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TorrentFreak investigates film industry claim that 90% of pirated films are shot in cinemas

At a time when streaming services are ubiquitous and many films are never seen on the big screen, a striking claim has been made by the United Kingdom’s Film Content Protection Agency, or FCPA. Namely that as many as 90% of pirated films are removed from cinemas or included in them. The statement was made at an award ceremony for vigilant cinema employees who would combat film piracy.

Within the entertainment industry, online piracy is seen as a major threat to the industry’s revenues. Films in particular are often placed online illegally. Various lobby groups and organizations are trying to do everything they can to take down websites that host this type of content, as well as lobby for stricter laws and enforcement. According to the FCPA, 90% of films that are illegally posted online have their origins in cinemas. However, none of the films could be traced back to cinemas in the UK or Ireland.

Alarm bells immediately started ringing at TorrentFreak following this statement. It seems very unlikely that so many of the pirated films that can be found online come from the cinema since the majority were never found there in the first place. Even by simply looking at the offerings on pirate websites, it is immediately clear that only a very small proportion of the films are shot by a camera. TorrenFreak even states that FCPA may have been off by an order of magnitude, and the real figure may be 9%.


The possibly original article from The Guardian in which this 90% was mentioned.

TorrentFreak therefore inquired with the ‘Film Distributors Association’ or FDA, under which the FCPA falls. There was no response and other anti-piracy groups in the UK were also unable to comment on this figure. The figure therefore appears to simply be a repetition of an old figure that has been mentioned for decades by rights-holding organizations. For example, it was named FACT by anti-piracy group in 2016, also without any evidence. By looking further back in time, TorrentFreak discovered that the 90% may date from an article by the Guardian in 2004. Something that is clearly no longer relevant at the moment, even if it were about online content. The original 90% appears to concern illegal DVDs that were circulated and confiscated before the release of films. This is no more than a logical number given that the legal supply for those films at that time only concerned the cinema.

Source: TorrentFreak

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