Australia’s Attorney-General released results of its 2022 survey on online copyright infringement. Since 2015, the Australian Government has commissioned annual surveys to measure the extent of changes in the consumption of online copyright content; measuring Australian internet users’ activities across several core content types.
Movies, TV programs, music, video games, and live sport) and attitudes were surveyed. Of those who encountered blocked sites, 60% gave up (about the same as 2021’s 59%), while 14% sought legal access (down slightly from 2021’s 18%).
This survey found that 11% of all respondents paid a small fee to access one or more subscription services through a shared or unknown account. 26% of all respondents had allowed someone outside their household to use their login details to access paid subscription services for at least one content type.
Netflix expects some subscriber loss due to changes in password sharing policy announced in February 2023, to charge consumers for shared accounts or to ban sharing altogether depending on their subscription level. Some of these subscribers will pay. Others will leave Netflix for other services or to illegal sources.
Results of the survey published in February 2023 found piracy of film and television content trending downward between 2015 and 2019, relatively flat through 2021, and rising in 2022. The only category that declined was video games.
Infringing consumption of TV and movies
Consumption of video programming through illegal means was popular with Australian consumers. The survey found that about a quarter of consumers surveyed watched movies and films through illegal means.
For TV programming, it was 22 percent, which has been on the rise for several years. Live sports was consumed unlawfully by 26% of survey respondants: mostly males between 16 and 44 years of age.
For the Consumer Survey and further details
Consumer Survey on Online Copyright Infringement 2022. Links to Report, research data, presentation. February 10, 2023. Office of the Attorney-General, Government of Australia.
Survey reveals latest download on digital content. Press release, February 10, 2023. Office of the Attorney-General, Government of Australia.
For past survey findings (2015 to 2021), visit Past annual consumer surveys on online copyright infringement.
Copyright enforcement review
A review of Australia’s copyright enforcement regime is also currently underway, to ensure copyright enforcement mechanisms remain appropriate, effective and proportionate. The 12-week consultation period ends on March 7, 2023.
Why it matters
This is a timely measure of infringing use of media content in Australia. In retrospect, the COVID pandemic appears to have relatively little impact on overall consumption trends.
This observation is borne out by the 2022 survey
- A substantial proportion of the Australian community continue to report consuming at least some online content in the last three months. 72% reported consuming at least one of music, movies / films, tv programs, video games or live sport online in the three months prior to the survey (April-June 2022). This was similar to 71% in 2021 and 75% in 2020.
- 39% of respondents who had consumed online content in the 2022 survey had done so in at least one way likely to be unlawful (‘infringers’), up from 30% in 2021 and 34% in 2020. 4% were classified as infringers only because they had used the newly included paid credential sharing consumption method.
- Streaming is the dominant method of consuming content across all major content types. Of the respondents who consume online content, almost all consume at least some by streaming – 70% of all respondents in 2022 (compared to 68% in 2021 and 71% in 2020).