By Martin Banks - 17th March 2010
This report shows that unless action is taken to reverse current trends, thousands of jobs will be lost
A major new report published on Wednesday claims that 1.2 million jobs will be lost to piracy over the next five years.
It says the phenomenon will also cost the industry €240m in lost income by 2015.
The biggest impact will be on the "creative" industry, including film, TV, recorded music and software.
The new study, commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce, says that the growth of unauthorised file sharing, downloading and streaming of copyrighted works and recorded performances is a "major threat" to the creative industries.
The report, "Building a Digital Economy", is the first to assess the impact of piracy on an EU-wide basis, pointing out that the creative sector is already experiencing substantial losses due to piracy with 185,000 jobs lost in 2008 alone.
It says Europe's creative industries employ 6.5 per cent of the total European workforce, around 14 million workers, and contribute 6.9 per cent - some €860bn - to total European GDP.
William Maunier, president of UNI-MEI, which represents unions in media and entertainment, said, "Our concern is that creative industries will be forced to reduce their investment in the production of creative contents and with that vanishes work opportunities."
The findings have prompted MEPs to call on the commission to propose legislation aimed at tackling piracy.
Speaking at the report's launch in Brussels, EPP deputy Marielle Gallo said, "It is amazing that some still do not recognise the seriousness of this issue.
"This report shows that unless action is taken to reverse current trends, thousands of jobs will be lost and there will be serious loss of income to industry."
The French deputy is parliament's rapporteur on piracy issues, and has drafted a report which is due to be voted on by the legal affairs committee next month.
Her non-binding report on IP rights calls for increased protection for creative industries.
However, it has been subjected to a deluge of amendments, sparking fears that it will be watered down before it goes to a plenary vote in May.
She said action was needed to protect not only those who work in the sector but the countless others who rely indirectly on creative industries for their employment, such as film distributors.
She said, "I hope parliament adopts my report in its current form but we also need the commission to propose legislation in this field."
Her comments are echoed by British Socialist member Arlene McCarthy who said, "14 million people work in the creative industries in Europe and at a time of economic and financial crisis it offers growth potential.
"We have a responsibility to ensure we safeguard jobs and stand up for this workforce."