More young Europeans shun illegal content, says EUIPO

More than half of young people in Europe now avoid illegal sources of digital content, according to the latest youth report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

All told, 51% of 15 to 24 year olds in the EU said they had not “used, played, downloaded or streamed” illegal content in the last 12 months, up from 40% in 2016 when the EUIPO last ran the survey.

The proportion of young people who intentionally used illegally-sourced content like music, films, TV programmes and games fell to 21% from 25% in 2016, and that seems to have arisen in part from the availability of subscription services for digital content like Spotify and Netflix, at least in some markets.

There was a slight increase in the proportion saying they had intentionally bought counterfeit goods online, from 12% to 13%, but there are signs that attitudes are changing, with more than half of those surveyed this year saying they thought buying fakes is “just not cool.”

Two-thirds said they also recognised that purchasing counterfeits of goods like clothes, accessories or footwear was not a victimless crime and could harm their creators.

“Messages about personal safety and risk still resonate strongly among young people, but at the same time there has been an increase in…moral values-based arguments against infringing intellectual property rights,” says the report (PDF).

The EUIPO’s executive director Christian Archambeau said the findings of the survey are important because “we have to understand what drives young people today when devising policies and programmes to protect [intellectual property] in the future.”

However, he cautioned that “a significant minority of young people doesn’t see a difference between real and fake products and simply don’t care if they are fake.”

Delving into the figures of the report, young people in Lithuania, Estonia and Greece were most likely to intentionally use illegal sources to access digital content, with their counterparts in the Germany, the UK and Malta at the other end of the scale.

When it comes to intentionally buying fake goods, the top countries were Cyprus, Estonia and Greece, with youngsters in the UK, Luxembourg, and France least likely to make those purchases.

The most commonly purchased counterfeit goods continued to be clothes and accessories, and footwear, according to the EUIPO, with other categories such as electronic devices, tickets, books and magazines bought “comparatively infrequently”.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

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