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BizReport : Internet : September 13, 2013

UK: 1 in 4 downloads are pirated content

A study by Ofcom, funded by the Intellectual Property Office, has found that almost one quarter of all downloads in the UK are of pirated content, amounting to over a billion files last year.

by Helen Leggatt

The study by Ofcom for the IPO reveals that 22% of all UK downloads are in breach of copyright. Last year, there were 1.5 billion illegal file downloads with films accounting for the largest chunk (35%) of all pirated content compared with music (22%) and TV programs (18%).

Furthermore, the study, based on 21,475 responses to four surveys between May 2012 and May 2013, found that over half (58%) of Internet users downloaded or streamed at least one item of illegal content during last year.

Interestingly, those who download pirated content were more likely to spend money on legal downloads. Over a three month period, pirates spent £26 (US$41) on goods compared with just £16 (US$25) by law-abiding Internet users who did not infringe copyright.

In fact, the most common excuse proffered by those involved in piracy was that they had already spent more than enough on content and that legal downloads were too expensive.

However, Ofcom says that "a small proportion of infringers account for the large majority of infringements".

"The data show that just 2% of internet users make up the top decile of infringers by volume, and these people accounted for three-quarters (74%) of all infringements. There is, therefore, a long tail of casual, low level or infrequent infringers."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: illegal downloads, movie industry, online content, piracy, television

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