70% of public find piracy OK

A study on whether some law breaking is socially acceptable has revealed that 70 per cent believe downloading illicit material from the Internet is acceptable. Three out four, however, felt it was completely unacceptable to then sell that product on for profit.

The study, published by the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit, questioned participants on morals and ethics, and included discussion on which laws they believe are socially acceptable to break.

In the piracy section respondents were asked to rate, on a scale from 1 to 10, whether they thought unauthorised downloading for personal use is a socially acceptable act. The researchers found that 7 out of 10 of those questioned felt, to a greater or lesser degree, that it is socially acceptable. 15-20 per cent of the total group believed that piracy is totally acceptable.

A minority of just over 30 per cent of the respondents voted at the very bottom of the response scale, an indication that they feel piracy is completely unacceptable.

Despite the never-ending anti-piracy campaigns of the last decade, the attitudes of the public donít seem to have changed much. When questioned for a 1997 study on whether it was acceptable to use pirate software, the same proportion Ė 3 out of 10 Ė said the activity was unacceptable.