Film and TV remain the most downloaded content by online pirates but public attitudes are shifting against copyright infringement, according to new research.

An online survey of 2,500 consumers, conducted by UK law firm Wiggin, showed that most people agree that copyright is important and infringement should be prevented.  

The Digital Entertainment Survey 2013 reported that 68% of those surveyed agreed that it is important to protect creative industries from piracy, up from 55% in 2010.

Although piracy persists, there is an increased recognition that internet users are able to secure all the content they need legally – 62% of respondents, up from 58%.

Films and television are the most affected content types named in the research, followed by music, software, e-books, games and magazines.


The report suggested that an effective measure to stop people infringing copyright online is for their ISP to send them a letter stating that actions might be taken against them, with 59% of pirates saying they are likely to stop as a result.

A total of 37% of pirates said they would stop infringing copyright if the website they used was blocked by their ISP, while 36% of illegal downloaders would pay on a legitimate site if an infringing site was blocked.

The role that search engines play in enabling such content to be found online – and the role they could play in preventing copyright infringement – was underlined in the survey as 65% of pirates regularly use search engines to locate illegal copies.

Identity theft

The survey also highlighted that usage of pirate sites comes with risks.

A total of 10% of respondents have been the victim of online identity theft as a result of using pirate site while 21% encountered problems with viruses or malware obtained through the use of such websites.


The research also showed that tablet ownership has almost doubled since last year and now 33% own a tablet PC (up from 18% in 2012) while 68% own a smartphone (+4%).

While smartphones are used frequently for communication and social networking, tablets are proving a more popular device for watching video content, and a higher penetration of people are watching video on a tablet (15%) than on a smartphone (12%).

Smart TVs

In addition, Smart TVs that offers apps and media content via an internet-connected portal are increasingly arriving in consumer homes.

Currently, 23% claim to own a smart TV – up from 21% in 2012 – and a further 37% expressed interest in buying one in the near future, driven by catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer and online subscription services such as Netflix and LoveFilm.

The main uses for a smart TV among current owners was listed as:

  • Watch live TV programmes (89%)
  • Watch catch-up TV (87%)
  • Watch user-generated videos (76%)
  • General website browsing (71%)
  • Access news websites (69%)
  • Access social networks (62%)
  • Buy goods/services online (58%)
  • Music streaming (58%)
  • Watch pay-per-view movies (58%)
  • Use online film/TV subs services (55%)
  • Skype (52%)
  • Use photo-sharing websites (46%)