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EU Study Reveals a Dramatic Decline in Pirated Digital Content Among Young People


EU Study Reveals a Dramatic Decline In Music Piracy Among Young People

Photo Credit: Vjeran Pavic / CC by 3.0

A study by the European Union (EU) Intellectual Property Office indicates that only 49% of people between the ages of 15 and 24 accessed pirated digital content over the past year.

This represents a decline in piracy of 22% since 2016 when 60% of people used pirated content.

The news is even better for the music industry specifically. The study found that only 39% of young people have accessed pirated music content, which represents a whopping 31% decline from 2016 when 56% accessed pirated music content. In comparison, 79% of young people have accessed pirated video content in 2019, which is down only slightly from 2016 when 85% of them used pirated video content.

Overall, about a third of young people accessed pirated content from illegal sources. Though only 21% did so intentionally, which is down from 25% in 2016. Correspondingly, 80% of young people have accessed at least some licensed content in the past year.

Unsurprisingly, the use of pirated digital content varied greatly depending on the country. In wealthy countries, where young people have more money to spend on digital content, piracy was far lower than it was in poorer countries. For example, in Germany — which is one of the richer countries in the EU — only 13% of young people accessed pirated content from illegal sources. In the United Kingdom, this number was 14%. But in Lithuania, which is one of the poorer nations in the EU, 45% of young people accessed pirated content through illegal sources.

What is driving piracy has also changed. While in 2016 67% of young people listed price as a reason for piracy, only 56% of respondents listed it in 2019. At the same time, a lack of choice and convenience as a reason for piracy has increased.

The study further found that music is the most popular digital content among young people.

97% of young people either stream or download music while 94% of them stream or download video content and 92% stream or download games.

The EU study follows a recent study by the IFPI, which also showed a decline in the use of pirated content. Oddly, neither the IFPI or sister organizations like the RIAA seem to be publicizing the sizable declines.


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