Belfast Telegraph

Illegal streaming and downloading 'by one in five web users'

Illegally streaming and downloading music, TV and films is still being done by one in five web users in the UK.

That's according to a new survey by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which found that while the number of people using legal services to stream and download media has risen by more than 10% since 2013, many are still using illegal means to access content.

Sixty two per cent of internet users in the UK now download or stream music, TV, films and other entertainment say the figures - likely driven by the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. However more than 20% of us have turned to piracy in order to access content, with the most common reasons offered being, it's free and convenient.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville Rolfe said: "It's great news that a huge proportion of UK consumers are going online to enjoy music, TV shows, video games and e-books legally, supporting our creative industries to grow and showing the benefits of making legal content widely available.

"By building a clear picture of online streaming and downloading trends we can work with industry and international partners to tackle the problems of internet piracy and increase public awareness of the ways people can download and stream legally."

Music remains the most popular media to access online, with 15.6 million UK internet users doing so, but 26% have accessed content illegally. The figures for illegal access are also similar for film (25%) and TV (21%), with those who took part in the survey adding that they would stop using illegal services if they were cheaper, and had a broader range of content.

Technology giant Apple entered the streaming arena for the first time last month with the launch of Apple Music, offering users the chance to try the service for free for three months.

Current music streaming king Spotify also announced earlier this year they reached 20 million paying subscribers. However internet piracy remains popular with some as a way of avoiding the subscription fees that apply to legal access points.

The Government has said it is taking action to tackle online copyright infringement and has provided £3.1 million of funding for Creative Content UK's education campaign to educate consumers on how they can download and stream legally.