High support for IP rights among EU citizens

An EU-wide survey carried out by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that 97 per cent of all EU citizens believe it is important that inventors, creators and performing artists can protect their rights and be paid for their work.

The survey questioned 26,555 people aged 15 and over across the EU-28 about their perceptions of intellectual property. It confirms the overall results of a similar survey conducted by EUIPO in 2013.

Seventy per cent of those surveyed said that nothing can justify the purchase of counterfeit goods, and 78 per cent believed buying counterfeits had a negative effect on businesses and jobs.

However, the survey shows there appears to be more tolerance for buying counterfeits, in particular among young people. Fifteen per cent of 15-24 year olds say they intentionally purchased a counterfeit product in the past 12 months, 9 percentage points more than in 2013. Moreover, in the context of the ongoing economic crisis, 41 per cent of young people said they felt it was acceptable to buy counterfeits if the original product was too expensive. Three-quarters of all respondents said they would stop purchasing counterfeits if affordable  alternatives were available.

Eighty-three per cent said they prefer to access digital content through legal or authorised services whenever there is an affordable option available, and 71 per cent of those admitting to using illegal sources say they would stop, if they could access affordable alternative options.

Twenty-seven per cent of those surveyed said they had paid for content from legal sources, 7 percentage points higher than in 2013, with 69 per cent believing that legal sources are of a better quality.

Among the 15-24 age group, 41 per cent said they had paid to access content from legal sources, which is 8 percentage points higher than in 2013.

The percentage of respondents who said that they knowingly accessed pirated content has not changed since 2013 (27 per cent of 15-24 year olds and 10 per cent of all respondents).

However, confusion is growing about what constitutes a legal source. In 2016, 24 per cent of respondents, five percentage points more than in 2013, wondered if an online source was legal, rising to 41 per cent among young people. Additionally, 10 per cent of respondents said they were misled when buying products.

“Overall, we see that support for IP rights is high among EU citizens. But we also see that more needs to be done to help young people in particular understand the importance of IP to our economy and society, especially now, when encouraging innovation and creativity is increasingly the focus of economic policy across our European Union,” noted António Campinos, Executive Director of EUIPO.

Since the publication of the 2013 study, EUIPO has carried out a number of actions based on its results, aimed directly at EU citizens. The European online content portal, agorateka offers a way to identify legal content online across the EU. EUIPO raises awareness of the economic value that IP rights bring in terms of supporting growth and jobs in the EU through its reporting and study series. EUIPO supports Europol’s IPR Crime Coordinated Centre, which works to combat online IP infringements. Through its online Ideas Powered initiative, EUIPO works to engage young people across the EU with intellectual property.

France

  • According to the survey, 97 per cent of French respondents agreed that protecting IP is important because inventors, creators and performing artists can protect their rights and be paid for their work, in line with the EU average.
  • 82 per cent agreed that buying counterfeit products ruins businesses and jobs, four percentage points higher than the EU average.
  • 6 per cent admitted to having bought counterfeit products intentionally, as opposed to 7 per cent across the EU, and 70 per cent of those who admitted to buying counterfeit products said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available – seven percentage points higher than the EU average (63 per cent).
  • 85 per cent of French respondents said they preferred to access online content through authorised platforms, as compared to the EU average of 83 per cent.
  • 15 per cent admitted to have downloaded or streamed from illegal sources, five percentage points higher than the EU average, and 71 per cent of those who had accessed copyright-protected online content illegally said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available, exactly in line with the EU average.

Germany

  • According to the survey, 98 per cent of German respondents agreed that protecting IP is important because inventors, creators and performing artists can protect their rights and be paid for their work, one percentage point higher than the EU average.
  • 80 per cent agreed that buying counterfeit products ruins businesses and jobs, two percentage points higher than the EU average.
  • 4 per cent admitted to having bought counterfeit products intentionally, as opposed to 7 per cent across the EU, and 55 per cent of those who admitted to buying counterfeit products said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available – eight percentage points lower than the EU average (63 per cent).
  • 82 per cent of German respondents said they preferred to access online content through authorised platforms, as compared to the EU average of 83 per cent.
  • 7 per cent admitted to have downloaded or streamed from illegal sources, three percentage points lower than the EU average, and 67 per cent of those who had accessed copyright-protected online content illegally said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available, four percentage points lower than the EU average.

Italy

  • According to the survey, 97 per cent of Italian respondents agreed that protecting IP is important because inventors, creators and performing artists can protect their rights and be paid for their work, in line with the EU average.
  • 91 per cent agreed that buying counterfeit products ruins businesses and jobs, 13 percentage points higher than the EU average.
  • 7 per cent admitted to having bought counterfeit products intentionally, exactly in line with the EU average, and 48 per cent of those who admitted to buying counterfeit products said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available – 15 percentage points lower than the EU average (63 per cent).
  • 83 per cent of Italian respondents said they preferred to access online content through authorised platforms, exactly in line with the EU average.
  • 7 per cent admitted to have downloaded or streamed from illegal sources, three percentage points lower than the EU average, and 67 per cent of those who had accessed copyright-protected online content illegally said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available, four percentage points lower than the EU average.

Spain

  • According to the survey, 96 per cent of Spanish respondents agreed that protecting IP is important because inventors, creators and performing artists can protect their rights and be paid for their work, one percentage point lower than the EU average.
  • 75 per cent agreed that buying counterfeit products ruins businesses and jobs, three percentage points lower than the EU average. 11 per cent admitted to having bought counterfeit products intentionally, four percentage points higher than the EU average, and 70 per cent of those who admitted to buying counterfeit products said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available – seven percentage points higher than the EU average (63 per cent).
  • 87 per cent of Spanish respondents said they preferred to access online content through authorised platforms, five percentage points higher than the EU average.
  • 16 per cent admitted to have downloaded or streamed from illegal sources, six percentage points higher than the EU average, and 77 per cent of those who had accessed copyright-protected online content illegally said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available, six percentage points higher than the EU average.

UK

  • According to the survey, 97 per cent of UK respondents agreed that protecting IP is important because inventors, creators and performing artists can protect their rights and be paid for their work, exactly in line with the EU average.
  • 79 per cent agreed that buying counterfeit products ruins businesses and jobs, one percentage point higher than the EU average.
  • 5 per cent admitted to having bought counterfeit products intentionally, two percentage points lower than the EU average, and 68 per cent of those who admitted to buying counterfeit products said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available – five percentage points higher than the EU average (63 per cent).
  • 82 per cent of UK respondents said they preferred to access online content through authorised platforms, one percentage point lower than the EU average.
  • 8 per cent admitted to have downloaded or streamed from illegal sources, two percentage points lower than the EU average, and 76 per cent of those who had accessed copyright-protected online content illegally said they would stop if affordable alternatives were available, five percentage points higher than the EU average.

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