Digital Piracy In Spain Declines But Fight Continues

Levels of illegal content access are decreasing in Spain but economic damage from piracy still surpassed €2bn, suggests report.



Digital piracy in Spain has experienced another decline in absolute figures, according to the Observatory of Piracy and Consumption Habits of Digital Content 2020 report released today.


The data shows another 7% annual drop in access to illegal content. A total of 5.239 billion pieces of illegal content were still accessed during the year, although this represents a cumulative decrease of 10% since 2018 and around 24% since 2015.


The damage of piracy to the Spanish economy is estimated at €2.416bn in this period. Without piracy, the Spanish economy could have received €682m during 2020, a figure that rises to €5.34bn since 2012, and 130,000 direct and indirect jobs could have been created.


These are some of the main findings collected by the study, prepared by the independent consultancy GfK at the request of the Coalition presented by the Minister of Culture and Sports. Aside from GfK’s analysis, the report features a survey of over 3,000 Spanish consumers to discover their consumption of, and attitudes towards, pirated content.


Access To Sports Content

During 2020, a total of 71 million football matches were illegally viewed, at a value of €282m (causing €231m of damage). The number of matches watched illegally decreased compared to 2019, where 87 million matches were viewed, but the number of consumers who access to watch football through illegal portals remained the same.


As the organiser of the professional football competitions in Spain, LaLiga suffers the effects of sports piracy in Spain acutely, and six years ago began developing its own tools to combat this threat. The result is Content Protection, a combination of AI-powered monitoring software and over 20 expert analysts who coordinate with online providers and legal authorities to secure the content’s removal.


The most recent results show Content Protection removed over 1.5 million illegal sources of LaLiga content in the last season, while its team secured blocking orders to 23 different web domains and complaints against the operators of 32 IPTV websites.


Content Protection now forms part of LaLiga Tech, the sports technology offering created by LaLiga. On top of its own competition, Content Protection has removed hundreds of thousands of illegal content sources for global clients including Dorna Sports, Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League and Sky Mexico.


Emilio Fernández del Castillo, director of LaLiga Content Protection, said: “We have the equipment, the technology and the knowledge to deal with the scourge that is audiovisual piracy, behind which there are organisations that profit from the work of legitimate creators, but to win this game there is a lack of a legal tool that allows content to be blocked in a fast and agile way.”