An estimated seven million Brits are involved in illegal downloads of music, movies, software or games. This digital piracy is resulting in “huge economic losses” and confusion about copyright law, according to a study by UK government advisers.
The study entitled ‘Copycats? Digital Consumers in the on-line Age’, warns that shifting attitudes may be an uphill struggle. Researchers from the UCL’s Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) found that on one peer-to-peer network at midday on a particular weekday, there were 1.3 million users sharing content.
If each “peer” from this network (not the largest) downloaded one file per day the resulting number of downloads (music, film, television, e-books, software and games were all available) would be 4.73 billion items per year. This amounts to around £120 billion in content being consumed annually – for free.