Exclusive: Harris Confirms, ‘Levels of Piracy Are Steady’

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Harris Interactive confirmed data on Monday showing that piracy levels are remaining level, a survey-based result.

“Overall levels of piracy are steady over the past 15 months,” shared Mike Saxon, EVP of Harris Interactive, during a detailed presentation in New York.  The findings were first leaked to Digital Music News last week, and officially discussed at the P2P & Cloud Market Conference in New York during a luncheon presentation.  The event was hosted at the Cornell Club by the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA).

The presentation included one of the leaked slides, essentially showing consistent levels of file-sharing (via LimeWire, BitTorrent, others).  But Harris also discovered increased levels of hard-drive swapping, and elevated downloading from virtual hosting sites like Megaupload.  Harris also showed increased sharing of television shows, games, and movies.  Some of that corresponds to information presented last month by NPD Group, though the data on file-sharing activity is inconsistent.

Saxon also compared media patterns between the UK and US, and found remarkable similarities across device ownership, online entertainment access, gaming, and streaming music from social networks.  Still, a number of differences emerged, including a far broader appetite among British consumers for file-sharing across every platform and media type.

The data was actually part of a broader discussion on cloud computing, and its application towards music and entertainment assets.  That discussion is incomplete without devices, and Harris measured everything from a connected Wii to an Android.

Overall, Harris showed that consumers have mixed sentiments towards cloud-based access.  The access component sounds great, though serious concerns surround connectivity (can it be accessed all the time, every time), security of files, and security of personal information.

But the cloud is well-entrenched in areas like email, an argument that has bolstered models like Lala.  Saxon noted that in many cases, users are hardly aware that the cloud exists; instead, they skip the details and just grab their data – from anywhere.  And, on mobile devices, cloud-based access is increasingly happening on multimedia and entertainment assets.  The percentages are still relatively low, though mobile-based access of videos (YouTube), photo sharing (via email, MMS, or web), and music streaming (Pandora, AOL Radio, others) are just taking root.

Report by publisher Paul Resnikoff.