Apparently when you illegally downloaded that copy of the upcoming Kula Shaker album, you weren’t just pissing off record labels and musicians. You were undermining the American way of life, our economy, and the entire free-market system. The Institute For Policy Innovation has just dropped a bomb in the laps of record industry execs hoping to convince politicians to back whatever means necessary to curb the rising tide of digital lawlessness, a report that says piracy is causing the country to hemorrhage $12.5 billion and over 71,000 jobs a year. Holy crap!
According to the report, prepared by Stephen Siwek with Economists Inc., every year the U.S. workers lose 71,060 jobs and $2.7 billion in earnings. Of the 71,060 jobs, the report states, 26,860 jobs would have been created in the sound recording and downstream retail industry and 44,200 jobs would have been added in other industries if not for the piracy. Of the $2.7 billion lost in earnings, $1.1 billion is attributable to the sound recording industry or downstream retail industries and $1.6 billion in earnings by workers in other U.S. industries.
In addition, the report estimates that the U.S. government loses at least $422 million in tax revenues due to sound recording piracy, including $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes.
“Policy makers must realize the threat of global piracy and recognize that intellectual property products, such as sound recordings, are the most important growth drivers in the U.S. economy, responsible for nearly 40% of economic growth and nearly 60% of growth in U.S. exports,” according to a statement by the IPI.
The Institute For Policy Innovation, by the way, is an ultra-conservative PR shill organization based out of Texas and originally founded by noted moderate, former congressman, and guy with hilarious name Dick Armey, just to give you a little background on the group that Billboard seems to deem unnecessary. It also doesn’t bother to vet their findings in any way, nor to let you know how these findings were reached. So while I’m not necessarily saying you might find certain record industry “donations” in the IPI’s coffers if you poked around, you should probably take all of this information with a grain of salt the size of a wrecking ball.