EUIPO says online copyright infringement going up again

After multiple years of decline, online piracy of content like movies, TV shows and music is on the rise again across the 27 member states of the EU, according to a new EUIPO report.

The latest edition of the EUIPO’s biannual survey shows that after declines between 2-17 and 2021, 2022 saw a reversal of the trend with rates of digital piracy rising 3.3 per cent, mainly driven by increased consumption of infringing TV content and publications and starting towards the end of 2021.

Levels remain much lower than they were in 2017 overall, but according to the EUIPO’s executive director, Christian Archambeau, there is “still much work to do to tackle piracy.”

He added: “Stopping this phenomenon is complex as piracy is continuously evolving with technology. This is why understanding the underlying mechanisms of piracy is essential to adopt effective policies and measures that contribute to reducing it.”

TV piracy represented nearly half (48  per cent) of all accesses to infringing sites in the EU in 2022, followed by publications (28 per cent), films (11 per cent), software (7 per cent) and music (6 per cent).

Anime series and films as well as live streams of sports featured prominently among the most pirated content, according to the EUIPO. Publications and software piracy as well as live event piracy are covered in the report for the first time.

Regarding the method, 58 per cent of piracy occurred via streaming and 32 per cent via download. There were also significant differences in national patterns of infringement, with people in some countries seeming to prefer mobile devices when consuming pirated content, while others prefer desktop devices.

Although piracy on mobile devices had an increasing profile until the beginning of 2020, when it was the preferred option since mid-2020 accesses on desktop devices have again moved above mobile.

The impact of the pandemic was also of note, with a reduction in pirating of films and TV shows, possibly because people’s consumption of the content went up and it was less hassle to pay a subscription for legal content. There was less of an impact on music piracy.

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