Pirates Spend More Cash On Legal Downloads: Survey

Dennis Faas's picture

A new survey has found that people who regularly download pirated material spend more money on legitimate downloads than individuals who don't download pirated material. The same survey also revealed that about one in every four downloads breaches copyright in some way.

The survey was carried out by a media company working for Ofcom, the United Kingdom's equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The researchers spoke to a total of 21,745 Britons over the course of a year. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

The figures are all based on survey responses rather than actual activity data, so it's worth keeping in mind that some people may not have been telling the truth.

The big surprise is that people who engage in piracy are doing so as well as, rather than instead of, buying non-pirated content.

People who admitted to downloading material illegally said they spent an average of $41 USD on legal downloads in a three month period, compared with non-infringers who averaged $25. (Source: org.uk)

Pirates Will Pay For Physical Media

The pirates also said they spent an average of $174 on legitimate physical media, including books, CDs, and DVDs. Compare that with the $131 spent by people who say they've never illegally downloaded copyright-protected material.

As a general rule, the more content a person pirated, the more they were also spending on legal downloads.

Another revelation: how much content the pirates are stealing. The survey found that the most active pirates downloaded an average of 80 movies every three months -- that's almost one a day!

Legal Content 'Too Expensive,' Pirates Claim

Asked to explain why they illegally download copyright-protected material, most respondents said it was because doing so was free, quick, and convenient.

On average, the more a person pirated, the more likely they were to say legal content is too expensive, argue that they already spend enough on legal material, or express frustration with release delays (such as movies taking too long to become legally available in the UK).

The research also found that although most pirates say they are unlikely to stop downloading illegally, the more a person downloaded, the more they were worried about the threat of being sued or getting warnings from their Internet service provider.

Ofcom concluded that no single measure will stop piracy; rather, it says confronting the issue will require a well-rounded approach that involves targeting the heaviest downloaders with legal sanctions, better educating people about copyright issues, and making more legal content available in an affordable and convenient way.

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