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1 in 10 Europeans admit to having downloaded something illegally in the past year. As with most issues, the exact numbers vary greatly from country to country (for example, almost one third of people in Great Britain admit to having engaged in some form of digital piracy). There is also a great deal of variety between age groups, with over one in four young people (aged 15-24) downloading illegally.

The music, film, and game industries argue that digital piracy costs billions of euros each year. However, some studies argue that illegal downloading hasn’t harmed publishers as much as is claimed, and that piracy drives innovation and encourages new business models (such as streaming services).

As part of our Debating Europe Schools series, we’ve been taking questions from students from across Europe to policymakers and experts for them to answer. This week, we’re looking at piracy, privacy, and cybersecurity.

Curious to know more about attitudes towards illegal downloading in Europe? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

First up, we had a comment from Eduard, who thought that digital streaming services, such as Spotify, Xbox Music, and the upcoming Apple Music, held the solution to the problem of digital piracy.

To get a reaction, we put Eduard’s comment to Peter Tschmuck, Professor for Culture Institutions Studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. How would he respond to Eduard?

Next, we had a comment from Paul, who said he had always considered the internet an essentially private system.

We put this comment to Tom Chothia, Senior Lecturer in Computer Security at the University of Birmingham. Tom Chothia’s research includes a study concluding that the behaviour of most illegal downloaders is ‘being tracked’ by copyright-enforcement organisations, security firms, and research labs. So we asked him: how private is the internet?

What would save the music industry from digital piracy? Are streaming services like Spotify the answer? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – GotCredit


23 comments Post a commentComment

What do YOU think?

  1. Katerina Kyriazi

    Nothing whatsoever that ship has sailed. They should concentrate on revenue from live shows and merchandise etc

  2. George Titkov

    Perhaps it’s better to ask ourselves this: What would save music from the music industry. Because music is art, and the music industry is, well, an industry. Profits first.

  3. Nando Aidos

    Who is the music industry?
    The composers? The singers? The players? Or the CD printers who are trying to grab all the revenues and profits?
    Because if it is the latter, I honestly do not care!

  4. nando

    Who is the “music industry”?
    The composers? The singers? The players? Then let us protect them!
    Or the CD printers who are trying to grab all the revenues and profits?
    Because if it is the latter, I honestly do not care!

  5. ironworker

    It’s the other way around, “What would save the digital “piracy” from music industry ?” :) Now, on a bit serious terms, Live Performances will save the music and not necessary the “Industry” or Media Distribution Channels.

  6. Myron Kanakis

    piracy is helping music to get spread .If it is spread,it brings profits from the ads .Market had decide.Live piracy alone ,you fascist burreaucrats from eu

  7. EU reform- proactive

    Part of a progressive Europe must become a global leader in innovation and not a serf and convenient US market- consuming smart products from the Californian Silicon boys & Wall Street financiers- reducing us to counting beans.

    If only 50% of the present (bloated) EU suzerain budget of 141 billion Euros annually could be “diverted”- from the political “back slapping EU leadership” clique- but rather invested to fund a “European Silicon Valley” equivalent- can change tech users & followers into global tech leaders over time.
    http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/18/why-silicon-valley-cant-find-europe/

    Needed is a courage’s breakaway faction of the “happiest 14 “new” sovereign EU Members” to agree & pool their (wasted) EU contributions to fund such venture! It would herald a new dawn in Europe. We need to invest in innovation- not in bureaucrats, treaty writers & cheek slapping politicians.

    That could fix digital US superiority & piracy- be it in music, in Uber taxis & can counter US spying & stealing Europe’s best industrial ideas . No TTIP until we are on an equal tech level!

  8. Rui Duarte

    Private copy is NOT piracy. Piracy is someone SELLING the work of others as ones’ own, like Carla Bruni passing as a singer while hiring an anonymous voice.. THAT! is piracy.

  9. Rui Duarte

    Bernardo Sassetti deu uma entrevista em que explicava porque a pirataria não o incomodava. Subscrevo 100%.

  10. Aleksandros Ho Megas

    Intellectual property is violence. When I buy a book, music CD, or a computer game, it is my property, and I can do with my property whatever I want. Destroy it, gift it, copy it…

  11. Vinko Rajic

    Simple . All EU citizens should have a internet ID card. People that connect internet using identity would be able to download .

  12. Marcel

    Copyright should be drastically reduced. And after 15-20 years max, everything should go to the public domain. I could not care less about large greedy record labels who cry about ‘illegal’ downloading pretending that its the small recording artist that loses, when in reality it is the greedy record labels who are denied excessive revenue.

    No surprise however that the EU is backing the large record labels against ordinary people, that is just par for the course.

    Oh, and downloading isn’t an illegal activity.

    • Ott Toomet

      Agree, part of the response should be to make legal access easier. 70 years after authors death seems a bit too much, as are the rules about playing radio in public places, using popular book characters in school plays etc. I think the legal system de-legitimizes itself by interfering that much with what most people considers to be fair use.

  13. Adrian Limbidis

    Copyright is FINISHED.
    Give it up corporate stooges the free net cannot be stopped.
    Murika and their RIAA / MPAA tried and tried.

    Piratebay is still up and it will FOREVER be up.

  14. Alexander Blums

    A lot of people would be willing to pay for digital content, but with lots of services being restricted to certain geographic regions it’s no surprise that people turn to piracy. When Spotify first launched in Latvia, a lot of people who previously pirated music online switched to the streaming service. Same thing goes for the movie industry – when Netflix finally becomes available here, I think we’ll see a steady decrease of people pirating tv shows and movies.

    Also I think will will see a shift towards digital content being paid for by advertisements. That way content creators have a better chance of generating revenue from people who are used to consuming digital content for free.

  15. Joanna

    People download illegal copies because they cannot afford / don’t want to pay €15 for an album they don’t know if they will like it. But after listening to album or watching a movie you could much easier convince them to donate a relatively small amount (1-10€ depending on income) as a gratification to the artists. I do believe that we need an easy and friendly online payment system in the EU – something as easy as PayPal but much more reliable and under European banking regulations.

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