The British Love to Pirate, but Study Suggests They Still Try to Find Legal Options First

By Tom Pritchard on at

When piracy comes up people often say that part of the problem stems from the fact it can be quite difficult to access content legally. The solution, they say, is to make it possible to access content easily and affordably, that way people won't be tempted to try and obtain it through illegal channels that may be riskier or more difficult to accomplish. Research has shown people tend to gravitate towards legal options like Netflix instead of piracy, and a new study adds credence to those claims.

This new study was organised by anti-piracy company MUSO, through Citizen Me, and surveyed 1,000 British people about their piracy habits. 60 per cent of the people surveyed admitted to pirating music, TV, or films at some point in the past, though didn't specify how much of what sort of timeframe it was after. It could have been a song 10 years ago, or the entire James Bond series last week. But that's not the interesting part. Of the 60 per cent that readily admitted to piracy, 83 per cent claimed to have sought out legal options first, suggesting pirates are more than willing to pay for something and do everything above board.

When asked why they went to pirate, 34.9 per cent said the content they wanted wasn't available, 34.7 per cent it was difficult to access, and 35.2 per cent it was because they couldn't afford it. MUSO also found that 91 per cent of admitted pirates has a subscription to some sort of legal streaming service, compared to 80 per cent of non-pirates. As to why people continue to pirate, despite having an active subscription, MUSO blames it on the fact there is no one subscription that gives you access to everything. Different companies wall off their content in different places, and each place has it's own subscription. Nobody has the money to pay for complete and total access, and that's a problem that's only going to get worse as different companies try to cut out the third parties and get their own slice of streaming revenue.

With that in mind MUSO has made it clear that rights holders shouldn't dismiss pirates out of hand, since they're not the plundering content-stealing vagabonds some people might make them out to be. Instead they're valuable customers, and the entertainment business should try and find a better way to serve their needs, particularly since 53 per cent said they thought piracy was wrong. Of course that's not going to stop people who pirate out of principle, or who refuse to pay a single penny to access content, but it's yet another study that shows those people are a minority.

Unfortunately, while identifying the problem is helpful, the solution isn't all that obvious. Particularly since the entertainment industries will want something that earns them more money than they're earning at the moment. [Torrentfreak]