50% unsure on online copyright infringement

Half of those viewing or downloading content online have no idea whether it’s legal or not
Adam Smith

November 20, 2012
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The latest research from Ofcom, a “large-scale” study into the extent of copyright infringement online, has shown that almost half of Internet users in the UK are unsure whether any given content they are downloading or streaming from the net is legal or not.

Ofcom posed the question: How confident are you that you know what is legal and what isn’t in terms of downloading, streaming/accessing and sharing content through the internet?

28 per cent of respondents said they were “not particularly confident,” 17 per cent said “not at all confident,” and 3 per cent didn’t know – making a total of 48 per cent who were unsure.

Ofcom says this underlines the need to educate consumers when it comes to copyrighted material online.

One in six surveyed, however, did say that they believed they’d downloaded something illegal in the past three months.

The most common reason given for accessing illegal content online was because it was free (unsurprisingly) with 54 per cent stating this. However, almost as many folks said it was because it was convenient (48 per cent) and quick (44 per cent). 26 per cent used illegal downloads as a method to try before buying.

39 per cent of infringing folks said they would stop doing so if cheaper legal means were available to obtain the content in question. One in six said they would stop if they received a warning letter from their ISP.

Earlier this year, Ofcom published a draft code to make large ISPs inform customers of copyright infringement allegations, and furthermore to then explain where licensed content can be found on the net.


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