Ofcom: TV and Film Piracy On The Rise In UK

Mike Wheatley

No matter how hard they try, it seems as if authorities are fighting a losing battle in their war against digital piracy. Ofcom’s newly released Copyright Infringement Tracker report shows that piracy in the UK is actually on the rise, with almost a third of UK internet users downloading illegal music, video or TV streams at least once in the three month period ending last January. Altogether, almost 400 million pirated digital files were downloaded by UK net users in that period.

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Ofcom: TV and film piracy on the rise in UK

Ofcom’s report, which is supported by the Intellectual Property Office, tracks copyright infringement of digital media including music, films, TV shows, computer software, computer games and books, assessing each category to try and ascertain the level of piracy.

Overall, Ofcom found that digital media consumption among UK internet users increased from 57% to 60% over the three months, with the total level of copyright infringement remaining stable compared to its previous survey. However, Ofcom also noticed a 2% increase in the number of people accessing pirated digital media, rising from 16% to 18% of internet users. Of these, Ofcom found that 5% almost exclusively consume illegal content.

The actual level of piracy varies depending on the type of content. Illegal film content was the most popular form of piracy, with 7% of users accessing at least one such file over the three month period. This was followed by TV shows, computer software and computer games, downloaded by 6%, 3% and 2% of all users respectively. Breaking this down into actual numbers, Ofcom states that a total of 29 million movies were downloaded illegally during this time, alongside a whopping 52 million TV shows.

Clearly then, piracy is still a big problem, but there are some signs that suggest a growing number of people are more willing to pay for their content. The survey noted a 4% rise in the number of people who claimed to pay for all of their TV content, up to 10% from 6% in the previous survey. Moreover, the number of people who claimed to consume exclusively “free” content fell from 87% to 82%. In addition, the number of people that admitted to consuming pirated content fell from 26% to 20%, although due to its nature this figure at least should be viewed with suspicion.

Aside from collecting a load of stats, Ofcom’s report also sought to discern the attitudes of UK consumers towards piracy. The watchdog found that the majority of people admitting to using illegal content did so due to the convenience and speed of doing so. Moreover, it found that consumers of illegal content are becoming more brazen too, with the number of people “scared of getting caught” falling to 9% from 12% in the previous survey.

Source: The Guardian

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