Business News Digital Legal Top Stories

OfCom publishes piracy report

By | Published on Thursday 12 September 2013


Media regulator OfCom has published a report on online piracy based on research by Kantar Media that took place in four stages over the last year (interim results of initial stages were shared earlier this year). In total 21,474 respondents completed surveys over the twelve months.

The report confirms that, in the main, a relatively small number of web users account for a large amount of online piracy, it estimating that just 2% of net-users account for nearly three quarters of the content illegally accessed and distributed online.

The report also backs the theory, posited many times over the years, that the most prolific pirates are also prolific customers of the content industries. Those who admitted accessing unlicensed content sources also spent on average £26 per quarter on legit online content, versus an average spend of £16 amongst non-infringers.

Of those surveyed, 58% accessed music, movie or TV content online, while 17% accessed illegal content sources, which means about a third of digital content consumers are downloading or streaming unlicensed music or video.

Interestingly over the four stages of the survey, the ratio of legal content consumption to illegal content consumption changed, with the amount of legal content consumption increasing and illegal falling. This may confirm a trend that, as legit music and TV streaming services grow, the relative extent of piracy is declining, or it could simply reflect seasonal variations.

About a fifth of the pirates said a letter from their internet service provider revealing that their infringement had been spotted might make them stop accessing pirated content, while about a quarter said the threat of legal action would.

The survey comes as record industry execs meet with David Cameron to discuss stepping up anti-piracy measures, including getting the never-enacted measures contained in the 2010 Digital Economy Act up and running.

Meanwhile Google has also published a report on piracy, it focused on all the ways the web giant is helping copyright owners, and again pushing its viewpoint that the content industries should be focusing their anti-piracy efforts on trying to shut down the relatively small number of piracy operations that are majorly profiting via ad sales, subscriptions or donations (rather than bothering themselves about Google search results containing links to illegal content files).

Read an exec summary of the OfCom report here

And the Google paper here