Every year, the US Trade Representative (USTR) issues an updated review of “Notorious Markets” that facilitate copyright infringement.
This overview is compiled with help from copyright holders and is used to motivate the targets and foreign authorities to take action.
The USTR recently issued a call for comments on the 2022 Review of Notorious Markets. This will undoubtedly trigger responses from the RIAA, MPA, and many other rightsholders, calling out various pirate sites and services.
Piracy & U.S. workers
There has been a lot of overlap between these annual reviews. Some sites and services, such as The Pirate Bay, have made the list for more than a decade, without any significant changes. However, the USTR selects a “focus issue” each year that receives extra attention.
In 2022, the focus issue is the impact of online piracy on U.S. workers. In the request for comments, USTR asks stakeholders to provide background information, studies, and other research on how piracy affects U.S. jobs.
“USTR also invites written comments for the Notorious Markets List issue focus that highlights an issue related to the facilitation of substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy. The issue focus for the 2022 Notorious Markets List will examine the impact of online piracy on U.S. workers.”
Copyright holders typically submit the vast majority of responses. These have already cited evidence on ‘lost jobs’ over the past years but this issue focus allows them to go into more detail.
Half a Million Lost Jobs a Year?
By reviewing previously submitted data, it’s possible to get an idea of the figures that are likely to be presented this time around. Although estimates have changed over time, piracy is often linked to hundreds of thousands of estimated annual job ‘losses’. And that’s just for U.S. jobs in the video industry.
The music industry reports lower losses. According to a recent report, music piracy costs the U.S. economy $12.5 billion per year and the loss of 71,060 jobs.
These numbers tend not to reflect actual people losing their jobs but are an extrapolation based on estimated revenue losses to piracy, which run to billions of dollars per year. As such, the loss estimates also include jobs that were never created.
Anti-Piracy Industry Jobs
Losses aside, we wonder whether anyone will mention the jobs that are created by piracy. Most big media companies have in-house piracy teams and legal professionals billing thousands of hours. There are also numerous specialized anti-piracy outfits, takedown departments, and copyright enforcement units across the US. Without piracy, these jobs would not exist
It will be interesting to see the numbers reported to the USTR and how these compare to previous studies. While most research has shown that piracy does affect sales negatively, the entertainment industry as a whole is doing quite well regardless.
Timing-wise, USTR’s focus on American workers is interesting as it coincides with historically low unemployment figures in the United States. That said, these numbers can always be lower of course.