A survey has found that 82% of Hong Kong internet users would be likely to stop illegal file-sharing after receiving a warning from their internet service providers (ISPs).

The survey, by the International Federation Against Copyright Theft – Greater China (IFACT-GC), also found that 57% of participants were supportive of the implementation of a graduated response programme in Hong Kong. However, it also found that 60% of respondents had already shared unauthorised content such as movies, TV programmes, music and games.

A graduated response programme, which is being adopted in the UK and France, involves ISPs sending educational notices to subscribers engaging in illegal sharing, including the possible termination of their internet access.

“Distributing content without the consent of the creators is illegal and that’s akin to theft,” said Mike Ellis, Motion Picture Association’s president & managing director of the Asia-Pacific Region.

“It is heartening to note that most people would stop if warned once – they know that what they are doing is wrong. We have seen the same results in other countries. For example in New Zealand, more than 70% of survey respondents stated they would stop file-sharing if warned by their ISP.”

The study was conducted by the Hong Kong Transition Project of the Hong Kong Baptist University between October 17 and 19 last year and surveyed 1,000 respondents. The results were released by IFACT-GC on World Intellectual Property Day (April 26).

Responding to the findings of the survey, Hong Kong industry organisations the Motion Picture Industry Association and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Hong Kong called on the government to take action to protect their respective industries.

“Our box office revenue has been seriously affected by illegal filesharing activities over the past few years,” said MPIA CEO Brian Chung. “These unauthorised activities are disincentives to investment in the industry and will also lead to a drain of local creative talents.”