Australia awash with illegal digital downloads, study finds

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 23 July 2015

Almost half of Australia's digital users regularly download pirated films, TV shows and music, according to a government survey.

Respondents said illegal downloads would be reduced if legal content was cheaper (39%), more easily available (38%), and available as soon as it is released elsewhere (36%).

In comparison, a fifth of British digital users illegally downloaded at least one digital file, found the recent study, which is based on UK Government research undertaken since 2012.

The survey of 2,630 Australians found at least 43% of online consumers had infringed streamed video copyright. (Just over a quarter of all Australian Internet users are online consumers.)

Some 48% of those surveyed said they illegally downloaded at least one film during the three months from March to May 2015.

However, three-quarters of people who pirate also pay for some content, according to the report, commissioned by the Department of Communications.

"A number of strategies had a greater likelihood of motivating those consuming a mixture of legal and illegal content than those consuming only illegal content: everything they want being available legally; everything they want being available legally as soon as it is available elsewhere; and availability of a subscription service," said the piracy study.

The research comes after the Australian Government amended the Copyright Act 1986 as part of a crackdown on overseas websites that stream pirated TV shows and movies.