. But if I am looking for a movie I will first check if I can buy a proper DVD (either from HMV or through a reputable online seller) before even thinking of downloading. Why?

            Because I want reasonable quality, I prefer to keep a physical copy and I don't want to spend any DIY time on encoding, authoring and burning a D/L'ed file. And the quality of D/Ls is mostly well below what I want. And bandwidth is not free either.

            So, in fact, I incur a cost (both direct and indirect) while using a "free" download, which, to me, usually exceeds the cost of buying a ready-made product.

            I would be prepared to pay for DL-ble pre-authored DVDs (no CSS of course) but I will expect to pay much less than for ready-made, replicated ones.

            I would be also prepared to pay for DL-ble pre-encoded DVD-compliant streams for home-authoring and burning.

            But will I be prepared to pay for a DRM'ed overcompressed download or, worse, a streaming video? Never. Don't even ask for it.

  10. blackworx
    Thumb Up

    Thank you Reg

    For the balanced writeup. The polly-wants-a-cracker drivel that even the broadsheets are printing on this is frankly shameful.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Jobs lost because people don't use horse carriages anymore

    "2.7 million jobs have been lost since 2004 in Europe"

    Well, that means 2.7 million people are free to pile into other, more productive industries.

    I always barf when a study considers the economy as a steady state system in which any change is problematic or the number of jobs and jobs-per-sector is a God-Given Constant.

    Excuse me while a put out my order for additional CDs on amazon though they _do_ look a bit pricey lately.

  12. Gordon is not a Moron

    Of those 2.7 million lost jobs

    how many have been "lost" due to outsourcing to India etc.?

    "Well, we would have liked to have kept the jobs in the EU, but due to piracy our profits have declined and we had to cut costs by moving all the work to a different continent"

  13. g e

    Secondhand market

    So, how did they take the secondhand market into account in their figures?

    I buy most of my XBOX/PS3 games from Ebay after they owner has completed them, hence I get a £40 game for 10-25 quid depending how lucky I get. My Assassin's Creed II even had an unused redeemy codey thing which I was able to enter for goodies, too.

    My guess is they ignored the flourishing secondhand market entirely and lumped it's figures into pirate freetard downloading terrorist supporters... It's no better than MS claiming 20 gajillion Windows 7 sales without stating how many people ASKED for it.

    This, in all fairness, renders their report complete cock until they address it.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    "for every ten CD downloads, the consumer typically forgoes one legitimate purchase"

    That's bullshit. I'd like to see the evidence for that.

    On the other hand, there is hard evidence (and not just the study referenced - interesting that you provide a link to that one but not to the supposed weight of contrary evidence!) that filesharers do actually on average buy more CDs than non-filesharers.

    I reckon my 1 purchase out of every 5 downloaded (the other four being dumped as a waste of disk space) is much more typical of customers who file share. I'm not foregoing 4 purchases - if the option to download them wasn't available, I would still not buy them - I simply would never have heard them in the first place - however, I would also have not made the 1 purchase either.

    So which would the industry prefer?

    1 sale out of 5?


    0 sales out of 0?

    Because like it or not, that's the choice...

  15. Cameron Colley

    Being a "freetard" isn't free though.

    For example, a colleague of mine has the fastest broadband available to him (currently topping out at around 19MB/s with truly unlimited data transfers) and also pays fro a VPN connection and top-of-the range Usenet subscription -- he's probably paying for a few other things I don't know about too. If he wasn't a "freetard" he could halve his broadband costs and not notice and he could do without the subscriptions to VPN and Usenet and likely as not he'd need less hard drives.

    So, I have to ask myself why someone is paying the price of a Sky movies subscription or a few DVDs from Play per month to be a "freetard"?

    The answer I come up with is that it's more convenient -- you want to see, say, Dexter so you download it and watch it. Or, you pay Amazon and wait for it to arrive.

    Or, in my case, wait for a year or more for a series of QI to come out on DVD because I want to pay the content creator.

    The fail is still with these industries who think that consumers want restrictions and inconvenience.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Let me get this right

      So if you were a diabetic, would you also extrapolate that 100 per cent of internet males are diabetic too?

      I'm beginning to see the problem with you freetards - almost all anonymous to a man.






      1. Anonymous Coward

        Oh dear...

        "I'm beginning to see the problem with you freetards - almost all anonymous to a man"

        The last A\C has possibly the worst case of irony deficency I've seen in a while

      2. Rod MacLean

        RE: Let me get this right

        I'll clear the matter up for you:

        1, If I listen to music on the radio and like it then I'll buy it.

        2, The music on the radio is almost 100% saccharin coated pap

        3, I need to look somewhere else for music, so I download it.

        4, If I like something I've downloaded, I'll buy it. If not, I'll delete it.

        Without the internet, I would buy about 1 album per year. At the moment, the floor in my flat is groaning underneath the huge piles of CDs.

        "I'm beginning to see the problem with you freetards - almost all anonymous to a man."

        I chose not to go anonymous. I see you didn't. That's the problem with you paytards - amost all anonymous to a man ;)

        1. Mme.Mynkoff

          OK so you don't like music

          You like music enough to buy ONE ALBUM A YEAR?

          So, either you're very tight (living with parents?) or just you don't like music. I suspect you don't like music.

          In which case i'm not sure what you're doing here. You just like the sound of your own voice, I guess.

          1. J 3


            OK, so you don't like reading, or at least thinking about what you read. In which case I'm not sure what you're doing here. Try again. Or you just like the sound of your own voice, I guess.

            See, I will write the important bits in shouty letters just for the benefit of the hard of reading. You're welcome.

            The poster above said that HE BUYS A LOT OF CDs. He WOULD buy about one a year IF he hadn't PREVIOUSLY DOWNLOADED stuff to try BEFORE. You know, because of what he wrote earlier, that radio only plays STUFF HE DOESN'T LIKE. Got it now? If you don't agree with his general approach to it all, that's a different story, but you got to at least understand English to begin with (it's easy, even I can do it and I haven't been doing it for long!)

      3. Anonymous Coward

        @Let me get this right

        Firstly, I actually AM a diabetic.

        Secondly, if they can make wild extrapolations, so can I.

        Thirdly "you freetards - almost all anonymous to a man." You posted anonymously, thus I must assume the lack of intelligence is yours.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      wouldn't surprise me if they see 2nd hand market as bad, illegal and would love to criminalize it too.

      1. Dante

        Not you? Log in here

        "wouldn't surprise me if they see 2nd hand market as bad, illegal and would love to criminalize it too."

        They do see it that way. Some bloke from one of the big publishers (could of been EA or Activision can't rememeber) was having a cry about it a little while ago.

  16. Nuke

    Pigeons come Home to Roost

    "The UK bears the brunt of unlicensed downloads, reckon the academics, because of its high proportion of jobs in creative industries."

    Mrs Thatcher and her stooges decided to destroy Britain's manufacturing industries (largely leaving manufacturing to Europe and the Far East) and switching the economy to service and information industries. It was assumed that Britain had an unassailable advantages in these sectors, such as banking and film-making.

    But then the internet and other improved communications came along, allowing services to be outsourced across the world to cheaper labour and also allowing information and entertainment to be reproduced and distributed at negligable cost.

    Of course, manufacturing can be outsourced and copied too, but not as readily as servcices and information can. It is much easier and cheaper to make and sell a copy of "Lord of the Rings" than a copy of a Land Rover.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm all this loss...

    ...yet nobody is offering me anything.

    Music... I've bought all the Nightwish albums I want to own(everything pre-Nemo), My next run will be Vanessa Mae and possibly Alizee but beyond that nobody really produces anything I might like. The few interesting bits I get are from jamendo or game music. As for legal options well Nokia/Ovi music store is not available, and frankly nobody really seems to care much in the way of getting a simple open a browser -> put music to cart -> pay -> download your purchases no drm or special software involved that I have seen so far.

    TV - let's see... programs on the tube here - soaps, soaps, more soaps ow and let's not forget even more soaps. The only stuff I can generally watch more or less not 10 years out of date are the various CSI shows. And since I already get those from torrents with no serious delay. Well I still pay the cable bill and so no. Frankly haven't seen any TV show I enjoy from torrents(and there aren't many I think 7-8 shows in total(csi,csi:ny,csi:m,ncis,ncis:la,house,sgu). Ow and anime nobody really runs them here or on cable. What they do run is some dubed crap I can't listen to.

    Movies - haven't been to a cinema in ages and frankly haven't downloaded a movie in ages as well. It's all crap so I don't even bother with it.

    Software - gave up on that 5 or so years ago now running GNU/Linux and OpenBSD so have absolutely no need for pirating any PC software. As for games PS3 last I checked still wasn't cracked and even if it is I won't pirate simply because I see no need. I can generally watch a playthrough of a game on youtube and decide if I like it or not. Infact I watch a lot of full playthroughs since I enjoy them while I might not enjoy playing the game myself. But yes I actually buy games.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTunes grew 100% year-on-year, sold 10 billion songs

    "For music, the academics suggest that "the decline in recorded music sales across the EU is too dramatic to imply a simple coincidence" - a 36 per cent in gross physical sales from 2004 to 2008 was barely compensated by the rise in licensed digital sales, leading to a 26 per cent decline in the retail value of music."

    iTunes sold 4 billion songs THIS year alone, doubling the 2 billion it sold in the previous year:

    They've sold 3 billion applications so far too.

    So yes BPI members may have experienced a 26% decline in their sales, but that loss was more than offset by the online sales of the long tail. Sure their market share may be declining, but their market share was only huge because they controlled the distribution channel.

    It follows that if the MOST PIRATED ITEM on the internet (music) has not killed the legal market, and videos, software and so on can follow the music model.

    Retail jobs, will inevitably go. But who needs the shiny disc now?

    So this claim is false, it does not match the evidence available to MPs.

  19. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Drink and clothes

    Surely people will buy more clothes, go out more and improve their house with the spare cash?

    People are also not using credit cards, trying to pay back what they owe. So they arent buying media or overpriced software.

    Photoshop is overpriced, windows and office are overpriced. These applicationd are a goof example of how to remain a one product shop. Adobe is lazy and Microsoft cant make money elsewhere.

    Why can film studios pay multimillion fees to actors and spend £100m on a film if things are so tough?

    I think the real problem is DRM, people will pay for legal downloads if they can choose to play it on any device.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Adobe love it, really.

    "One counter example may be the widespread home use of Adobe Photoshop, one of the most popular Bittorrent downloads, and a $500 purchase. If Photoshop wasn't so easily available, many users may use a cheaper photo editing program. Is it therefore fair to say $500 has been lost?"

    One could argue that without millions of illegal downloads by home and hobby users, it would not have become such a widely used piece of software, and the centre-point of so many CVs. Illegal downloads -IMHO- go a big way towards keeping the software industry standard.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You can't read

      The 36 per cent decline in physical, after digital is included, resulted in a 26 per cent decline.

      "So this claim is false, it does not match the evidence available to MPs."

      Are you this thick for a living?

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      RE: Drick and clothes

      Giles Jones is the first to point out one very obvious point that is overloooked. If someone has (say) £100 to spend in total, then they may decide to spend some of that on music purchases - but if they don't then it will be spent on something else. So the total spend is no different, but where it is spent is - so jobs may shift, but the losses will be nothing like the headline figure once you take that into account.

      And as Giles points out, we've been through (and are still in) hard times, so many people are spending less and trying to clear their debts. Since the banking collapse started in the US and was largely due to US bankers greed, then the real headline should be "US causes millions of lost jobs" - so round up the US and put it in prison !

      PS - I don't freeload anyway - I buy my music on nice shiny silver disks (but only when they are on sale or otherwise cheap). No doubt the same liars will claim that me doing this, and listeing on my computer, is also costing their jobs.

      1. Ceiling Cat

        letters and/or digits.

        "If someone has (say) £100 to spend in total, then they may decide to spend some of that on music purchases - but if they don't then it will be spent on something else."

        For quite a few years, I pumped all my disposable income into the music industry. Then, gaming caught my attention, and my money went to the gaming companies and computer hardware manufacturers/retailers. I still purchase music on occasion, but nowadays I prefer to buy concert DVDs by older bands ('60s and '70s rock, mostly).

        When I was younger, I used to attend a lot of small all-ages concerts at local community halls. I bought a lot of LPs and 45s from small bands, many of whom were actually running their own merchandise table. One band was even encouraging copying their albums - supplies were short, and they wanted as much word-of-mouth exposure as they could get, because they sure as hell couldn't afford advertising AND record duplication costs.

        Badgers! icon... because.


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