A fifth of UK young adults use piracy sites – in Spain, it’s a third

A third of citizens in Spain aged between 15 and 24 have intentionally used illegal sources to access online content in the past 12 months.

The shocking figure arises from a new report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which surveyed young people in each of the 28 EU Member States.

In the UK, 19% of the surveyed group admitted to intentionally using piracy sites, while the average across Europe was a quarter.

The main reasons given for using the illegal platforms were because it is free, or cheaper than accessing content from legal sources, according to the report.

Films and TV series were the most accessed types of content from illegal sources, followed by music and games.

Nearly one in four of those using illegal sites believed that they were doing nothing wrong in accessing digital content on these platforms for personal use.

A third of these people considered that content from illegal sources was easier to find and quicker to access than content from legal sources.

Interestingly, six out of ten young Europeans say they would stop using illegal sources to access digital content if more affordable content from legal sources was available.

According to the results of the report:

  • In France, 11% of young people have intentionally bought counterfeit goods online in the past 12 months, while 34% intentionally used illegal sources to access online content.
  • In the UK, 10% of young people have intentionally bought counterfeit goods online in the past 12 months, while 19% intentionally used illegal sources to access online content.
  • In Italy, 9% of young people have intentionally bought counterfeit goods online in the past 12 months, while 21% intentionally used illegal sources to access online content.
  • In Spain, 19% of young people have intentionally bought counterfeit goods online in the past 12 months, while 33% intentionally used illegal sources to access online content.
  • In Germany, 8% of young people have intentionally bought counterfeit goods online in the past 12 months, while 18% intentionally used illegal sources to access online content

The report also shows a sharp difference in attitudes among young people between illegally accessing digital content and buying counterfeit goods online.

Only 12% of those questioned said they have intentionally bought counterfeit products online in the past 12 months, mostly counterfeit clothes, accessories and footwear, with over half saying they did so because it was cheaper than buying the real thing.

However, the vast majority of young people do not buy counterfeit products online. Over half of all those questioned say they do not trust the sites which sell counterfeit goods, and 20% say they are afraid of their data being misused if they make a purchase.

António Campinos, EUIPO Executive Director said: “This study helps us to understand young digital natives, to explore how they behave online and to measure the scale of the challenge in changing their attitudes.

“I trust it will support our collective efforts to develop IP education and awareness initiatives which can connect with young Europeans, as well as providing valuable information for policy makers.”

EUIPO is the EU’s largest decentralised agency, based in Alicante, Spain. It manages the registration of the European Union trade mark (EUTM) and the registered Community design (RCD).

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