Study: A Majority of Americans Would Support Moderate Piracy Enforcement…

Maybe the biggest mistake was declaring war on user piracy in the first place. Because the ‘enemy,’ ie, the file-swapping music fan, is typically a casual offender.  And, most Americans (swapping or not) seem very receptive to more moderate enforcement and blocking responses.

That’s the takeaway from a fairly detailed study on ‘Copy Culture‘ just published by Columbia University’s American Assembly, one that surveyed thousands of Americans on a broad number of media acquisition behaviors and attitudes (Germans were also interviewed on a separate track).  Throughout, the resounding conclusion was that most music and media fans are not hoarding large collections, appear comfortable with some level of monitoring, and are receptive to modest enforcement measures.

hand-left January 14, 2013: After Six Strikes, Verizon Will ‘Throttle’ Infringing Accounts for 2-3 Days…

For starters, most are swapping amongst themselves or close family members and friends.  Indeed, there’s a substantial cliff after these close-knit swaps.

swapping_study_2013_1

Here’s another surprise: a majority (52%) of Americans feel that illegal downloading should be met with some sort of penalty.  Predictably, that number drops substantially among the younger, 18-27 set (to 37%), according to the report.

copyculture_2

Of course, virtually no one feels comfortable with the take-no-prisoner, $150,000-per-infringement approach championed by the RIAA.  But large numbers seem comfortable with modest fines…

copyculture_4

Most favored warnings and smaller fines, with some supporting throttled speeds, but what about blocking content entirely?  Seems like a dirty word, but the researchers only provoked strong resistance when terms like ‘government‘ or ‘censorship‘ entered the picture.  Ya know, those SOPA trigger words that stirred the internet masses to action…

copyculture_3

The full study is here.

53 Responses

  1. Ben
    Ben

    How can you say that “most” support throttled speeds? Am I misreading that graph, or are you purporting that 28% > 50%?

    Reply
    • paul
      paul

      @Ben
      Thanks for noticing that. Just a sentence that needed tightening really. What I meant was most (ie, >50%) support warnings and fines, with significant numbers (and <50%) supporting throttling.
      /paul

      Reply
  2. Visitor
    Visitor

    AWESOME numbers!
    Excuse me for yelling, but this is outstanding!
    More than 80% think that uploading is wrong!
    Now we know that the vast majority of Americans would vote yes to SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, if they had the chance.
    This is the worst news for Google and the Piracy Industry, ever.
    Also great to see a clear majority agree on warnings and fines as the way to go.

    Reply
    • jw
      jw

      >> Now we know that the vast majority of Americans would vote yes to SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, if they had the chance.
      I see nothing in this data that indicates that.

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        Of course you don’t, but that’s your problem.
        People know that piracy costs them billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands jobs, and they just don’t want it.
        Google and the Piracy Industry failed miserably.
        Get over it.

        Reply
        • jw
          jw

          Troll.
          For posterity, here’s what the report actually says…
          In the US 61% of Internet users support a soft requirement that web services like Facebook and Dropbox “try to screen user activity and remove pirated files.” Support falls slightly for stronger requirements that ISPs and search engines block access to pirated music and videos (58% for ISPs; 53% for search engines).
          Support drops to 40% if the government is involved and to 33% if the word “censorship” is used.

          Reply
  3. Visitor
    Visitor

    “the researchers only provoked strong resistance when terms like ‘government’ or ‘censorship’ entered the picture”
    Not sure why they would use the term ‘censorship’, nobody’s trying to censor anything.
    “Ya know, those SOPA trigger words that stirred the internet masses to action…”
    Fortunately, we now know that the ‘internet masses’ consist of less than 20% of the population. 🙂
    Ouch, Google…

    Reply
  4. Casey
    Casey

    The majority of Americans don’t know what is piracy and what isn’t.

    The last time I talked so someone about piracy, they were convinced piracy is when you copy Xbox 360 games. Not movies. Not music. Just games. You can download/upload all the music and movies you want… you just can’t charge for the copies. Americans are incompetent when it comes to piracy.

    Reply
    • Tod dem Staat
      Tod dem Staat

      So.. what is piracy?
      ..And aren’t the majority of Americans already supporting piracy enforcement, whether they like it or not, through taxation and higher prices?

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “The majority of Americans don’t know what is piracy and what isn’t”
      Fortunately, that doesn’t matter since they were asked whether and how a number of specific piracy related crimes should be punished.
      There’s no way you can weasel yourself out of this — people just don’t agree with Google and the Piracy Industry.
      Piracy is theft, it costs billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands jobs, and the vast majority of Americans don’t want it.

      Reply
      • Casey
        Casey

        Well firstly, it does not cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Let’s put the BS aside.
        Secondly, I am not pro-piracy nor have I ever been.
        Thirdly, surveys are not credible. No doubt in the next couple months TorrentFreak will post a survey saying the majority of Americans think Piracy should be legal without punishment. That survey will be equally as credible.

        Finally, even if this survey was 100% accurate with what people truly believe, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t know what piracy is and why it occurs, you cannot effectively have an opinion. People with limited knowledge on a subject and making decisions and voicing opinions based on that limited knowledge is one of the reasons our country has become such as mess.

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          “[piracy] does not cost hundreds of thousands of job”
          According to Unesco, 10 billion Euros and 185,000 jobs were lost in 2008 because of piracy in the EU.
          Source:
          http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=40884&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
          According to Institute for Policy Innovation, $58 billion and 373,000 jobs were lost in 2007 because of piracy in the US.
          Source:
          Siwek, Stephen E.,The True Cost of Piracy to the U.S. Economy, report for the Institute for Policy Innovation, Oct. 2007.
          “I am not pro-piracy”
          …and the Pope’s not a catholic… 🙂

          Reply
  5. Visitor
    Visitor

    Maybe this true, but without a baseline it is meaningless. Ask Americans if they think shoplifting should be punishable and I bet 99.9% would say yes. The fact that a huge margin (30%+) of random (ie. not heavy computer users) people effectively think copyright should not be enforced at all, and the majority that do think it should be enforced, a parking ticket kind of fine is enough. Almost NOBODY likes copyright as it is ($150,000 fine). This is really telling.
    With this sort of results I’ll give it 10 years before fair use is expanded to include all non-commericial use in most countries, if copyright exists at all in 20 years. It’s a shame really, but what you can do.

    Reply
    • Tod dem Staat
      Tod dem Staat

      If the existence of copyright was to end in our lifetime, I’d like to believe it would tear down the walls between artists and other innovators. Copyright today, gives artists more reason to work with lawyers than with entrepreneurs. If copyright were to end, protocols for bringing ideas to market might change, but this does not mean that artists will see less opportunities.

      Reply
        • Tod dem Staat
          Tod dem Staat

          Yes, steveh. In simplest terms, I’m anti-copyright. Though, I’m not aware that I’m apart any cult. I try to avoid believing in things that don’t exist (such as unexplainable, mystical shifts in ownership over scarce resources).
          But I ask you.. As an artist, in an environment without copyright, what would you do differently? (And please spare me the tired false dilemma that all artists everywhere would cease to make music.)

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “But I ask you.. As an artist, in an environment without copyright, what would you do differently?”
            I’m not steveh, but I am an artist and this is an important question so I’ll answer anyway:
            I would have to find another job at once, and so would any other non-performing composer/songwriter.
            Contrary to common belief, it takes an insane amount of time to create the songs you really want to hear.

          • Tod dem Staat
            Tod dem Staat

            I appreciate the civility, Visitor. And I agree. Some, but not all, artists, songwriters, composers might have to take up different career paths.
            At the same time, I believe protocols to bringing ideas to market would change, and with this, I believe payment structures would also change. Artists might receive higher one-time/up-front payments for their services, versus the current lower or absent up-front payment with the promise of some kind of future royalties.
            For example, I very much doubt that the common waiter or waitress would accept $2.00 an hour for their services, if they were not to also receive tips. In an environment without tips, the waiter or waitress would most likely bid higher for their services.
            Of course, this is not to say that artists could not profit from their music after it has come to market. The payment structure, here, would also change.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “Artists might receive higher one-time/up-front payments for their services”
            So the songwriter who sells 3 copies to his Mom, and the guy who writes the next Yesterday receive similar up-front fees.
            That will please the hobbyist… 🙂
            I’m not trying to make fun of you, it’s just that people have tried to find better models for centuries and they always end up with… copyright. It’s like democracy — not perfect, but still quite a bit better than the alternatives.
            That does not mean we shouldn’t improve current legislation.
            I, for instance, find it silly that you need to ask Chuck Berry’s grand children for permission until at least 2083 if you want to use two phrases from Beach Boys’ Surfin’ USA.
            So I would personally be in favour of reducing Life+70 to 50.
            Then I could add the line ‘love, love me do! You know I love you’ to my next song… 🙂

          • Tod dem Staat
            Tod dem Staat

            Yes. There is a chance that the two songwriters in your example might receive similar payments. But let’s look beyond stage one. Like most other industries, the individual with a higher level of skill, in this case, the author of Yesterday, might then create more demand for his services, more offers, and at higher rates. At another point in time, these same two songwriters would receive different payments based upon their different histories.
            Your description of the origin of copyright is just incorrect (but I won’t go further into this subject). And the absence of better models, today, is a symptom of the existence of copyright, monopoly privilege, catering to special interest groups and other market distortions, not because other models don’t or cannot exist.
            I’m OK with legislative changes and incremental abolition. Reducing the period of time that the privilege is granted is a starter. Having the rights holders pay for the enforcement (instead of disinterested third parties, taxpayers) is another.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “I’m OK with legislative changes and incremental abolition”
            Well, I wouldn’t use that word if I wanted to be heard.
            Significant chunks of global economy are based on Intellectual Property, and it’s safe to say that copyright is here to stay.
            Stay on the middle of the road if you want influence. Nobody listens to fanatics who want to jail downloaders or abolish copyright…

          • Tod dem Staat
            Tod dem Staat

            Ha.. comment thread fail..
            My thoughts again:
            ..Can’t say I’m a middle of the road kind of guy. And as one, I understand my influence might be limited on this forum. Instead of retiring words like, “abolition,” I’d rather, over time, better explain my conclusions.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “Instead of retiring words like, “abolition,” I’d rather, over time, better explain my conclusions.”
            By all means, your loss. 🙂

          • steveh
            steveh

            You are definitely a participant of a sick cult. You definitely believe in things that don’t exist and in an unachievable and dangerous fantasy.
            How can you achieve an environment without copyright when it is the basis of so much of the modern economy? How would you apply this to designers, software writers, visual artists, architects, filmakers, authors, trademarks etc etc etc.
            Do you believe that only music creators should have to suffer the removal of their copyright rights and not all the other professions where copyright is important? How fair is that?
            And most dangerously you arrogantly pretend that your asinine creed is somehow politically progressive or revolutionary when in fact you would be serving the worst possible corporate interests.
            An example:- I write, produce and record a great tune. Coca Cola hear this and decide to use it in a multi-million dollar advertising campaign. They just take the tune and use it without asking permission. I get to hear of this and complain to Coca Cola, saying “hey you’re using my tune”. They say “who are you? This is our tune – written by our in-house music producer John Doe”.
            It’s blindingly obvious that without any copyright in my work such a case could easily happen.
            Yes copyright can be abused (eg. Monsanto) but in the particular case of music copyright generally helps the SMALL GUY.
            So why the hell do you think it is somehow “progressive” to take rights away from the small guy and present oportunities to nefarious corporations?

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            There is a study on this very site not too long that says that in fact copyright does not benefit the little guy at all. Is that part of the secret anti-art cult conspiracy too?

          • steveh
            steveh

            sorry Casey this forum does not like iphones – I had a short reply to you and it’s posted the original post…

          • Tod dem Staat
            Tod dem Staat

            Art and artists of all kinds existed (and flourished) prior to intellectual property laws. If you’re saying I believe that such times existed, then yes, yes I do. And I highly doubt these times were considered dangerous by any measure.
            Copyright (unnaturally) exists within our modern economy. It is not the basis of it. It hampers progress and brings about an anti-consumer environment.
            Copyright is “important” like monopoly privileges are “important” to special interest groups, businesses, industries, etc. These privileges might seem important to those that are privileged by them, but they hurt those that are on the outside looking in (sometimes this is considered the “little guy”).
            No, I do not believe that only music creators should be stripped of these privileges. I believe that all monopolistic privileges and all intellectual property laws should be brought to an end. This is the only “fair” conclusion that I have come to. And not only fair to the obvious parties, but to the disinterested third parties, the tax payers that have to fund such privileges whether they like it or not and the consumers that face higher, monopoly prices and less choices because of it.
            And, from my responses upon, I don’t believe the common artist will “suffer” by such a removal, at least, no more than any other in an industry undergoing structural changes. I believe, once the uncertainties of such a removal have been tamed, artists (and consumers) will see a net benefit. I don’t wish anyone to suffer. I’m pro-artist and pro-consumer.
            I don’t consider myself politically progressive ..or political at all. I actually despise politics. Political and monopolistic intervention is one of the worst ills of the music industry, today.
            Your Coca-Cola example could exist in an environment without copyright. And there are probably countless examples that it exists in an environment with copyright. Historically, it is more typical that a pattern or idea (in this case, music) is imitated, replicated, etc. after it has already become successful. So I’d love to hear the history of this tune and this artist in your example. But yes, it could happen. But again, I believe protocols to bringing ideas to market might change.. limiting any feeling of exploitation.
            So, without copyright, etc., I believe the “small guy” ..the artist, the consumer.. will all see a net benefit.

          • steveh
            steveh

            Yes you are a believer of a strange and pernicious cult.
            You hold to some kind of idyllic past where copyright did not exist – but this was also a time of serfdom and misery.
            You hold to the impossible dream of all copyright based intellectial property pursuits giving up their essential rights. They would not be reliquished voluntarily. How would you achieve this without some sort of vile dictatorship? Why would you wish to crush the human rights of artistic creators?
            You keep talking about the taxpayer, but music creators and songwriters are not notably publicly funded – and we music creators pay our taxes as well. Do we not also have taxpayer rights?
            You do not clearly state how a “small guy” songwriter would benefit from the removal of his copyright rights.
            You just cling to some strange unanatural superstition that music creators would benefit without offering any concrete details.
            If you really think we will benefit from your strange brave new world of enforced copyright removal please spell it out.
            And just to make it clear, your posting handle Tod Dem Staat means “Death to the State”. Are you sure you are not some kind of wierdo libertarian political extremist?

          • Tod dem Staat
            Tod dem Staat

            Can you tell me what rights you have over my scarce property simply because you are an inventor, author, or artist? Can you justify limiting my freedoms and actions over my scarce property simply because you are an inventor, author, or artist (especially when these actions do not result in violence, victims, coercion, fraud, etc.)
            I believe in rights in scarce resources. I reject rights born out of legislation and not out of necessity and nature. I reject rights in ideal objects, patterns, ideas, etc. that infringe upon my peaceful ownership and allocation of property (property correctly defined and understood).
            As for my references to taxpayers, the great majority of enforcement and services surrounding copyright is publicly funded. I don’t think you should be forced to pay for this enforcement either. If you would like to do so voluntarily, then by all means go ahead.
            I’ve already spelled out enough. Go look through my other comments..
            You can call me Tod for short. 🙂

          • steveh
            steveh

            You have spelled out nothing at all.
            All you have done is shown us all that you are mentally unbalanced.
            I guess revealing you as a adherent of a bizarre cult really got under your skin, eh?
            Mr. “Death to the State” indeed…

          • Tod dem Staat
            Tod dem Staat

            By the way.. I’ve started reading your comments in the voice of the “Dramatic Reading of a Break-up Letter” on YouTube.. 🙂

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            I disagree with your political views, therefore there is something wrong with you. Please report to a reeducation camp ASAP.

      • steveh
        steveh

        Hello Mr Death to the State (Tod dem Staat), or Citizen Smith as you are known in South London.
        I bet you are a major-league Apple hater. So please read this for your enjoyment and edification:-
        “From the earliest days at Apple, I realized that we thrived when we created intellectual property. If people copied or stole our software, weʼd be out of business. If it was not protected, thereʼd be no incentive for us to make new software or product designs. If protection of intellectual property begins to disappear, creative companies will disappear or never get started. But thereʼs a simpler reason: Itʼs wrong to steal. It hurts other people, And it hurts your own character.” Steve Jobs

        Reply
        • Tod dem Staat
          Tod dem Staat

          Can’t say I’ve ever been to the southern parts of London and I’m quite certain I’ve never played in the major-leagues. I own several Apple devices. And, I too, cannot comment on this site with my phone.
          Innovation is the key to success, not IP rights.

          Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “Maybe this true, but”
      Yup, you lost!
      Google and the Piracy Industry spent millions of dollars trying to convince people that it’s OK to steal, but they failed miserably!
      Americans know that piracy costs them billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands jobs, and they don’t want it anymore.
      What’s particularly significant is that the majority want all pirates to be punished — uploaders as well as downloaders.
      Not funny to be a parasite these days…

      Reply
      • jw
        jw

        This study doesn’t support those assertions one bit.
        In the US only a narrow majority (52%) offers clear support for penalties for unauthorized downloading.
        That’s what it says. Pretty clear, I’d say.

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          “This study doesn’t support those assertions one bit”
          Haha, sure it does, you just don’t like to lose — but you did!
          Like I said, get over it.

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Agree, my remark could have been a bit more mature.
            But bear with me, this was indeed a day of Champagne & Celebration for everybody who loves music, movies and art.
            More than 80% oppose illegal uploads!
            The anti-copyright ‘masses’ that were bullying American politicians and spamming the press are now exposed as a spoiled minority of anti-democratic tech guys, orchestrated by wealthy businessmen and supported only by pirates and a handful of masked thugs in Anonymous.
            Legislators listen to people, and I can assure you they heard this!

          • Tod dem Staat
            Tod dem Staat

            What this report lacks is data over time. For example, if 100% of some group supported anti-piracy measures 20 years ago, and now, 20 years later, only 80% ..Is this really a clear justification for more legislation?
            “Solid majorities of American Internet users oppose copyright enforcement when it is perceived to intrude on personal rights and freedoms.”
            The simple truth is that all IP laws intrude and undermine personal rights and freedoms. It’s only a matter of realizing this truth. And this will be born out over time.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “The simple truth is that all […] laws intrude and undermine personal rights and freedoms”
            I don’t get the paranoia and vpn’s — what is it with you guys? 🙂 Nobody’s going to spy on your porn, or whatever you’re hiding.
            You just have to understand that society can’t allow criminals to distribute stolen personal data, pirated files, child porn, etc.

          • jw
            jw

            You’re focusing on the wrong statistics. I don’t think there’s ever really been a question about whether or not it’s reasonable to upload copyrighted material in order for it to be downloaded. No one thinks this material shouldn’t be taken down, no one is against the DMCA.
            What’s debated is how to handle copyrighted material unreasonably being uploaded. This is where you’re misrepresenting the data & extrapolating all sorts of things that are not there. Where it comes to governance, the data is, in fact, in line with opposition to SOPA/PIPA/ACTA.
            What you should be looking at is page 48.
            • Should the government block sites that provide access to pirated content? 56% no
            • Should ISPs be required to censor sites that provide access to pirated content? 49% no (46% yes)
            • Should the government censor sites that provide access to pirated content? 64% no
            • Would you support blocking if some legal content were also blocked? 57% no
            These are why the masses (yes, the real masses) do not & will not support an act like SOPA, PIPA, or ACTA, & the legislators know it.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            I know change may seem scary and all, but there’s really no need to hold on to the past. A lot of good things are going to happen now.
            Not only do we (and yes, legislators) now know that more than 80% oppose uploads — we also know that a clear majority want to punish downloaders!
            That fact is not only a genuine sensation — and far more radical than anything ACTA proposed — it is also the most powerful tool you can place in the hand of any right holder and any prosecutor in any court of law.
            What we have now is a clear mandate from the majority of the population to actively sue the downloaders.
            And we’re going to use it. Not to ruin people’s lives by taking $150,000 per stolen song, but to charge very reasonable amounts that everybody can afford.
            This is win-win situation: Nobody gets ruined, pirates are punished according to the wishes of the majority of the population, and right holders turn pirates into a source of income.
            What’s not to love…

          • jw
            jw

            Look, sue all you want. No one’s stopping you. I question the wisdom… I think that it’s proven to waste millions of dollars, but that’s all your prerogative.
            And if there were federal penalties that made sense, I think that’s fine, too, so long as it targets offending individual. Keep in mind, however, that artists aren’t going to see that money. (As if any artist has ever received money from the RIAA et al suing people for downloading their music. lol)
            What I’m against, & what any reasonable person ought to be against, is misdirecting penalties at services for being abused by users (i.e. violations of terms of service), or, worse yet, fundamentally changing how the internet works, allowing content owners or government officials to control which websites can & can not be viewed by American citizens. These concerns are not out of step with the nation, according to this study & the quotations I posted above. Yes, the vast majority of Americans seem to believe that uploading copyrighted material is unreasonable (I think so, too, within reason), but that does not mean that they agree with any and every proposed penalty or solution to the problem. Thus, the response to SOPA/PIPA. And I know you’re conditioned to believe otherwise, but the opposition does actually reflect the majority of internet users.
            I don’t think Google has a problem with you suing copyright infringers. I think maybe you’re starting to get your dogma all twisted up in a knot. But, like I said, have at it.

  6. wallow-T
    wallow-T

    What’s the level of support for punishing people incorrectly accused of naughty downloading?
    (How does one plan to tell who is incorrectly accused?)
    What level of incorrectly-accused, yet punished, people will be tolerated under the “Six Strikes” proposal?

    Reply
    • jw
      jw

      Pg 46.
      Who should adjudicate charges of copyright infringement?
      Courts: 54%
      Music companies: 18%
      ISPs: 15%
      Depends/Don’t Know: 10%
      Pg. 48
      Should your internet use be monitored in order to prevent infringement?
      Yes: 26%
      No: 69%

      Reply

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