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Piracy level downs among younger consumers, reckons IPO stats pack 

By | Published on Thursday 5 July 2018

Turns out you can’t blame piracy on the kids anymore. Well, not entirely. New stats from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office reckon that while overall levels of online piracy are unchanged year-on-year, infringement among 16-24 year olds is down in 2018 compared to 2017. I mean, they still infringe the most, but less than they used to. Plus infringement levels were up for older demographics.

This is all based on an annual survey that the IPO commissions at the start of each year. They ask respondents whether they access music, TV, movies, software, e-books, video games and – as of this year’s survey – sports content online and, if so, whether they are accessing that content through licensed or unlicensed channels. Across all online content users, 25% of those surveyed were accessing some illegal content somewhere.

Of the different content types, e-books are least likely to be pirated, while – as of this year – TV content is most likely to be accessed through illegal channels. Software was the most pirated category in previous years, but software piracy dropped this year while more people were nabbing telly shows from illegitimate sources. Music piracy scored one percent higher in the 2018 survey than in 2017.

Commenting on the latest round of official piracy stats, IP Minister Sam Gyimah told reporters: “The variety of legitimate services now available to consumers is extraordinary and our world-leading creative industries have made great strides in meeting the demands of viewers and fans, so there really is no excuse for the ongoing use of illegal services”.

He went on: “Today’s findings are a positive step forward in stamping out online copyright infringement, but we cannot afford to be complacent. We are committed to tackling piracy and helping this vibrant sector go from strength to strength through our Creative Industries Sector Deal, a major part of our modern Industrial Strategy”.

Speaking for the copyright industries at large, Eddy Leviten of the Alliance For Intellectual Property said of the new round of stats: “[This research] is a valuable measure of progress in the UK in the use of legitimate content services but piracy levels remain at one quarter of the population, which is still far too high”.

Referencing its involvement in that Creative Industries Sector Deal thing that Gyimah name-checked, Leviten added: “The Alliance and its members are active participants in the Sector Deal roundtables which can help to drive down piracy and counterfeiting and allow genuine content and goods to flourish. We look forward to working collaboratively to achieve concrete results”.