The European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has recently published a report on Online Copyright Infringement in the European Union. The report examines the consumption of copyright-infringing content in the EU Member States and the UK between January 2017 and December 2020. The underlying data covers access to TV programmes, music and film, using a variety of desktop and mobile access methods, including streaming, downloading, torrents and ripping software.
The report’s main conclusion is that digital piracy is declining for all three types of content. Except for a temporary increase in film piracy in the spring of 2020, the decline continued during the COVID pandemic: piracy decreased by 20% in 2018, by 6% in 2019 and by 34% in 2020. However, the report found significant differences among the Member States. For example, the average internet user in the EU accessed copyright–infringing content 5.9 times per month during 2020, whereas Latvian users accessed these sites approximately twice as often, but Polish users did so only 3.8 times per month. Overall, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK were below the EU average. The report identifies a number of relevant factors and concludes that differences among the Member States can largely be explained by socio-economic factors such as income inequality and by awareness of legal offers among consumers.