A new IDC Research report indicates the estimated value of pirated content shared during the second half of 2009 in Spain was valued at $6.3 billion, as the nation has struggled to prevent illegal downloading.
As part of the research, 5,911 Spanish citizens were polled regarding downloading and sharing pirated content — piracy accounts for 95.6% all music, and 83.7% of online movies. Due to this, copyright groups claim that the Spanish government lost out on $1.7 billion taxes during 2009.
It’s unlikely people pirating the content would purchase everything they illegally download, but the startling $12 billion per year in piracy losses has drawn major media attention in the country.
A prominent Spanish journalism professor and former radio host, Javier de la Rosa, explained to the New York Times a leading reason why piracy is accepted in Spain. “The triumph of downloading in Spain is partly because people can watch the latest episode of their favorite American series with Spanish subtitles weeks before it gets dubbed and released on television here,” he said in the interview. “The quality and speed is also excellent nowadays, and some Web sites like Series Yonkis even help people by ranking downloads according to quality, so that’s very user friendly.”
However, it’s sites similar to Series Yonkis that could be shut down later this year, after a new law proposed by Spanish politicians would lead to websites with pirated material to be swiftly shut down.
The Spanish government is now under increased pressure to crackdown on piracy, especially after a bipartisan caucus in the United States accused the nation of allowing widespread piracy to take place within the country’s borders. The country was recently identified as one of five major pirate nations, joining Canada, China, Mexico and Russia on the list.
If piracy is such a widespread problem in Spain, simply trying to boot file sharers offline and handing out monetary fines will not be enough. Furthermore, shutting down these sites will not work when a new site will just pop up days later, probably hosted outside of Spain itself. The Spanish copyright holders must work with groups to help bring content to the country faster, while also campaigning to explain the pitfalls of piracy to the citizens.