Conservative Think Tank Says Music Piracy Will Lead To Destruction of U.S. Economy, Possible Red Invasion

Aug 21st, 2007 // 10 Comments

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.

Piracy Has Cost U.S. $12.5 Billion [Billboard; with a tip of the hat to the infamous Modern Humorist poster and reader Pete the Chop]


  1. SBJ

    Dick Armey should be the name of some handy, uber-masculine reach-around vibrator. Just sayin.

  2. TurdsAndWhey

    So Dick Armey and Limp Bizkit have a little bit more in common now.

  3. Ned Raggett

    the upcoming Kula Shaker album

    Oh god, you’re not kidding.

  4. Feh Am Legend

    Great, more PR to push through even more draconian legislation. Lobbyists, think tanks, corporations, elected officials, all one big circle jerk, determined to clamp down on what they can’t own, dismantle the public trust, and keep us tithing to the company store.

    Really, I hate to go all, and it sucks that so many great musicians are having to struggle to re-coup the costs of a creative existence, but these bastards are shameless.

    I’ll go ahead and say it, _of course_ Billboard is going to fall in line on this one, their prosperity is directly that of the entertainment industry. I doubt you’ll see many major news source calling bullshit on this one.

  5. MTS

    Man, Americans can be guilted into anything:

  6. MTS

    Aw man, that didnt work. Let me try again:


  7. brainchild

    eh, piracy is a problem though. i’d probably still be working in the music industry myself if it weren’t for all the budget cuts, lay offs, and the fact that i came to work stoned for the last 2 months i was in it…

  8. Feh Am Legend

    @brainchild: I wouldn’t argue otherwise. The moral lassitude of this culture in terms getting away with whatever we can is kind of impressive. I guess it depends on what you perceive as the problem. The woes of the entertainment industry don’t really sway me. Independent artists and developers and business getting ripped off bothers me.

  9. Pete the Chop

    “When you pirate mp3s, you’re downloading communism.”


    Amazing. I had it hung to my computer during those heady Napster days of the late 1990s. Can’t the nay-sayers come up with anything new?

  10. Jess Harvell

    i spent an hour looking for a .jpg of that damn poster today but i couldn’t remember/knew i got the exact wording screwed up. it was my desktop background for a long time.

    today was one of those days when i feltl like we’re living in an succession of onion headlines come to life.

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