|Title:||Qualitative research into online digital piracy|
|Author(s):||Ofcom, GfK NOP|
|Citation:||Qualitative research into online digital piracy. Ofcom. (2011)|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Ofcom-Kantar (2013)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Initial desk research, followed by a qualitative opportunity sample of respondents (37 male, 10 female; age range 12 to 52) from BC1C2DE socio-economic groups in England, screened for eligibility, and stratified as mainstream, moderate or heavy file-sharers. Data gathered through in-home ethnographic depth interviews (36), or friendship or paired depth interviews with younger participants (12, <age 18). Further research, post-interview, through an on-line bulletin board, or a handwritten diary for the under-18s.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Under the Digital Economy Act, 2010, Ofcom must report progress in tackling online infringement. The overarching objective of this research project was to provide Ofcom with insight into the key drivers and motivations behind the online sharing and uploading of copyrighted material in order to further their understanding of the behaviour and attitudes displayed by file sharers. Much of the available published research in this area to date has focused on downloading activity. Ofcom therefore sought to focus this qualitative research on the uploading, rather than downloading, of unauthorised material. This report details the findings of the research with reference to the attitudes and motivations of file sharers in relation to file sharing behaviour and habits, perceptions of the risks associated with file sharing and participants’ justifications for file sharing. It also examines their awareness and understanding of the legal and potential consequences of their actions. The report ends with an exploration of a range of measures that are likely to deter people from continuing to file share in the future.
Main Results of the Study
The research identified four different types of file sharers:
- Generation file-share: who have grown up in the digital age
- Self-serving consumers: older adults, often with families and busy lives
- Collectors: having passion for particular content, often niche genres
- Cybertechies: whose file sharing is driven by technology rather than content
Generally, file sharing is viewed as a mainstream activity – something that “everyone” is doing. Under-18s most strongly believe that it is the “normal” way to access content, typically popular music singles.
There is little sense of file sharing being a “community” activity, but, contrarily, there is some evidence that altruism motivates some participants’ file sharing.
Many participants are naïve about how file sharing works. In particular, younger and less tech-savvy participants are most likely not to know that using P2P file sharing sites allows others to share their own files.
Those who knowingly upload files tend to feel that they should continue to do so to give something back, and to allow file sharing to continue.
Some participants seem to tacitly accept that file sharing is illegal, but many others debate and justify the ethics of their activities.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Potential deterrents vary considerably for different types of file sharers:
- The research indicates that for the more naïve and less committed file sharers, increasing their awareness of wrongdoing and highlighting the potential consequences of continuing their activities could act to deter them from further file sharing.
- However, it is clear that the more savvy and committed file sharers will require evidence of serious consequences being faced by peers. This is likely to result in them being able to view their own activity in a different light and deter them away from file sharing.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individuals from BC1C2DE socio-economic groups in England|
|Period of material under study:||Not stated|