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Copyright warnings cost the global economy $896 million a year

By on June 20, 2012
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That’s right. According to blogger and independent developer Cliff Harris of Positech Studios, who makes a living selling games such as Gratuitous Space Battles and Gratuitous Tank Battles, that’s how much the pointless, annoying unskippable copyright warnings at the start of every DVD and Blu-Ray costs the global economy. Cliff’s assumptions:

  • Twenty seconds of wasted time per DVD
  • One DVD per week for the average consumer
  • 200m consumers in the US + another 200m in Europe, Japan, Australia etc
  • That’s 56 million hours, at an average hourly wage of $16
  • For a grand total of $896,000,000 a year or, as Cliff puts it, 18,000 decent paying full time jobs.

Cliff is no copyfighter, He argues against the free-to-play model and has no time for pirates. This is not someone who believes that the copyright lobby is wrong in its beliefs; he believes they are wrong in their actions.

Check Cliff’s post for full details (and check out his games).

And remember to quote this “nearly billion dollar” figure as much as you like. It is about as accurate as the majority of “revenue lost to piracy” figures bandied about by the copyright industries.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • Sik

    Man, make those links cover the full text they belong to!

    Anyway, yeah, those figures probably don’t make much sense because practically all of those are watched during leisure time (not work time), so it may as well be considered $0, but it’s interesting to see how much time is actually wasted for practically no gain (those getting the message are those who don’t need it!).

    I really doubt it’s 20 seconds wasted per DVD though, especially not now with the two extra screens that were added recently… and this is not counting wanting to rewatch it (since every time you start playing you have to go through all that).

    What would be really interesting though is how many people decide to download the DVDs directly instead of buying a copy just to skip the warning messages (assuming they don’t buy a disc then download the copy they’ll use elsewhere). I doubt it’s a big percentage of the downloaders, but certainly could be considered a loss, and one they could have easily avoided. (there are also players from lesser brands that let you skip the messages which may be a better idea, but I’m not sure how many people actually use them)