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Nearly Half In U.S. Have Obtained Pirated Content, New Study Shows

Posted by: , 19:24 AEDT, Thu January 17, 2013

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American Assembly's reports attempts to paint the full picture of the copyright culture in the U.S. (and Germany), with some surprising results
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Ever since a preview of American Assembly's Copy Culture Survey showed that music pirates buy more music than those who claim they don't pirate songs, the full report has been eagerly awaited. This week, it was released and a fuller picture of the copyright culture within the United States, and Germany, has emerged.

Amazingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, 70% of 18-29 year olds in the U.S. have copied or downloaded pirated content, although this number drops down to 26% for 65+ olds. Averaging it out, it still means that 46%, nearly half, of Americans have obtained pirated content, either through sharing with friends, or straight from the Internet.

This trend, where younger generations, particularly the under-30's crowd, are more accepting of piracy is borne out in other data too. When asked a series of questions regarding whether it was reasonable to consider sharing with family, friends, or to upload content or links to pirated content, the under 30's group was easily more accepting of all of these activities. Only for the category of "sharing with family" did the other age groups show a smaller acceptance gap, with 80% of all those surveyed in U.S. saying it was acceptable, compared to 87% of 18-29 year olds.

But while piracy appears to have established itself as a mainstream activity (which may have always been the case, going back to the days of cassette tapes), the study did show that only 3% of Americans, and 2% of Germans, amassed most or all of their content collections via piracy - the absolute majority of people still opted to pay for content, if not most of the time.

When asked about the appropriate punishment for those caught downloading pirated content, most favoured warning or fines system to be imposed. Only 28% supported speed throttling, something that Verizon will implement as part of their "6 strikes" system. Just 14% in the U.S. supports Internet disconnections.

For preventative measures, 64% opposed government censorship of websites accused of piracy, while 69% opposed ISP monitoring. 53% of those surveyed did support the idea of search engines, like Google, blocking links to pirated content.

You can read the full report on the American Assembly website here.


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