Paulo Santos, who is also president of MAPiNET, cites a report by the British consultancy MUSO, which shows that in Portugal, last year, “there were over 55 million visits to illegal websites”, following the lockdown.
“These are perfectly devastating numbers” and “represent a rise of 47 percent in relation to movies, for example, and 28 percent in relation to series and television programmes, as well as streaming football”, that “also has very serious effects on what is the normal exploitation of operators who buy the rights to sports broadcasts and which have enormous consequences”, he stresses.
Currently, “I would say that with this activity and with this growth in piracy, rights holders, producers and authors are being heavily harmed, but so too are the televisions and cable operators themselves”, he points out. This is because piracy also uses IPTV and many believe they are “acquiring a perfectly legitimate service, but the truth is that we have acquired through authentic organisations like a box” that allows “access to two thousand channels on all televisions”, he exemplified. With that, “we have access to videos, movies, everything and this is piracy and this type of piracy has been harmful because fewer subscriptions are made”.
Paulo Santos says that there is talk of “more than 400,000 users of this type of piracy” and, once again, these numbers are low. According to the director general of Fevipe, this has consequences for sports content and culture in general, because if the content is pirated, less advertising is sold and with less advertising there is less money to invest. This is a ‘snowball’ effect that also has an impact on job creation in cultural industries and also on tax revenue. “Right now, the users of piracy which are unauthorised by the rights holders are not the lower classes, we are talking about middle classes and upper middle classes even in some cases”, he reports.
In some cases, piracy is carried out because they want to see new things, in others because they “have an attitude of disrespect for clear intellectual property, forgetting that with that kind of attitude, tomorrow they may be harming a family member’s job, because it isn’t only those who work in the films, nor just those who work on television and advertising agencies, it is a whole array of people who are involved in this, and when I talk about social ethics, it is precisely this awareness that people should have,” says Paulo Santos.
According to the official, “there is a very weak judgment of censorship regarding this crime”. People “have to realise once and for all that this is a crime, that this has to be protected and what’s more, don’t come up with the conversation such as ‘ah, it’s too expensive’” because “it’s not”, he reinforces.
Films and series are the most pirated content in Portugal, followed by football, according to the official.