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Study: Illegal Copying May Prove Hard to Beat

24 Jan, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Consumer indifference to illegal copying of copyrighted content could be a threat to the growth of a legal business.

A new study by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group found that 32 million people in the United States above the age of 12 have downloaded or ripped from a DVD a full-length movie, including 20 million in the past month.

Of that group, 80% only used file-sharing sites and 40% considered illegally downloading of copyrighted movies from the Internet to be a “very serious offense.” By comparison, 78% of respondents said stealing a DVD from a store was a serious offense.

The study found the typical movie downloader to be a 29-year-old male (37% of downloaders are female) who has 16 movies stored on his PC.

The study labeled the personal computer the “life-hub” of a downloader's video entertainment, with 56% having watched a DVD on their PC at some point (29% last month) and 25% having watched a streamed TV show.

“There is a Robin Hood effect — most people perceive celebrities and studios to be rich already and as a result don't think of movie downloading as a big deal,” said Kaan Yigit, study director. “The current crop of download-to-own movie services and the new ones coming into the market will need to offer greater flexibility of use, selection and low prices to convert the current users to their services — otherwise file sharing will continue to thrive.”

A spokesperson from the Motion Pictures Association of America was not immediately available for comment.

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