Online piracy in the UK has increased slightly but remained stable over five years * TorrentFreak

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Every year, the UK government releases a new version of its online copyright infringement tracker that reveals the results of an annual survey of hacking habits of people aged 12 and over.

The UK Intellectual Property Office has just published the results of the eleventh wave that occurred in 2021.

A different methodology has been published since wave 9 with the goal of producing robust results and additional information. As in previous years, this is a mixture of good and bad news for rights holders.

Summary of the main points

Total content consumption (across legal and illegal sources) increased during this wave in a number of categories, particularly in content streams that reached the highest level seen so far. Live sports consumption has also rebounded to pre-COVID levels and there have been small increases in the number of those downloading music, movies and TV shows. However, in most cases, the numbers were still lower than the pre-COVID-19 peak.

Again, the main drivers for accessing online content were the choice and variety of content offered, the ability to access content instantly, and cost.

In terms of illegal consumption, overall violations of all categories of content were 25%, compared to the 23% reported in the 10th wave of tracking. Although this is a slight increase, overall levels of abuse have remained relatively stable over the past five years, meaning that an average of a quarter of consumers are still using illegal sources, in whole or in part.

Live music, movies, TV and sports

However, this is not all bad news for rights holders. In music, for example, the number of consumers accessing content only from legal sources (downloading and streaming) has increased to 85% (+3%) with only 2% exclusively using illegal sources.

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When it comes to movie consumption, 80% of those surveyed have only consumed from legal sources, 17% have consumed from a mix of legal and illegal sources and 3% have vehemently refused to consume anything legal, all of which has not changed since 2020. The overall level of infringement It also remained steady at 20%.

While not much has changed in the world of TV piracy, the situation has not deteriorated and there are signs of slight improvement. While overall levels remained stable at 14% in 2021, the number of consumers accessing content only from legal platforms rose to 86% (+1%) with only 2% downloading or streaming content only from illegal sources.

Live sports are an unusual category as the availability of sporting events during the COVID-19 lockdown has been greatly reduced. In 2020, only 8% participated in live sports overall, but in 2021 there was a significant increase to 15%, almost double the previous year. Interestingly, however, overall breach levels decreased from 37% in 2020 to 29% in 2021.

Video games and other content

Overall crime remained stable in the video game category at 11% in 2021, with only 2% of consumers accessing content only from illegal sources. In software, overall counterfeiting increased from 20% in 2020 to 23% in 2021, while e-book counterfeiting decreased from 3% from the previous year to 14%.

The global tradition of digital magazines has also fallen in this wave, from 28% in 2020 to 27% in 2021, but the same cannot be said for audiobooks, which have fallen from 14% in 2020 to 24% in 2021.

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Opportunities to change behavior

In addition to tracking consumption, the UK government’s annual report also seeks to highlight areas where hackers of all kinds could be encouraged to consume more legal content. In the previous wave, the report found that hinting at the financial impact of fraud on individuals within industries was more attractive than talking about industries as a whole.

There isn’t much change in the 2021 report, but the study does add some nuances.

“This year’s communication tests managed to dig deeper into who to focus on and showed that participants had difficulty empathizing with great artists, producers, CEOs, etc. who are considered to have a lot of money and success. On the contrary, talking about young artists or companies Small production as well as people working in back industries elicited more positive reactions,” the report states.

Interestingly, the previous report (which was prepared just three months after the start of the pandemic) described a “disappointing response” to messages about the impact of COVID-19 on the creative industries. This time, things have changed.

A year later, with the pandemic at the time of the research, messages of constant pressure on money and reports of job losses were seen as some of the most influential and prompted some participants to reconsider their behaviour. “

Fears (or shortages) among hackers

In an effort to deter hackers, the entertainment industries, particularly in the films, television and broadcasting, have in recent years launched a narrative of malware and other cyber threats. The study found that while some of the less experienced criminals worry, those who regularly abuse are far less concerned.

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Without neglecting potential threats, more experienced users have said that they have established trust in the sources they use and that after not having any issues, feel free to continue using them.

“The idea of ​​increased cybersecurity threats during the pandemic does not seem to raise concerns, as many say they will remain vigilant and know the warning signs of unreliable content to watch out for,” the report read.

When presenting what-if scenarios regarding a potential implementation, the most effective suggestion for getting participants to reconsider was that ISPs could send them warnings and possibly shut down internet access, followed by “stricter enforcement and enforcement of fines”.

At the time of writing, it seems unlikely that a new ISP warning campaign will be launched after the last business abandoned in 2019. The fines (or more specifically letters of settlement) are sent to the UK but they currently cover a very small amount of the content they sent Few rights holders.

The full report can be found here

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