Half of EU young people think its OK to buy fakes

While awareness of the risks associated with counterfeit goods is rising in the EU, 50 per cent of consumers aged 15 to 24 think that it is acceptable to buy them.

When all age arranges are taken into consideration, the proportion is still high at 31 per cent – an arguably concerning finding given that 80% of Europeans are aware that criminal organisations may be behind fakes, 83 per cent acknowledge that buying them supports unethical behaviour, and two-thirds recognise they can cause harm to health, safety and the environment.

82 per cent of those polled also agreed that accessing content illegally poses risks such as scams and exposure to inappropriate content for minors.

The data from the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) also found that among young people, 26 per cent admitted to having intentionally purchased counterfeits, a decline from a poll by the organisation last year which found that 37 per cent of them had done so, but still higher than the 14 per cent seen in its 2019 survey.

Overall the proportion of respondents who admitted buying counterfeits was 13 per cent, higher than in earlier editions of the study, with older people aged 55 or over less like to.

In a forward to the report, the EUIPO said that the data “shows that most Europeans reject justifications for buying counterfeit goods” and believe that they support “unethical behaviour, criminal organisations, and have a negative economic impact by ruining businesses and jobs.”

Bulgarians were the most likely to do so among the countries polled, followed by citizens of Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Romania. According to the EUIPO, around 6 per cent of imported products in the EU infringe the intellectual property of brand owners.

Digital piracy

When it came to the consumption of pirated content, the study showed that 41 per cent of Europeans are uncertain about the legality of the sources they use for online content, and most do not support obtaining digital content from illegal sources, rejecting arguments such as it is okay for personal use only, if the price is too high, or the content is not available through a legitimate source.

Four out of five said they prefer to use legal sources if they are affordable, but two-thirds (65 per cent) thought it was acceptable to engage in piracy if the content is not available through their subscriptions.

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