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Ireland's DVD piracy likely to have hit record levels over holidays

Irish film industry research suggests that 100,000 movies are illegally downloaded every week in the country, the Irish Independent reports. With people having spent more time at home over the holiday season, this figure will have climbed even higher.

The Audiovisual Federation, an industry group made up of Irish producers, studios and distributors, estimates that 50% of all DVDs sold in Ireland are illegal, costing retailers €80m in lost sales each year. The organisation believes the film-downloading market is many times larger than the DVD market.

Video rental company Xtra-vision's business manager, Brian Gilligan, rejected the notion that peer-to-peer sharing of films was essentially a victimless crime. "I understand why they (downloaders) might look at Tom Cruise and not feel too guilty about taking money away from him but we have 1,400 employees and there are other retailers that employ ordinary people," he is quoted as saying.

Research carried out by company Millward-Brown in September found that almost a quarter of all Irish adults with internet access have downloaded films. A massive 80% of these did not pay for their movies.

Last year, Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce a system of 'graduated response' to illegal music downloading. Domestic telecom operator Eircom launched a 'three-strikes' approach. Warning letters are sent to Eircom customers found to be illegally sharing music online. Customers can have their service cut off for a year if they receive three such letters.

Acording to the Irish Independent, the film industry wants to see the Government bringing in similar legislation to curb film downloading.

Story filed 05.01.11

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