According to a recent study, Europeans are watching more pirated TV shows and live sports online

19 September, 2023
Intellectual Property and the Metaverse
Protecting your ideas
A new study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) indicates that the downward trend in piracy of previous years has been reversed.

The study finds that TV content is the most pirated type of content in the EU, accounting for nearly half of all piracy, and piracy of live events, such as streaming of sports games, is also on the rise. The study measured the number of monthly accesses per internet user to illegal content, which had declined between 2017 and 2021. In 2022 the trend was reversed, and digital piracy increased by 3.3 %.

Pirated content: What Europeans consume

This change in trend was mainly due to the growth of TV piracy, which represented nearly half (48 %) of all accesses to infringing sites in the EU in 2022. Other types of pirated content include publications (28 %), films (11 %), software (7 %) and music (6 %).

The study also highlights the most pirated genres, with television shows, series, and on-demand movies leading, followed by anime productions (series and films), live streams of sports events and dedicated sports channels.

Speaking about the study, the EUIPO’s Executive Director, Christian Archambeau, emphasised copyright infringement in the digital era as a serious concern and a direct threat to the creative industries in Europe. He added: “The new study shows there is still much work to tackle piracy. Stopping this phenomenon is complex as piracy is continuously evolving with technology. This is why understanding the underlying mechanisms of piracy is essential to adopt effective policies and measures contributing to reducing it.”

The rise of live sports events and streaming

According to the study, streaming has become the most popular method to access illicit TV content, with 58 % of piracy in the EU occurring via streaming and 32 % through downloading. Piracy of live sports events also shows an upward trend from 2021 to 2022, with a 30 % increase. This study, titled “Online Copyright Infringement in the European Union, Films, Music, Publications, Software and TV, 2017-2022”, is the third study on the evolution of web-based online copyright infringement, designed to inform the strategies and policies used to combat piracy and support the growth of the digital content industry. The study examines the number of accesses to pirated films, TV, music, software and publications from January 2017 to December 2022, using various desktop and mobile access methods, such as streaming, downloading, torrents and stream ripping software. The new edition includes two content types not previously studied, publications and software, although only for 2021 and 2022.

All of the Observatory’s studies can be found here.

Article first published here.