Consumers turn to piracy in the Baltics in the face of overpriced downloads

An online survey conducted by social & market research firm Macroscope has revealed that, while a third of internet users in the Baltic States would be willing to pay for digital products that they are interested in, almost 70% would first try all possible ways of getting the product they are interested in for free.

The use of pirated applications is rife in the Baltic States, with 96% of respondents downloading illegal apps for entertainment purposes, 63% for education, and 40% for work purposes.

“The results of this survey show that modern technologies have become a big challenge for the owners of intellectual property, and the optimal way of reconciling everybody’s interests has not been found yet. Either one party or the other will have to surrender. I do not believe that the users will give in. In my opinion, the intellectual property protection mode is approaching an inevitable reform”, said Andrius Iškauskas, of the Law Firm AAA Baltic Service Company.

The results of the survey showed that in the last three months:

  • 91% of respondents had illegally downloaded movies;
  • 80% had illegally downloaded music;
  • 57% had illegally downloaded computer applications;
  • 34% had illegally downloaded computer games; and
  • 32% had illegally downloaded electronic books

In comparison, legal download figures for the same period were:

  • 22% for movies;
  • 31% for music;
  • 36% for computer applications;
  • 21% for computer games; and
  • 23% for electronic books.

Over half of the respondents agreed that the creator of intellectual property has the right to decide whether to charge for it; however, the majority of respondents stated that they would prefer IP that was used for non-commercial or personal purposes to be available free of charge via the Internet.

The survey’s results also showed that the majority considered distributors to be liable for products that were purchased illegally, with a minority thinking that buyers were responsible and even fewer considering creators liable.

Many of the respondents also claimed that they would pay for music, movies, computer and other digital applications rather than obtaining them illegally, but only if the price was in line with their cost of living.

Many of those surveyed stated that the same music albums cost much more in Lithuania than in other countries of the European Union, and added that they turned to piracy as data was typically obtainable via illegal channels for months, or even years, before it was available through legal ones.

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