In many places in the world, there is easy access to pirated movies. You can either buy them in CD or DVD format from street vendors, or, increasingly, download them directly into your computer from online sites. This form of consuming entertainment content is not only harmful to the movie industry but to culture in a broader sense.
Some may say that piracy is allowing more people access content that otherwise would not be available to them because of price. “Democratizing” entertainment, if you will. Movie tickets are not cheap, and for many, it can be a luxury treat to go watch a movie in the theater or buy the original DVD from a legitimate distributor. Furthermore, some may argue that if someone is pirating material because the price of the original is too high, that act of piracy cannot be considered a “loss sale” when calculating the economic damage of piracy, since that person would not have purchased the original material anyway (because it being too expensive). In that sense, piracy can make movies reach more people, beyond those wealthy enough to have the extra spendable income to go watch a movie in a cinema.
The real economic impact of piracy is hard to calculate in certain terms. However, many authors agree that movie studios lose a lot of revenue to piracy. This has a great impact on the kinds of movies that the studios will decide to invest in and produce. Faced with low box office and sales revenues, the movie industry will be more inclined to produce movies that will draw people to the cinemas and guarantee box office returns (such as big franchise sequels or blockbusters) rather than bet on a production that is considered less mainstream or invest in a new concept from an independent filmmaker. In Trevor Norkey’s words: Due to the increase in film piracy, production companies and movie studios are now much less likely to loan money out to an independent filmmaker with an idea than they are to a team of writers and producers working on a Harry Potter spin-off.
And, to me, that is the worst part.