Spain's culture industry lost 13,200 jobs in 2008, of which 10,600 were in the audio-visual sector, according to a report on how digital piracy is affecting the European Union.

The bright side is that the sector covering recorded music, cinema, TV series and software, contributed €62 billion ($83.1 billion)) to Spain's gross domestic product (GDP) and provided employment for 1.2 million Spaniards, of which 700,000 are directly employment.

"Building the digital economy: the importance of defending employment in the creative industries of the EU," elaborated by the consultant Tera Consultants, was presented in Madrid March 25. It showed that in 2008, the EU cultural sector contributed 6.9% of the 27 member States' GDP - some €860 billion ($1.15 trillion) - and created direct and indirect employment for 6.5% of the workforce, approximately 14.4 million people. But this was €10 billion ($13.4 billion) and 185,000 jobs down on the previous year, which was blamed on digital piracy.

In Spain, illegal pirated copies of audio-visual product resulted in the loss to the retail trade of €1.35 billion ($1.8 billion), of which €436 million ($584.1 million) corresponded to the recorded music sector. In 2008, Spanish consumers spent €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) on recorded music and audio-visual products, which was 6% of total EU spending. But while the fall in sales between 2004 and 2008 was an average of 24% in the four cultural sectors, in the music sector the drop was 57%.

The report says that of the €436 million ($584.1 million) of Spanish music sector losses in 2008, €413 million ($553.3 million) was due to digital piracy and €23 million ($30.8 million) to physical piracy. In Spain, there are approximately 2 billion illegal music downloads per year, according to labels' body Promusicae.

"The Spanish case is characterized for having the highest rate of piracy in all the countries studied, both [in terms of] physical copies and digital [piracy]", the report says. "The losses in stores are equivalent to 165% of the sales of recorded music in 2008".

Promusicae president Antonio Guisasola said: "It is very interesting that an independent study highlights the dramatic consequences that piracy generates for productive sectors and the economy in general. Now is the time for public authorities to take measures."

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