Europe's online source of news, data & analysis for professionals involved in packaged media and new delivery technologies

84% of content consumed in Spain illegally accessed; half the people at it.

A record-breaking 84% of all online content acquired in Spain is pirated. The number of Spaniards illegally accessing digital content now exceeds 51%. Last year, the value of online pirated content topped €16.1 billion - a 6.5% increase over 2012. These are some of the findings of the latest research Piracy Observatory and Digital Contents Consumption Habits, a remarkably detailed survey carried out by market research company Gfk and commissioned by industry group La Coalición (the Coalition of Creators and Content Industries).

This year's survey probed users' knowledge of measures aimed at fighting digital piracy and their efficiency. Internet users consider that the two most efficient measures would be blocking access to websites offering illegal content (68.2%) and punishing operators and ISPs (60.2%). Then follow social awareness campaigns (53.2%), imposing fines (52.5%) and restricting the use of Internet to recalcitrant downloaders (48%).

In 2013, out of 3.2 billion illegal downloads - a rise of 4.6% over 2012 - music accounted for 27% valued at €6.06bn, films 43% (€3.8bn), books 21% (€1.8bn) and video games 9% (€4.4bn). While music showed a slight decrease in the level of piracy, all other genres recorded an increase, with books suffering the sharpest rise - triple in value over 2012. The research claims piracy causes an overall profit loss of over €1.3bn to content industries - an increase of 8.6% over 2012.

Over 46% of Internet users who access illegal content look for it on search engines; Google is the most solicited search engine, accounting for 97.5% of use.

Seven out of ten (73%) Spanish internet users said they illegally downloaded content to avoid paying for it. Half of them said they began downloading illegally in response to a 21% tax on cultural goods imposed in 2012, which the government reduced to 10% in January of this year after protests from artists and cultural professionals.

Regarding "practical reasons" for downloading, 59% access pirate content because it is quick and easy, and what concerned especially La Coalici?n is that more than 20% of users believe that accessing pirate content does no harm to the creative industry. Remarkably, 77% declare to know there could be legal consequences for downloading copyrighted content, but so far "nothing happens."

Equally remarkable, note the research, is that 60% of Internet users declare that they would watch content that includes advertising if that is a way to access for free, legally. If there would be no other way than paying for it, 2 in 10 respondents would do so.

La Coalición claims piracy in Spain "causes tremendous economic losses to the content industries, reduces the public purse revenues and destroys jobs in production and distribution of music, books, films and video games." The industry lobby group calculated that during 2013, 25,720 jobs were not created and the state was shortchanged of €526.2m - 6.4% more than in 2012 - as this illegal economic activity does not pay personal income tax (Spanish IRPF), VAT or Social Security contributions.

"Section Two of the Intellectual Property Commission (IPC) has failed to comply with the purpose for which it was created," laments Carlota Navarrete, Managing Director of La Coalición. "I regret that the results obtained up to date in the fight against piracy are so terribly poor."

During Section Two's first year in operation, La Coalición submitted 145 files to the Commission seeking action against websites or services that illicitly provided copyrighted content. The IPC still has 64 of those files pending proceeding. Out of the remaining submissions, content has been removed voluntarily upon notification from the Commission, and only in a few cases it issued a formal ruling to do so.

For the content industries, it translated into the withdrawal of 50 music albums, 67 films, 14 books, 21 video games and 4 episodes of TV series within a universe - paltry figures in view of the 3.2 billion illegal downloads. To make matters worse, it takes on average 400 days to initiate a filing procedure, much too slow in the Internet environment where immediacy is the rule.

In view of the poor results of the fight against online access to copyrighted content, La Coalición is calling on the Spanish government and all political parties to ensure that the draft parliamentary bill before the Congress and the Senate aimed at amending the Intellectual Property Law can offer "really effective measures to restrain illegal downloads."

Billboard reports that Spain's Ministry of Culture dismissed the report as a "rough opinion study commissioned by interested parties."

Story filed 13.04.14

Bookmark and Share

Article Comments

comments powered by Disqus