Takes into account not just illegal file-sharing, but also illegal copying of music with family and friends, finding that 95% of 18-24yos engaged in some sort of illegal “home copying”.
British Music Rights (BMR), is an umbrella organization that lobbies on behalf of composers, songwriters and music publishers. It’s a team of composed of legal, communications and public affairs specialists that “…work in a number of ways, including lobbying, research, education, and PR, to raise awareness about issues that affect British music creators and publishers, both in the UK and abroad.”
Back in February of this year it partnered with the University Of Hertfordshire to conduct a survey to better understand and evaluate the music consumption habits of 18-24-year olds. “Tapping into our partnerâ€™s resources,” a press release notes, “we believe this will be the largest and most far-reaching survey of its kind â€” providing desperately needed data as to what this much-quoted demographic actually think about music and copyright and what their attitudes are towards the music industry.”
Well now, according to The Guardian, the results are in and they are every bit as intriguing as why the study was commissioned in the first place. The study surveyed 1,158 people aged 18-24 and found that 95% had engaged in some sort of illegal copying at home, be it online or offline. Some 58% of them also admitted to copying music from a friend’s hard drive.
The UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 makes it illegal to rip CDs to ones PC or portable MP3 player, or even to burn a personal CD-R copy.
The music industry’s anti-piracy efforts have always been primarily concerned with illegal file-sharing, but it’s potentially a miniscule problem when compared to the prevalence of illegal “offline copying”, argues BMR. According to the study more than two-thirds of those surveyed said that they copy five CDs a month from their friends.
According to the article, former Undertones frontman Sharkey said the “…aim was not to lambaste young music consumers but to create business models that fit their behaviour and tap into the unrelenting demand for music.” and that “He hopes the findings will provide impetus for change.”
Hopefully the study does provide an impetus for change in the way the music industry does business, but haven’t music fans been telling record labels that for the last 8 or 9 years? When people first turned to digital music, favoring both the portability and convenience compared to physical CDs and music retailers, the music industry refused to provide a legal alternative until Apple’s iTunes dragged it along kicking and screaming. And it was only recently that DRM-free tracks were made available by most retailers in another indication of how it has done almost everything in its power to not provide a viable alternative to illegal file-sharing or “home copying.”
The reason why “home copying” has suddenly become an issue to BMR is because of the increasing speed and amount of music which people can now share with family and friends at home. With 1TB HDDs fetching a measly $200 USD bucks these days and portable MP3 players dropping in price almost daily, it’s beginning to make music organization like BMR even more nervous about the future.
“For somebody who has spent 30 years in the music industry, you instinctively know this stuff is going on. But when you actually sit looking at your computer and see a number that says 95% of people are copying music at home, you suddenly go, ‘Bloody hell’,” he said.
To me it’s no surprise that 95% of 18-24-year-olds engage in illegal online or offline copying. I mean of all the music listening demographics it’s the one who can least afford to purchase a “luxury good” such as music.