University Study Shows Higher Income Students Pirate More

By Bill Toulas / September 14, 2020

The factors behind why people pirate stuff instead of paying to acquire them legally are certainly many, but the one that usually stands out in all discussions around the matter is money. The argument goes like this: the demographics plagued by financial straitness tend to pirate more, at least that’s what makes sense when thinking about it epidermically.

However, a recently published study that was spotted by Torrent Freak tells a different story, introducing critical factors that come into play and often go unnoticed. According to the study, students from private universities in the United States are more prone to pirate stuff compared to students of public educational institutes.

The statistics are 40% vs. 19% for unauthorized movie downloads, 48% vs. 28% for using illegal streaming platforms, and 18% vs. 14% for taking part in P2P swarms. In all categories, students who come from families that enjoy a comfortable financial status pirate more, which seems to be counter-intuitive. So, considering that all respondents were honest since the study was anonymous, what could really be the case here?

First, private university students tend to have a paid subscription on one or more streaming services, whereas public university students rely mostly on YouTube. This pushes the former category to pirate stuff from other streaming platforms that they don’t have subscriptions at, as they are following a wider range of paid content. Long story short, they want to consume a lot more content than their public university counterparts, and this is practically impossible to do legally unless you’re ready to pay an absurd amount of money in monthly subscriptions.

Secondly, there’s the matter of the ethical barriers and the “finding trouble” threat that just doesn’t resonate at the same frequency in both categories. Students who come from families of higher income are typically less likely to be repeatedly warned about the serious consequences that breaking the law has for them. Similarly, these students generally have weaker ethical barriers, so they don’t think too hard about this whole piracy thing.

Thirdly, it is a well-documented fact that wealthy people tend to save more, so passing this way of thinking to their children is natural and expected. Growing up in an affluent environment may create the idea that these people can have everything they want, but they do tend to cut down on unnecessary expenses more aggressively. Streaming services and VoD platform subscriptions are considered superfluous, no doubt, so this may be another element that twists the study’s findings.

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