Online piracy costs UK retailers £250m

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

It claims that though the Act passed in June 2010 yet the value of lost sales to illegal filesharing since this time has exceeding £250 million (€286m) according to the ERA.

At the pressure group’s AGM, Chairman Paul Quirk attacked foot-dragging on the issue: “The best information we have is that the first letters to suspected file-sharers will not be sent out until the second half of 2012 and disconnections of persistent pirates will not happen before 2013. This is unacceptable.”

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.”