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‘Disturbingly high’: One in four Australians engaging in online piracy

Roughly one-in-four Australians pirated online content in 2022, as rates of unlawfully consumed media rebounded across film, television, music, and live sports viewership.

The 2022 Consumer Survey on Online Copyright Infringement found an increase in the number of Australians illegally accessing media online after two years of declining piracy rates.

Video games were the only category with a continued decline in unlawful consumption, whereas movie, television, music and live sport piracy all grew by two to five per cent between 2021 and 2022.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the statistics were “disturbingly high” and hoped new technologies would be adapted to protect Australian artists while ensuring consumers can still easily enjoy entertainment media.

In 2023, Australia’s favourite shows and movies could be spread over as many as 10 different streaming services, most of which increased their subscription prices in the two years.

The report also showed 26 per cent of respondents allowed someone outside their household to use their login details.

With streaming king Netflix set to crackdown on password sharing, at least 1.5 million viewers will be booted from the service by March.

Compounded with the growing cost of necessities and inflation at a three-decade high of 7.8 per cent, the allure of free content is more tempting than ever.

The biggest driver of piracy was the draw of free content, with 31 per cent of respondents saying they would be more likely to illegally access media if they didn’t have to pay – an increase of three per cent compared to 2020.

Although 64 per cent of Australians still believed pirating content was wrong, this was a four per cent decrease from the previous year.

The federal government has announced a review of copyright enforcement mechanisms open for public consultation until 7 March. SBS

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