CRS Report: Movie Industry Demands SOPA While Enjoying Record Profits

While the entertainment industry cries poor and insists that the Stop Online Piracy Act be passed to protect the artists (and politicians like Chris Dodd and Lamar Smith lobby behind the scenes), this fascinating information comes to light. Via Raw Story:

Movie industry lobbyists like to say that online piracy costs their clients billions of dollars every year, and it’s getting worse — but that’s doesn’t quite seem to be the case, according to data released this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The CRS report (embedded below) shows that the movie industry is doing very well, earning record profits and paying executives more than ever, even as it hires fewer workers than it did just a decade ago.

Although a recent National Crime Prevention Council ad campaign tries to make the point that piracy kills jobs, the CRS found that total gross revenues and box office receipts have doubled in the last 15 years. Grosses went from $52.8 billion in 1995 to $104.4 billion in 2009, while box office receipts went from $5.3 billion in 1995 to $10.6 billion in 2010 — yet hiring still went down.

One thing that has gone up, higher than ever, is executive pay. The CRS report noted that News Corporation paid CEO Rupert Murdoch $33,292,753 in 2011; Viacom gave CEO Philippe Dauman made $84,515,308; Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes took home $26,303,071; while Disney CEO Robert A. Lger earned $29,617,964. Sony CEO Howard Stringer was at the bottom of the bunch at $4.3 million, having taken a 14 percent pay cut due to losses.

Those salaries are quite hefty compared to the top earners just a decade and a half ago. At Disney, former CEO Michael Eisner’s total compensation was $10 million in 1994, while Time Warner was compensating former CEO Gerald M. Levin $5 million, the CRS reported. Historical data for the other executives was not included.

[...] Despite what the industry’s lobbyists are telling lawmakers, it’s impossible to say whether a minor slump in hiring is really reflective of piracy’s effects. That seemingly proves the industry’s biggest concern is not the Jack Sparrows of the Internet, but rather Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.


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