Despite claims by organisations and copyright holders that piracy is destroying the entertainment industry, a new report by insight company Floor 64 suggests that this couldn't be further from the truth.
Titled "The Sky is Rising" and making claims that we are actually living in an age of abundance, the full report is collected in a wonderfully easy to read infographic that shows the growth in not only the uptake in all major forms of media - books, music, movies and games - but that people are spending more as well.
The entertainment industry as a whole increased in value by over $35 billion between 2005 and 2010. Take into consideration too, that this growth occurred during the time of the worst recession in 70 years.
While of course throughout the same measured periods, piracy has skyrocketed with it being far easier thanks to peer to peer sharing and direct download sites, the overall media consumption of the world has also taken a massive jump. Just 30 years ago, the amount of media that one person consumes on their phone in ten minutes, would have taken several days and a fleet of trucks to deliver.
More money might be being made but what about jobs? Those are growing too. Thanks to the internet and new distribution methods, content creators can now get in touch with their fans far more directly. This allows them to be found far easier, meaning more people are making more money with what they create.
The obvious caveat - and the one often cited by organisations like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and others - is that traditional methods of monetising media have begun to fall at the wayside due to emerging technologies. The internet is allowing for faster growth than ever before and that means times will change quicker too. Keeping up with emerging opportunities is the new challenge for content creators and those that make money from that creativity.
The report cites several individuals that have risen to this challenge and profited because of it - showing that it's a change of outlook and method that is required, not a clamping down on innovation and a protection of time honoured practices. Louis CK's amazingly successful stand up video is one example. It made over a million dollars in several days, despite not using any DRM or region encoding - and cost just $5. Kevin Smith's self funded distribution saw him visit cinemas and do QnA's as part of his film Red State's theatrical release. Despite some locations shunning the movie due to him making it on demand at the same time, he ended up in the black far earlier than most movies, even ones with far bigger marketing budgets. In the end Smith spent less than $10,000 on promotion - just enough to be eligible for Oscar consideration.
Similar stories are found in the book and music portion of the report. It's a fascinating read that really goes to show that ACTA, SOPA and PIPA supporters and any organisation that attempts to aggressively protect copyright on the ideal that the entertainment industry is in trouble is so far wrong it's unreal.