Online piracy attracting fewer Australians

Online piracy in Australia is reportedly decreasing, with more Australians preferring pay-per-view subscription services.

A recent survey has revealed that fewer Australians are pirating content online as the availability of legal options increase. 

The Choice piracy survey for 2015 was a follow-up on a 2014 study and was completed by 1,010 respondents from July 2 to 15. The study indicates that illegal downloads in Australia have decreased, and suggests that online streaming services could be the cause.

More individuals are opting for pay-per-view subscription services over pirating content: 59 per cent compared to 46 per cent in the 2014 survey. It also notes the rise in subscriptions to Australian streaming services; 55 per cent compared to 36 per cent in 2014. 

This could be due to the introduction of Netflix, the popular internet movie and TV subscription service, to Australia and New Zealand earlier this year in March. With the report finding that 33 per cent of participants are downloading less often since subscribing to streaming services, the introduction of Netflix is likely a key contributor. 

However, online streaming services are still limited, with many TV shows and movies unavailable. The the study suggests that 17 per cent of respondents are regularly downloading, compared to 23 per cent in 2014. This indicates there is more driving down the rates than simply more subscription services.

With high-profile cases outlining the consequences of copyright infringement in Australia, more viewers are aware of what could happen for breaching that law.

In June 2015, the Australian government passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill, which was aimed at reducing online piracy within Australia.

The bill affirmed the importance of protecting intellectual property as a way to foster innovation.

"Copyright protection provides an essential mechanism for ensuring the viability and success of creative industries by incentivising and rewarding creators. Online copyright infringement poses a significant threat to these incentives and rewards," the bill states.

This indicates that whether it is due to the amendment to the law or increased awareness of the consequences of copyright infringement, when Australians have a legal option available to them, they are more likely to take it.