EUIPO: Access to pirated media content trends downward

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The EU Intellectual Property Office reported that overall access to pirated content was down by half, between January 2017 and December 2020; across the EU’s 27 member states, including the UK.  Film and TV piracy were down 68% and 41% respectively.  Streaming accounted for about 80% of access during the study period.  Music piracy was reportedly down by more than 80%.

According to the EUIPO report, the Covid pandemic had only a temporary impact.  “Except for a temporary increase in film piracy in the spring of 2020, the decline continued during the COVID pandemic: piracy decreased by 20% in 2018, by 6% in 2019 and by 34% in 2020,” the report said.

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It updates an earlier study

This report updates the EUIPO’s first study of online copyright infringement in 2019, using data on access to websites providing pirated films, TV programs and music across all European Union (EU) Member States from January 2017 to September 2018.

Access to pirated content in EU28 by content type, 2017-2020. Source: EUIPO / MUSO

The dataset, provided by MUSO, includes over 240 thousand aggregates for a total of 133 billion accesses.  Econometric analysis was used to identify differences between EU member countries, which included per-capita income, income inequality, ease of access to legal alternatives, and, consumer awareness – and the actual availability – of legal alternatives.

Important reading

The report also provides a highly informative opening section that explains European copyright law and its evolution to its present status. It also contains a section that categorizes the universe of modern media content service models that are available to consumers.

It links to the Directive (2019/790) of the European Parliament on copyright in the Digital Single Market and its amending directives, as well as the MAVISE database of (legal) TV channels and on-demand services in 41 European countries and Morocco.

Read the report (European Union Intellectual Property Office Observatory)

Why it matters

While the report sounds an optimistic tone, “The average internet user in the EU accessed pirated content 5.9 times per month in 2020.”

Ominously, the EUIPO reports a positive association between the proportion of young people (aged 15 to 24) in a country’s population and the extent of film piracy.  In other words, the younger, the more likely.

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