Wednesday, 22 July 2015 13:45

Aussies continue to defy warnings about illegal downloads Featured


Australia has high levels of online copyright infringement, with illegal downloading of movies, music, TV programs and video games continuing unabated despite warnings about the legal consequences of the practice.

In fact, new research commissioned by the Department of Communications reveals that the downloading of illegal content from the Internet in Australia is double that of the UK.

But, as reported by iTWire today, the research report effectively questions the wisdom of the government's own anti-piracy copyright infringement legislation. The research indicates that the least effective option for stopping people from pirating would be receiving a letter from their Internet Service Provider saying their account would be suspended, with only 2 in 10 pirates saying this would change their behaviour.

According to the research conducted by TNS Australia in March and April, four in 10 content consumers, or 43%, had consumed at least some illegal files, compared to 21% in the UK - representing a quarter of all Australian internet users, or 26%.

And, the Department of Communications estimates that in the first quarter of 2015 a whopping 254 million music tracks, 95 million movies, 82 million TV programs and 9 million video games were illegally consumed online by Australians.

The Department also estimates that a quarter (26%) - equating to approximately 5.2 million of Australian internet users aged 12+ - consumed at least one item of online content illegally over the first three months of  this year.

And, around a quarter of these (7%) exclusively consumed illegal content.

It’s also revealed that levels of infringement varied by content type, with 15% consuming at least some music and 14% consuming at least some movies illegally over the three month period, while 12% did so for TV programs and 3% for video games.

It seems, too, that illegal downloading starts at a young age - 6 in 10 Australian internet users aged 12+ (60%) had consumed at least one item of digital content from across the four core content types -  movies, music, TV programs and video games in the past 3 months - 54% had streamed or accessed content and 43% had downloaded content.

But, the likelihood to have consumed any digital content decreased with age and was higher for males than for females.

In short, the survey reveals that Aussies of all ages are consuming a significant amount of digital content and continue to disregard the warnings about doing something illegal.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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