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Study finds online movie pirates are happy to pay while stealing

A new study from the U.K.’s University of Portsmouth is aimed at determining the differences between movie and music pirates. The report’s key finding? Those who steal movies appear to be of an entirely different strain of data marauders, separate from their music-nabbing counterparts. According to the research, which was published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, movie pirates tend to be “less likely to stop paying for movies in addition to stealing them.”

Prolific movie pirates are also – at least more than music pirates, on average – often wealthier, less concerned with being caught, and more likely to cut down their piracy if they think they are harming the industry. The study also found that movie pirates are more likely to live in larger cities and be “early adopters” of new technology. Interestingly, monetary savings and quality perceptions have the strongest influence on piracy.

Dr. Joe Cox and Professor Alan Collins, both economists at the university, analyzed results from a Finnish survey dataset of more than 6,000 people aged seven to 84, examining the attitudes of movie and music pirates alike. Each participant, on average, had illegally downloaded about 2,900 music files and 90 movie files.

In addition to the aforementioned findings, those who illegally download large quantities of movie files are also:

  • less likely to cut back their spending on legal movies compared to those who steal music
  • financially better off than music pirates
  • more likely to be male
  • less likely to think they’ll be caught compared to those who steal music

According to UP, the study reinforces that piracy is not limited to the U.S. and U.K. markets and that the “behaviors and attitudes are similar worldwide.” As laws and regulations scramble to catch up with technology, media piracy continues to be a hot-button issue on a global scale.