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Report paints grim picture of Spanish piracy

IP rights group claims illegal downloads cost industry 3x earnings from legal downloads

A study, commissioned by Spanish rights-owner pressure group Coalition of Content Creators and Industries has claimed that piracy in Spain cost the entertainment industry €5.2 billion in the first half of 2010 alone.

This is, it posits, three times as much as the €1.56 billion legitimate download business made in the territory during that period - though it bases this on a divisive presumption that one pirated copy equates to one lost sale.

The Observation of Piracy and Consumption of Digital Content Habits study, conducted by IDC Research for the Madrid-based Coalition of Content Creators and Industries, claims that 97.8 per cent of all music consumption in Spain is driven by illegal downloads, with 77 per cent of movie downloads and 60.7 per cent of game downloads taking place illegally in the first six months of 2010.

That figure of 60.7 per cent has risen from one of 52.3 for the last six months of 2009, the study says, costing the games industry €262 million.

The figures were printed in the Hollywood Reporter, although no explanation of methodology was given.

The president of the commissioning body, Aldo Olcese, has called for tighter restrictions by ISPs and Telecom operators in the country and believes that a cohesive governmental approach to piracy is needed.

"Telecom Operators, search engines and content creators should be sitting on the same side of the table to better develop the information society, along with the users," Olcese believes.

"Large subjects, like intellectual property, web neutrality, fraudulent and massive use of social networks and the distribution of the economic chain of value are some of the subjects that should form part of the agenda for responsible self-regulation."

Last month, Nintendo president Satoro Iwata singled out Spain as a hotbed of piracy, claiming that although the activity had affected sales of DS software, the contributing factor of a market over-saturated with sub-par products could not be denied.

"The days when any Nintendo DS software could sell are over and consumers have become more selective," Iwata confessed, "and, as a result, the gap in the unit sales between hit titles and non-hit titles has expanded and, almost at the same time, illegal copies have spread across Europe.

"Also, after the 'Nintendogs' and 'Brain Training' software titles showed explosive sales there, we have been unable to offer another software title that European consumers really feel like purchasing."

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Dan Pearson