EUIPO releases a study examining online copyright infringement

EUIPO releases a study examining online copyright infringement

As the authority on digital piracy, MUSO was approached by the EUIPO to embark on the first data-driven analysis of digital piracy and consumption of copyright-infringing TV, film and music across the 28 EU member states.

In our most recent blog, Simon Horton, Head of Software Development at MUSO, reveals how the EU used MUSO data to support their deep dive into copyright infringement across the EU.

Over the past decade, MUSO has built an unrivalled dataset of global piracy that tracks piracy activity at both an industry and a title level and this dataset has powered MUSO’s digital content protection for thousands of rights-holders across all media sectors.

MUSO’s Piracy by Industry data monitors over 30,000 of the highest traffic piracy websites and allowed the EUIPO a holistic daily view across the continually changing piracy landscape.

The title-level data provides a deep insight into digital piracy consumption, monitoring billions of infringements to expose daily geographic piracy consumption of over 25,000 of the most popular films, TV episodes and music titles.

The study included piracy sites that allow infringing content to be streamed directly through the web browser as well as consumption data via peer-to-peer BitTorrent network downloads.

The Online copyright infringement in the European Union report, the first of two reports, studied illegal consumption trends and the drivers of piracy activity for over 70 billion visits to piracy websites across all 28 EU member states. The study period spanned 21-months from January 2017 to September 2018.

The report shows that on average internet users in the EU accessed online pirated content 9.7 times per month in the first nine months of 2018, on both fixed and mobile devices. TV copyright infringement represented the largest segment of the overall piracy activity in the EU at nearly 60% of the total, followed by film and music piracy. Streaming was by far the most common access method, accounting for about 75 % of all access, followed by torrent, download and stream ripping.

The EUIPO’s report examines the impact on piracy consumption as a result of economic and sociological factors affecting piracy behavioural differences between the different EU member states. The report looks at how other factors influence piracy consumption:

  • Perception, awareness and behaviour in respect of piracy;
  • Availability of legal internet and broadcast platforms;
  • Per capita income;
  • Number of internet users per country;
  • Cost of internet access.

In the EUIPO’s press release, the Executive Director of the EUIPO, Christian Archambeau, said:

“Copyright-intensive industries, including film, television and music, support over 11 million jobs in the EU, and piracy, with the associated loss of revenue it brings, represents a direct threat to those industries. Despite the downturn in pirated consumption shown in our study, there is still much work to do to tackle this problem, and we hope these findings will help decision-makers as they develop policies and solutions.”

There are many interesting conclusions within the EUIPO report, they state that “piracy remains a significant problem, more so in some Member States than in others“ [1] and that “A higher acceptance of digital piracy, as evidenced in the IP Perception study, is also associated with a higher level of consumption of pirated content.” [2]

MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley said:

“MUSO were delighted to work closely with the EUIPO on this study. The breadth of analysis and data gives a glimpse into the depth of insight available from our unique dataset. Importantly the report focused on-strength of enforcement as a key factor in combating piracy and MUSO's data-driven approach provides the most impactful solution for rights-holders wishing to protect their content online.”

The EUIPO highlighted the usefulness of this report in their work. They identified several avenues for further investigation into digital piracy which the European Observatory would find merit in undertaking. The EUIPO proposed a direction for further research to study the strength of copyright enforcement in the 28 EU Member States in order to evaluate previous studies which “point to socio-economic variables, consumer awareness and attitudes, and strength of enforcement as relevant factors for consumption of pirated content.'' [3]

In 2020, the EUIPO are planning to release their second report focusing on MUSO’s Piracy by Title data to enrich the understanding of the digital piracy phenomenon.

Data sits at the heart of MUSO’s product suite and the EUIPO’s use of that data reflects the significant insights governments, trade bodies and rights-holders can discover using MUSO data.

Additionally, as noted above, much needs to be done to tackle the problem of online piracy. MUSO’s Protect content protection solution features a data driven approach that aims to deliver maximum effectiveness to rights-holders. Our recent white paper Measuring ROI in content protection: How valuable is anti-piracy” details MUSO’s approach to driving the ROI and value rights-holder content protection strategies.


Download the EUIPO report now 




About the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)

The EUIPO is the European Union's principal agency devoted exclusively to support the protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property rights to help combat the growing threat of intellectual property infringement in Europe.

The European Observatory represent a network of experts and specialists with stakeholders which include representatives from both the public and private sector, members of the European Parliament and institutional partners.