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Ebooks are unfamiliar waters for digital pirates, according to UK survey

Ebooks are unfamiliar waters for digital pirates, according to UK survey

24th July 2015

The Guardian - Alison Flood

For publishers, fresh from winning a landmark ruling forcing internet service providers to block illegal ebook download sites in Russia and the US, pirates are the enemy. Author Paulo Coelho believes that “the more people ‘pirate’ a book, the better”. But research commissioned by the government shows that that the literary world has the lowest level of illegal downloads in the entertainment industry.

Just 1% of UK internet users aged 12 and over read “at least some” ebooks illegally between March and May 2015, according to the Intellectual Property Office’s study into the extent of online copyright infringement in the UK. This compares favourably to other forms of entertainment, with 9% accessing some of their music illegally, 7% television programmes, 6% films, and 2% computer software and video games.

Kantar Media, which carried out the research, estimates that 7.8m, or 18%, of UK internet users aged 12 or over have accessed at least one piece of online content illegally over the period, with 6% exclusively consuming illegal content…

…At the Publishers Association, chief executive Richard Mollet said the IPO study “shows that the main reasons why readers prefer legal services over illegal ones are convenience and availability”.

“The fact that from the outset there have been so many great ways to get pretty much any book online is one of the reasons why publishing suffers comparatively less than other sectors,” said Mollet. “However, publishers do have to continue to work extremely hard to ensure illegal activity does not deprive authors of their due rewards.”

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