It’s also an industry that provides up to 18,000 jobs in Ireland.

There are 7,000 people employed directly in the country’s highly regarded independent production houses. A further 11,000 people are employed by the film and television industry in support jobs, including catering and transport.

These jobs are critical to the Irish economy.

However, illegal streaming sites have put them, and the revenues earned by the film and television industry, in jeopardy. It’s been estimated that 500 jobs were lost in 2015 due to illegal streaming.

Piracy is stealing from everyone

Illegal streaming, also known as piracy, is a term used to describe online publishers who take content without permission (i.e. stealing) and stream it to mobile and digital devices. Revenues earned from this content end up in the pockets of these unscrupulous operators, rather than the artists and professionals who created the material and legally own the content.

Consumers may not be aware of the impact they have in using these streaming sites, nor fully understand the consequences piracy can have on Ireland’s creative economy.

Ireland’s courts, however, do and have just made a landmark ruling against three pirate websites in the country.

Preventing illegal streaming

Using the law to fight piracy is one way to eliminate illegal streaming. In Britain, piracy operators have lost three quarters of their customers since UK courts blocked their sites in 2014. Legal streaming sites, such as Netflix, reported a six percent rise in visits. In addition, the BBC and Channel 5 reported a 10% increase in videos viewed.

Eliminating piracy also requires intellectual property laws to be fully implemented. In this regard, the UK again provides an excellent case study. The country’s dedicated intellectual property police unit has just released a code of practice that reduces the availability of content through search engines.

Ireland’s courts stand up to pirates

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) in Ireland has targeted the worst pirate operators in Ireland’s courts and pointed out in stark terms how illegal streaming amounts to theft.

Mr Justice Brian Cregan awarded the MPA an injunction on 3 April against the pirate websites. This is a landmark ruling and will protect jobs in Ireland’s film and television industry. 

With approximately 200,000 people in the Irish republic subscribed to Netflix, the consumer has shown that they are happy to pay for legally accessed content.

12 April 2017

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