Content piracy declining in Europe, says EUIPO report

Piracy of  TV programmes, music, and film in the EU and UK continued to fall between 2017 and 2020, according to a new report from the European Union Intellectual property Office (EUIPO).

The study looked at content copyright infringement using a variety of desktop and mobile access methods, including streaming, downloading, torrents and ripping software, and found that other than a small uptick in the spring of 2020 as COVID-19 took hold, the trend has been a steady decline over the four-year period.

From its original level in 2017, piracy decreased by 20 per cent in 2018, 6 per cent in 2019 and 34 per cent in 2020, according to the EUIPO.

All told, access to pirated content in the EU halved between 2017 and 2020. The decline was particularly pronounced in music, with piracy accesses reduced by 81  per cent, while film piracy fell 68 per cent and TV piracy was down 41 per cent during the period.

There were significant differences between the countries covered by the study, which the EUIPO said "can be explained by socio-economic factors such as income inequality and by awareness of legal offers among consumers."

Despite the top-line decline, the report found that the average Internet user in the EU accessed copyright-infringing content around six times a month during 2020, with users in Latvia twice as likely to do so.

Consumers in Poland accessed pirated content less than four times a month, while those in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK, were below the EU average.

There was also "a positive association between the proportion of young people (aged 15 to 24) in a country's population and the extent of film piracy," said the report, which can be downloaded here.

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