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53% of People Who Access Pirated Content Agree It’s Wrong to Do So (Survey)

83% of U.K. piracy users claim they first try to find legal sources for films, TV shows, and music

Some 60% of consumers admit they have streamed or downloaded illegally shared movies, TV shows, or music — and at least half of them realize it’s wrong.

That’s according to a recent survey of British adults conducted by Muso, an antipiracy tracking and consulting firm, which found 53% of users of piracy services agree that accessing such content is wrong.

So why do people do it anyway? Around 35% of pirated-content users cited cost. But 35% also said they turn to illegal services because the content they want isn’t available on services or TV channels they subscribe to. And 35% said the content is not available through legitimate sources in their country (in this case, the U.K.).

And check this out: Of those who admitted to accessing pirated material, 83% claimed they try to find content through legal avenues first, according to Muso’s survey. About 91% of those who admit to accessing illegally shared content said they pay for a subscription service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify or Apple Music.

The results should be taken with a grain of salt. First, the behavior is self-reported, and people don’t always accurately or honestly respond on such surveys (especially when it comes to illegal activity). Muso conducted the survey of 1,000 U.K. adults via CitizenMe, an app that gives users cash for completing questionnaires.

But one of Muso’s takeaways from the survey is that many people wouldn’t engage in piracy if there were legal alternatives. The London-based company’s services for content owners include tools for using piracy networks to market legitimate content, in addition to monitoring for copyright infringement and issuing takedown notices.

“We want to fundamentally challenge the perception that piracy audiences will not pay for content,” Paul Briley, Muso’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “If content owners accept that these are high-intent audiences, they can explore new ways of making their content more readily discoverable, engage these audiences, and create new revenue opportunity in the process.”

It may be true that some portion of the piracy-going public would fork over money if only they had easier, or cheaper, access to premium content. But there will always be people who want to get something for nothing — or pirate movies, TV series and music just for the thrill of it.

The rise of inexpensive, broadly available streaming-media services like Netflix and Spotify hasn’t put the brakes on piracy. In 2017, consumers worldwide made some 300 billion visits to internet piracy sites, up 1.6% from 2016, according to Muso. The firm found that illegal streaming and downloads of TV shows and music increased last year while the volume of film piracy actually declined.

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