Skip to navigation
Latest News

UK surfers struggle to identify pirated content


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 20 Nov 2012 at 11:52

UK internet users can't tell the difference between legal content and illegal content online, according to research from Ofcom.

The research forms part of Ofcom's planning for Digital Economy Act (DEA) enforcement, after publishing a draft code of conduct for the new rules - which will require major ISPs to send letters to alleged pirates and to explain where they can find licensed content on the internet.

Repeat offenders would be subject to sanctions, including possible web restrictions, but the Ofcom research suggests that the industry needs to better educate confused consumers, finding 47% of users couldn't "confidently identify whether the online content they download, stream or share is legal or not".

With letters due to start being sent out over piracy allegations from March 2014, Ofcom's findings also highlighted that downloaders would probably ignore letters telling them to stop.

Only one in six would stop after a first letter, Ofcom said. Sanctions would only kick in after three letters.

However, one in four infringers said they would be encouraged to stop pirating if cheaper legal services were available, with one in three saying they'd buy more if what they wanted was available from a legal source.

Money motivations

The researchers said one in six respondents believed they had downloaded illegal content, and confirmed the motivations behind it, with 54% of respondents saying they pirated "because it is free".

Other respondents said they liked non-legal services because they were quick, easy and enabled them to try before they buy.

The report echoed what consumer rights campaigners have long argued, namely that lack of choice and high prices are pushing consumers to illegal sources.

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

One other thing is to decrease the use of DRM or make it easier where it is necessary.

For example, I can't use lovefilm on my phone, if I download a film on iTunes I can't use it on my XBMC devices or phone or sky go which has a 2 device limit with 1 change 30 days and no rooted devices.

By tech3475 on 20 Nov 2012

Also, give us decent quality. I'm damned if I'm going to pay the same price for a lossy MP3 or AAC album as I am for a full quality CD. Why can't anywhere sell a decent range of FLACs?

By edgayton on 20 Nov 2012

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.



Most Commented News Stories
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest ReviewsSubscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Real World Computing


Sponsored Links

Your email:

Your password:

remember me


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.