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Two per cent of internet users account for most online piracy

A new report from Ofcom has found that nearly three-quarters of content piracy is carried out by just two per cent of internet users.

The report, funded by the Intellectual Property Office, found that only a small number of pirates had access to “vast amounts” of content that infringed copyright.

The report said that films were most likely to be pirated, 35 per cent of the total number of film watched online were illegally downloaded.

Two per cent of internet users account for most online piracy
Population sizes and proportion of online content consumers (Kantar Media/Ofcom)

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Which UK ISPs Block File-SharingThe study, undertaken for Ofcom by Kantar Media, also found that pirates spend far more time on downloading and streaming legal content than those who never access illegal content at all.

Kantar Media looked through 21,475 responses to four surveys between May 2012 and May 2013.

It found those who illegally download content also spend the most on legal content, spending, on average £26 every three month, compared with just £16 by those that accessed only legal content.

Those who did illegally download content justified their actions saying that they had already spent a lot on legal content and the price of such content was too expensive.

Only a quarter of pirates that that watched the most illegal content said they would stop if they thought they would get sued. Another one in five said that they would stop if they got a letter from their ISP telling them that they had infringed copyright.

Ofcom said the figures suggested that no single enforcement solution is likely to address online copyright infringement in isolation.

“A complementary mix of measures including better lawful alternatives, more education about copyright matters, and targeted enforcement is more likely to be successful,” the report said.

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