EU Intellectual Property Study Says Piracy Rates Are Falling

Written by Bill Toulas
Published on November 25, 2020

A new study published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shines a light on how piracy rates move today. The results are in line with similar findings of past studies.

More specifically, there are fewer pirates right now across the continent, and the trend continues to point downwards. The study is based on the answers given by 25,636 anonymous participants living in 27 European countries.

Out of all respondents, only 8% admitted downloading or streaming copyright-protected content using illicit means like torrent sites or pirate IPTV platforms. Previously, the percentage of pirates was around 10%, so there’s a clear drop that is being recorded here.

Source: EUIPO

Luxembourg and Slovenia reported higher piracy rates, with 18% and 17%, respectively. In contrast, Greeks, Polish, and Italians reported themselves as being among the most lawful in the EU, with only 6% of them confessing downloading pirated media. Romanians topped the list, with a mere 4% of the participants having downloaded pirated content in the last 12 months.

Source: EUIPO

Of those who did engage in pirate activities, a respectable 59% used legal services as well. This indicates that they resorted to illegal distribution channels to access content that was out of reach in their countries, or maybe because they couldn’t cover the cost of subscribing to all the different services that broadcast that content.

Source: EUIPO

As for the people who are not pirates, they declared that it is generally acceptable to obtain content illegally from the internet as long as it’s for personal and not commercial use - and if there’s no available legal alternative. Of course, there are discrepancies here, too, with Bulgarians accepting pirating activities by up to 50%, while Finnish maintaining a much stricter stance with only 20% of the respondents agreeing that any circumstance makes pirating acceptable.

Source: EUIPO

So, if piracy rates are indeed falling, you may be wondering why exactly is it happening? First and foremost, streaming platforms have played a pivotal role in giving people an inexpensive and easy to access legal alternative. Secondly, Europol’s activities towards bashing pirates across the continent are finally starting to leave a mark in the community.

Thirdly, many people are getting fed up with the poor quality of pirated media. And finally, a growing number of people realize the harm that pirating does to creators, so they simply choose not to do it.

Source: EUIPO

Piracy hasn’t disappeared yet, and it’s not expected to be completely wiped from the face of the Earth any time soon, but it is unmistakably losing the battle against those who try to contain it. Sure, some pirates will persist no matter what happens, and the reasons to do this will not cease to exist entirely, but it is gradually turning into an underground activity.

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