One of the abiding delusions of the copyright industry is that if people -- especially the young -- could somehow be "educated" about the value of intellectual monopolies, they would learn to love them -- despite the fact that there is zero evidence
any copyright "education" campaign has worked. In this context, some interesting research from the UK, reported by TorrentFreak, explored the attitudes of both young and old to accessing online content. Here's one of the striking results of that work, which suggests that the copyright industries are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of future online users
half of the up-and-coming generation believes that the Internet should be a content free-for-all. A total of 49% of the 8 to 15-year-olds questioned said that they believe that people should be able to download the content they want from the Internet for nothing.
The following is particularly noteworthy:
The mainstream entertainment companies invariably insist that downloading movies and music without permission is tantamount to stealing. However, when it comes to the UK's children the survey suggests that Big Entertainment has a mountain to climb to have that notion widely adopted. While 16% of children accept that it's wrong to obtain content for free without the creator's permission, just 7% believe that file-sharing is a form of stealing.
That is, 93% of the 614 young people interviewed do not accept the copyright industry's relentless attempts to brand file-sharing as "stealing." This result is comparable with that found by Swedish research
among a similar age group. The rest of the UK survey throws useful light on what the main problem is here. Once again, it seems to be about the affordability and usability and online services:
Among the children, whose resources are often more limited, 44% said their motivation was financial, with a quarter of 16-24 year olds reporting that file-sharing is the only way they can afford to access content online.
Unsurprisingly, the issue of accessibility came in at a close second place for both [age] groups. The speed and convenience of file-sharing was cited as a key motivator for use by 41% of adults and 38% of the children.
As Techdirt keeps pointing out
to the copyright industry, all these studies suggest the same solution to reducing unauthorized sharing: offering easy-to-use services at fair prices. When will it ever learn?
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