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FACT: People who illegally download movies are also happy to pay

James Temperton
7 May 2014
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
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Film and movie pirates are a "different breed" according to new academic research

Music and movie pirates behave completely differently, with people who steal films far more likely to pay for legitimate copies as well.

People who illegally download films are also far more likely to cut back their spending on legal movies compared to those who steal music.

The results come from a survey of over 6,000 people, with researchers from Portsmouth Business School analysing the results. They also found that film pirates were more likely to be male than music pirates and also more likely to stop illegally downloading movies if they thought it was harming the film industry.

Dr Joe Cox, an economist at the University of Portsmouth, said that the industry should take note of the findings:

"These findings are important from a policy perspective, because they suggest campaigns that emphasise the harmful effects on the movie industry of piracy are much more likely to be effective than similar campaigns focusing on the music industry."

Researchers surveyed 6,100 Finnish people aged seven to 84 and found that the average person had illegally downloaded 2,900 songs and 90 movies. Dr Cox claimed it was "no surprise" that the most prolific film pirates were younger men:

"They have the skills, the motivation and the equipment to between them to steal large volumes of music tracks and movies every month.”

Yet movie and film pirates were very different people, according to the research:

“One of the reasons movie pirates are a different breed is downloading and file-sharing films is much more technologically demanding," Dr Cox said.

"It requires faster internet speeds, greater digital storage capabilities and access to a wider range of devices for playback than pirating music, which has now become relatively simple, fast and cheap.”

The research revealed that the key motivation for pirating films and music was to save money, with access to material not on general release also a common reason.

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