Spotify and Netflix drive online piracy to record low
Internet streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix have resulted in online piracy falling to its lowest rate in years, an official report claims.
Research commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is tasked with fighting copyright infringement, found that 15pc of internet users illegally accessed films, music and other material between March and May.
This is down from 18pc a year ago and was the lowest recorded rate in the five years the study has been carried out.
Meanwhile, 44pc of internet users are using exclusively legal means, up from 39pc at the end of 2015. The remaining 31pc did not download or stream any online content in the three-month period. The Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville Rolfe, said “consumers appear to be turning towards legitimate streaming en masse”.
On-demand internet services, which allow subscribers unlimited access to a catalogue of music or videos and films for a monthly fee or via an advertising-funded model, have been accused of diluting industry revenues , and artists including Taylor Swift have restricted access on some platforms.
But the IPO’s report, carried out by research group Kantar Media, suggested a strong link between the rise of such services and falling piracy. 80pc of music listeners now use exclusively legal means, up from 74pc a year ago, and 31pc of all internet users listen to streaming services, up from 27pc.
The research showed that those using peer-to-peer file-sharing services – a popular way to pirate material – fell from 12pc to 10pc of all those who download or stream media.
“Online copyright infringement has been a running sore for the UK's creative industries for far too long. I am extremely pleased to see that there has been a decline in infringement and that consumers appear to be turning towards legitimate streaming en masse,” Baroness Rolfe said.
“There is however more to do. This Government is committed to fighting against IP theft in all its forms and supporting the hard work of our creative industries. I am pleased that we are joining forces internationally to improve our knowledge of online infringement."
The report showed that while spending on music and films is rising, spending on video games and TV shows is falling.