You will not be surprised to hear that the number of illegal downloads continues to fall in Europe. What you might surprise is that research by the UvA shows that this has very little to do with the battle that has been conducted against sites like The Pirate Bay for a few years now. The researchers state in the report of the Institute for Information Law that “no convincing link can be found” between the fight against illegal downloading and the larger number of people who legally consume media. This research is based on 35,000 people in Europe who have been questioned.
What is it about? According to the research, it has to do with two things, the first of which is that there is just a lot more content to get in a legal way. With Spotify, Apple Music, Google Music and Play, Netflix, Videoland and Amazon Prime Video (to name but a few of the big players) the choice is now so great that you have to be very specific about something to wait for series , to download music or movies. It has always been said that piracy was a response to not having the opportunity to view something legally and that gradually turns out to be true * cough * Game of Thrones * cough *.
Purchasing power is important
What also counts enormously is the increasing purchasing power among consumers. Now that the crisis is really behind us, we have something to spend and we apparently have no trouble setting aside an entertainment budget. If we then specifically look at the Netherlands, it appears that just over a third of the Dutch have downloaded something illegal. On the other hand, more than 80 percent of people watch or listen to content legally. These figures are about the same everywhere in Europe, depending on how strict downloaders are dealt with.
The researchers also had something to say about the latter: individual approach to downloaders only works counterproductive. It turns out that the people who download are often the largest legal customers of digital content. You may be entitled to address those people, but you will make your biggest customers angry.
It is also not as if there are no ways to download things via a VPN, so it is absurd to think that you can completely eliminate illegal downloads. The researchers say that the downward trend in downloading continues, according to them, so ‘backguard’ battles then have little use. In that respect, the Netherlands is already fine with the rules, so there is not much that can be done.