UK Study Shows 96 Percent of Downloaders Do It Illegally

UK Study Shows 96 Percent of Downloaders Do It Illegally
Look at all those industry reports out there and you’ll find the general consensus that CD sales are down, vinyl is up and so too are digital sales. However, somewhere in there are also a whole lot of people downloading music the old-fashioned way — illegally.

According to a new UK study commissioned by British Music Rights, 96 percent of the 1,100 14- to 24-year-olds polled admitted to downloading illegally, with an average of more than 800 illegally copied tracks each on their MP3 players. Also, half of those surveyed shared all the music on their hard drive with other freeloaders online, which under the newly proposed Canadian copyright laws would mean they could face, like, a gazillion dollars in fines.

Here’s what some music industry bigwig said about the results: "I was one of those people who went around the back of the bike shed with songs I had taped off the radio the night before. But this totally dwarfs that, and anything we expected.”

To fill your head with some more percentages and numbers, the study also found the average digital music player carries 1,700 songs, which means that in the 18- to 24-year-old age group 48 percent of the collection is illegal. With those aged 14 to 17, 89 percent is copied illegally. As well, nearly two-thirds of the lawbreakers copied CDs from friends.

So far the most popular solution by British Music Rights to help curb all this criminal activity is to persuade internet service providers to add a new monthly fee to each subscriber’s broadband package. Here in Canada, the Songwriters' Association of Canada (SAC) has tabled a similar proposal. So, if this ever actually went into law, legal downloaders would be paying to download songs twice. Nice.