One in Four Young EU Digital Content Users Accesses Illegal Sources

After a 2013 study on perception and awareness of intellectual property rights showed that young people (aged 15-24) were more likely to challenge IP laws, the EU Intellectual Property Office undertook more extensive research to find out their attitudes towards piracy and infringement. Although 25% of young people used an illegal source in the past 12 months, the majority (81%) said they use legal sources too with just 5% using illegal sources only. Price was the main motivation for using an illegal source followed by not seeing anything wrong with using an infringing source and then ease of discovery and use of pirated sites.

“This study helps us to understand young digital natives, to explore how they behave online and to measure the scale of the challenge in changing their attitudes,” said António Campinos, EUIPO Executive Director, in a press release. “I trust it will support our collective efforts to develop IP education and awareness initiatives which can connect with young Europeans, as well as providing valuable information for policy makers.”

Additional findings

  • Music (97%) and Films & Series (95%) were the most accessed digital content. Educational content came in fourth at 83% with ebooks accessed by 58% of respondents.
  • The three main factors youth consider when accessing online content are quality, price (cheap or free), and safety.
  • For those that access illegal sources, the majority say they do it because they cannot tell if the source is legal or not.
  • Availability of affordable content from legal sources and the risk of punishment are the two main reasons youth would stop using illegal sources. Potential loss of income to the copyright holders, artists, etc., did not matter much.

Read Intellectual Property and Youth, EUIPO (2016)

AAP members can learn more about our efforts to combat digital piracy at the members-only webinar Protecting Your IP in the Digital Age.

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