Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Australia and UK release online copyright infringement research

22 July 2015

New research conducted by the Australian and United Kingdom Governments shows Australia has high levels of online copyright infringement and reinforces the need for international and industry cooperation to address piracy.

Both countries conducted surveys between March and May this year to measure online copyright infringement across different content types, with the Australian research closely modelled on the UK approach, which has been running since 2012.

The Australian survey carried out 2,630 interviews and found nearly half (43 per cent) of Australians who had consumed digital content in the period surveyed had consumed at least one of those files illegally, compared to only a fifth in the UK. The UK survey identified an increase in the take up of legal services since 2013.


Percentage of survey respondents who consumed online content of which at least one item of content was consumed illegally in the last three months









TV programmes



Video games



The results highlight the importance of international collaboration to help understand the reasons for online copyright infringement, establish benchmarks, and share solutions.

The results also underscore the importance of governments working with industry to address infringement issues, and that a range of measures are needed to properly tackle the problem.

The Australian survey found people would likely stop infringing if legal content was: cheaper (39 per cent), more available (38 per cent), and had the same release date as other countries (36 per cent). 43 per cent of internet users stated that they were not confident of what is legal online content.

Recent amendments to the Copyright Act 1968, which enable the blocking of infringing overseas websites, and complement the Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code that is currently being developed by both rights holders and internet service providers, are part of the solution. However, rights holders' most powerful tool to combat online copyright infringement is making content accessible, timely and affordable to consumers.

Media contact:

David Bold, Office of Malcolm Turnbull MP, 0427 784 451


The Australian survey

  • The Australian survey was commissioned by the Department of Communications and was undertaken by Taylor Nelson Sofries (TNS) Australia.
  • The survey was conducted between 25 March and 13 April 2015 with Australian consumers of digital content aged 12 and over, through a mix of online and phone interviews.
  • Overall, 43 per cent of online content consumers surveyed had consumed at least some illegal files, which represents 26 per cent of Australian internet users.
  • The Australian survey was tailored to measure online copyright infringement across four core content types: movies, music, television programmes and video games. The UK surveyed six content types, which also included PC software and E-Books.
  • The Australian survey results are available at:

The UK survey

  • The UK survey was funded by the UK Intellectual Property Office and was undertaken by Kantar Media.
  • The survey was conducted between March and May 2015.
  • It is the fifth wave of a large-scale consumer tracking study into the extent of online copyright infringement, as well as wide digital behaviours and attitudes, among people aged 12 and over in the UK.
  • The UK survey results, which will be released later today (Australian time), will be available at:
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