Robert Wright: Piracy threatens U.S. economy

The NBC Universal chairman warns that problems facing media content owners will spread to other sectors of the economy if left unchecked.
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Wearing his hat as a Hollywood studio mogul, NBC Universal Chairman Robert Wright argued last week that the theft of intellectual property threatened U.S. economic security and recommended a response similar to the war on terrorism.

Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., Wright warned that the problems facing media content owners would spread to other sectors of the economy.

Wright cited a new study claiming that piracy of motion pictures had cost the industry more than $20 billion — a broader impact on the economy than previously thought. The ripple effect, he said, branches out to include many businesses that support the making of films.

Piracy, Wright said, increases the federal deficit because of the $837 billion in lost tax dollars, $5.5 billion in lost wages and 141,030 lost jobs.

Wright chided Internet service providers and consumer electronics makers for having as much to lose to piracy as the content owners, and urged them to take greater efforts to protect copyright-protected material.