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Online piracy costs retailers £250m since June 2010

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The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has expressed anger at the slow implementation of anti-piracy law the Digital Economy Act, claiming that the delay is costing retailers millions of pounds.

Much-heralded when announced, the act passed into law on 8 June 2010 yet the value of lost sales to illegal filesharing since this time has exceeding £250 million according to the ERA.

At the pressure group’s AGM yesterday, Chairman Paul Quirk attacked foot-dragging on the issue.

“The best information we have is that the first letters to suspected filesharers will not be sent out until the second half of 2012 and disconnections of persistent pirates will not happen before 2013. This is unacceptable,” he said.

Good news for the industry is that in the year before the Digital economy act was passed the total value of sales for music singles was £132.2 million whereas in the last 12 months it reached £152.3 million, showing perhaps the growing acceptance of UK consumers to pay for one-off songs online.

However album and video sales have fallen by £132.5 million and £142.6 million respectively when the two periods are compared, causing a gaping hole in entertainment retailer’s finances.

Last week entertainment retailer HMV reported a drop of 21.8 per cent in its total retail sales in the 18 weeks to September 3rd 2011, showing how the sector continues to struggle amid online competition and piracy problems.

Quirk pointed out that not all of the £250 million sales decline could be blamed on piracy, but added: “A substantial part of it certainly is and every further day of delay will only make those losses greater.

“We need action on internet piracy – and we need it now.”

Published on Thursday 15 September by Editorial Assistant

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