The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has conducted a survey to investigate consumer trends in relation to streaming and downloading.
Previously, it was clear that the majority of consumers were accessing internet services through illegal channels. The minority were using legal sources for streaming and downloading music, TV shows, films, computer software, video games or e-books.
However, the survey conducted this year by the IPO found an increase of more than 10% in take up of legal services since 2013. In general, there was an increase of users accessing the internet to download and stream with more of those users using legal services. However, one in five consumers stated that they still use illegal sources to access some content.
The UK survey looked specifically into access to music, film and TV. Music has the highest percentage of illegal activity with 26% of users streaming and downloading it illegally. 25% of users accessed films illegally whereas only 21% of users watched TV through illegal sources. All three areas have well established legal platforms which have high percentages of activity. For music these are YouTube, Amazon and Spotify. For Film these are Netflix, Amazon and YouTube and lastly, TV is mostly watched on BBC iPlayer, YouTube and ITV Player.
The surveys also highlighted that consumers would be encouraged to stop infringing if there was cheaper legal services and if there was a wider selection of content to access using legal services.
The IPO survey was published in parallel to similar research in Australia which highlighted that the level of internet users are at similar rates in the UK and Australia. However, illegal downloading for UK consumers was half the rate of those in Australia.
To increase legal access even more, the UK Government have been taking action to tackle online copyright infringement. More funding has been given to provide education and to give the Police more scope to tackle it efficiently. In addition, consultation has commenced to toughen penalties for commercial copyright infringement.