Portugal is now discussing a big change in the Private Copy Levy (#pl118) where we are seeing a massive discussion on social networks about it. The main justification for this new levy is that creators need to be protected and payed for.
This is just a simple analysis of some data I gathered online and that show that something isn’t right with the arguments (at least in the movies sector).
Let’s start with a plot of Movie Spectators per 1000 inhabitants:
It’s clear that we are now on a downtrend (at least from the late 70’s), but the past ten years have became at most stagnant (if not dropping) in terms of spectators per 1000 inhabitants.
But if we look at the plot of the revenue of the movies we get this picture:
We can see that Box Office revenue has grown almost steadily over the past years. So why are politicians arguing that artists aren’t being payed for their creative work when less spectators are generating even more revenue than ever?
One reason I came up with (and there are many others) is that maybe these movies are all foreign and the Portuguese creators are out of work and therefore receiving less pay. I went on to investigate that and looked at the number of exhibitions of movies by country of origin:
Not bad, we have been growing for the past 10 years or so (with the exception of 2008). But what is the percentage of these exhibitions on the total number of exhibitions?
So we have it, only around 2 percent of the movies exhibited are from Portugal. A big drop from the 14 percent in the 80’s.
So, we have a decline in the number of spectators and a decline in the number of Portuguese movies exhibited, but the much more profitable USA movies dominate the movie theaters and the revenue of the industry is increasing every year.
With the argument that the Portuguese creator needs protection, everyone is going to be taxed on any kind of storage device while at least in the movies it looks more that the Portuguese creators are in crisis because of the movie theater industry that prefers the imports to the national production.
At least in this sector it’s not Hard Drives that are hurting the Portuguese creators. Politicians might want an extra revenue source for our deficit budget, but their arguments don’t look solid when you start looking at all the details.
One could close easily with the favorite Ministers phrase of the moment: If you can’t be payed here go abroad, but I prefer the more traditional: