MPAA Infographic Twists Piracy Figures, Badly

1 min read

MPAA Infographic Twists Piracy Figures, BadlyHollywood is struggling to transition from the past to the present, to a time when the Internet was but a sci-fi wet dream to a time when it’s integral to our everyday lives. And the MPAA is struggling to tell the truth.

MPAA, Hollywood, Piracy

The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is a non-profit organization designed to “advance the business interests of its members,” which is basically the big Hollywood movie studios such as Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Walt Disney.

But its job over the past few years has been more about (mis)educating the public about piracy, how evil the Internet is, and how each and every one of us is contributing to the downfall of the content-creating movie industry.

Unfortunately the MPAA has employed some rather dubious tactics in the pursuit of this, including blatantly lying to make the specter of peer-to-peer file-sharing look much more scary and damaging than it actually is.

Twisting The Figures

Who would ever have thought the MPAA would twist the figures to fit its own ends, eh? I know, it’s incredible, but it’s exactly what has happened, as discovered by Pajiba, which tears apart the latest figures from an MPAA infographic.

The MPAA claims piracy costs the industry $58 billion every year, which is ludicrous when you realize that the box office is currently worth about $10 billion, DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming worth about $30 billion. The figure implies that without piracy every household in the U.S. would be buying an additional 50 full-price DVDs a year.

It gets better: the MPAA claims 29 million adults (13 percent of the population) have illegally downloaded a movie. Which means they would have purchased an extra 200 DVDs every year to make the figures stand up to scrutiny.

Of course, the number of downloads does not equate to lost sales and lost revenue, because someone who downloads a film wouldn’t necessarily have ever seen it any other way. Especially with the crap Hollywood is increasingly throwing out these days.


The MPAA may be doing an important job in reminding us all that piracy is prohibited and harming the movie industry, but that doesn’t mean it’s doing its job well. In fact, it clearly isn’t.

Rather than twisting the figures in ways that can be easily identified, why doesn’t the MPAA concentrate on helping its members forge into the future using the Internet as a source for good rather than treating it as the big, bad wolf determined to kill the industry?

Pandora’s Box has been opened, and it cannot be closed now. Hollywood needs to accept this basic fact or die.

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