1 in 4 Oz teens active online pirates

Fresh research commissioned by the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (IPAF), an alliance of Australian film and television organisations, has revealed a number of insights regarding the attitudes and behaviour of Australians aged 12-17 to online film and television piracy.

The independent study, undertaken by Sycamore Research in partnership with Newspoll, is the first in-depth study of its kind – previous IPAF research has focused on adults – and used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

According to the IPAF, the research suggests that the film and TV piracy habits and attitudes of young Australians:

  • Pirating is not the social norm amongst Australians aged 12-17 (despite the anecdotal assertion that “everyone does it”) – 76 per cent say they don’t pirate movies and TV shows.
  • The incidence of piracy activity increases with age (17 per cent of 12-13 yrs up to 31 per cent of 16-17 yrs).
  • The majority of 12-17 year olds who use illegal websites to access pirated content recall viewing gambling advertisements and pop ups, and over a third recall sex industry advertisements. This supports recent academic research that found that piracy websites are increasingly dependent on high risk advertisements as their primary means of profit. Parents needs to be aware that children who access illegal sites to download unauthorised movies and TV shows may be exposed to graphic pornographic advertisements, unregulated gambling sites, scams and viruses.
  • Almost half of young Australians aged 12-17 agreed that the Internet should be more regulated in order to prevent piracy- only 19 per cent disagreed. (55 per cent of Australian adults aged over 18 agreed that courts should be allowed to block websites that profit from pirated content).
  • Parental influence is a key factor in the behaviour of Australians aged 12-17. In households where parents are pirating, the children appear likely to do so as well. 78 per cent of kids who don’t pirate say their parents have spoken to them about piracy. Parents have the power to influence teen pirates.
  • The primary motivator for Australians of all ages pirating movies and TV shows is that it is free.
  • The argument for free content overshadows their moral and ethical concerns.

Lori Flekser, Executive Director of IPAF, says the research has identified some of the key drivers of behaviour amongst this generation of digital natives. “Essentially they pirate because it’s free, easily accessible, nobody is stopping them and they incorrectly believe it is the social norm and that it does no real harm.”

She confirms the new research corroborates IPAF’s previous adult-focused research about the ultimate reason Australians of all ages pirate movies and TV shows – because they can get it for free. “This is, and should be, of huge concern to our creative industries, which employ significant numbers of people. There is a disturbing trend towards the devaluing of content. Whilst it is good news that 76 per cent of twelve-to-seventeen year-old Australians are not accessing pirated content, the activity of the almost one in four who are, has a substantial impact,”she notes.

Marc Wooldridge, Managing Director of 20th Century Fox Film Distributors, says that piracy is a massive drain on the film industry. “It’s disheartening and shows a disregard for the time, effort and money that’s invested in creating amazing pieces of entertainment that obviously are important to those pirating, because they spend a lot of time engaging with filmed entertainment. They just have a reluctance to pay for it when they can get it for free. I think that that’s one of our ongoing challenges. It’s hard to compete with free.”

The Director of Sycamore Research, Anna Meadows, used an online platform for the qualitative research in this study for IPAF – including a fully moderated diary and online forum. This allowed her to engage and interact with those respondents who identified as pirates and observe their behaviour online as well as hold forum discussions to understand the influences on their piracy behaviour.

More than 600 respondents aged 12-17 participated nationally in the quantitative research, also

conducted online. Meadows said that researching online provided a relevant context and level of

comfort for the participants and encouraged candour in their responses.

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