Looks like P2P piracy isn’t just for zit-faced teenagers anymore: the act of downloading videos, music, e-books and other goodies is most popular with male users between the ages of 20 and 29, according to a new survey by Germany’s GfK Panel Services that was commissioned by the local IFPI branch. One quarter of all males in this age bracket use file sharing networks to download content, followed by 17 percent of males aged 30 to 39.
Gender issues aside, about 7 percent of all Germans admit to using file sharing networks to download content, which comes to a total of about 4.5 million teutonic downloaders. Teenagers download just slightly more than the average user, with 9 percent stating that they’re downloaders. Also remarkable: 7 percent of users aged 40 to 49 are active users of P2P networks. All of that sharing happens despite many users being fairly certain that at least part of their behavior is violating copyright laws.
87 percent of all consumers questioned stated that it’s likely illegal to share files through social networks, and 94 percent believe it to be illegal to offer files for download via BitTorrent. GfK registered similarly high percentages for the perceived illegality of offering files for download via blogs, newsgroups, one-click host sites and other types of file sharing services. Of course, that doesn’t mean that simply accessing a file shared through a one-click host carries the same type of stigma.
One should also note that there is likely to be a high number of users afraid to state that they’re sharing, even if asked by a market research company. Not only are Germany’s major labels still pursuing lawsuits against file sharers, unlike their counterparts in the U.S., but individual rights holders have been partnering with a number of companies that specialize in hunting down file sharers for profit, resulting in an avalanche of lawsuits that has by now reached the hundreds of thousands. However, all of these lawsuits haven’t helped to turn around the fate of Germany’s entertainment industry, with music sales declining 3.3 percent last year.
These losses are actually now impacting anti-piracy market research as well. Germany’s music industry used to release its annual “Brennerstudie” (burner report) for free. This year, it only made the above mentioned demographic numbers publicly available, and instead decided to sell the full report for €150 (about $200).
Related content on GigaOm Pro: The Quest to Monetize File Sharing (subscription required)