Italy study: Piracy incidents up 9%, live sports up 26%; rights-holders nervous

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According to FAPAV, Italy’s Federation for the Protection of Audiovisual and Multimedia Content Industries, piracy of live sports programming was up by 26% over 2021, followed by TV programs, up 20%, and series/fiction, which was up 15%.

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DAZN – in hopes to secure rights to continue distributing live Serie A football matches in Italy for the 2024-2029 period – is one party pushing Italian regulators to minimize illegal access, as DAZN paid €840 million annually for the 2022-2024 period, according to a Reuters report.

Making up 35% of piracy acts, Films were confirmed to be the most pirated category of content at more than 120 million incidents, but film piracy rates are trending downward (-4% vs. 2021; -68% vs. 2016).

The overall incidence of piracy among the adult population remained stable at 42%, but at the same time the number of illegal acts in 2022 was estimated at 345 million, which was 30 million more than in the previous year; representing a 9% increase.

The percentage of adults engaged in illegal consumption was relatively stable but the number of incidents increased. Source: FAPAV

Meanwhile, piracy among adolescents aged 10-14 was found to be decreasing.  During 2022, 47% in that age group committed at least one act of audiovisual piracy, but compared to 2021, it was down by 4 percentage points; less than 25 million incidents. By comparison, it was over 31 million in 2018.  The IPSOS survey found that 76% of teenage pirates were aware that piracy is a crime.

Deterrence is working

One form of deterrence is site blocking: 40% of adult pirates encountered a blocked site at least once and among them, half of them turned to legal alternatives (49%, which was up by 6 percent in 2022 compared with 2021).

Consumer education also seems to be working.  81% of those who consume content illegally are aware that piracy is a crime.  55% of them believe it is likely that the crime of piracy will be discovered and punished.

There is still work to do: 59% of pirates are not aware that, due to piracy, workers in the audiovisual industry risk losing their jobs.

Legislation work-in-progress

At the FAPAV event, there also was discussion of an anti-piracy bill which cleared Italy’s Chamber of Deputies in March 2023 by unanimous approval and is now under discussion in the Senate of the Republic.  Once it becomes law, the bill would confer new powers on the Communications Guarantees Authority that include enforcement of timely responses, collaboration with law enforcement, consumer education.  Convicted pirates would be subject to fines and penalties, and potential prison terms.

The study was conducted on behalf of FAPAV by IPSOS, and was presented at an event in Rome organized by FAPAV, States General of the fight against piracy between legality, security and artificial intelligence. Content industries, cultural consumption and illicit behavior.”

Further reading

FAPAV/IPSOS 2022 Survey. Press release. June 28, 2023. FAPAV

DAZN urges Italy to introduce tougher rues to fight TV piracy. Article. June 28, 2023. Reuters

Italy: Senate to vote on anti-piracy bill that gives 30 minutes to respond to pirates.  Article. March 26, 2023. Piracy Monitor

Why it matters

“The research shows how the phenomenon of piracy in our country is constantly evolving, exploiting technological development also for illicit purposes, as shown by the recent debate on the relationship between copyright and artificial intelligence,” said Federico Bagnoli Rossi, President of FAPAV. Also this year’s numbers stimulate us, as FAPAV, to confirm our commitment to support the audiovisual and multimedia content industries and to work with the institutions – already very sensitive to the subject – for the definition and application of new preventive tools to effectively combat piracy.

“In addition to the necessary enforcement actions and the approval of the new anti-piracy law, which we hope can be dismissed very closely, as a Federation we continue to promote awareness-raising activities and education campaigns in support of legality.

“We need to work synergistically to promote on the one hand the wide legal offer of audiovisual content, on the other to stem the phenomenon of piracy which, as evidenced by the data presented this morning, continues to represent a serious brake on the industrial and economic development of our country,” concluded Mr. Bagnoli Rossi.


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