A survey of 1,000 people sponsored by International Federation Against Copyright Theft – Greater China (IFACT-GC) indicates Hong Kong residents are fairly receptive to the idea of a graduated response approach to fighting piracy. Most (87%) of people surveyed had not heard of graduated response before it was explained to them, meaning they didn’t have much time to consider it. Nevertheless, the survey results are worth reading and graduated response is an increasingly popular approach around the world to digital piracy.
Graduated response would stop some illegal downloading. Seventy one percent of respondents said they would be likely to stop unauthorized downloading after the implementation of a graduated response system. About 11% responded “maybe,” 12.5% replied “no” and nearly 6% were unsure.
But not everybody would be scared straight. Over half (54%) of respondents said they would stop downloading or sharing immediately after getting a notification from their ISP. But 28% would stop temporarily, 5% would use other software or websites to download and 3% would change ISPs. Only 3% said they would completely ignore the notification.
Copyright owners and ISPs are likely to face a small yet stubborn group of infringers. Once the second notification arrives, only 39% said they would stop downloading for good while 20% would take other measures that would enable them to continue to download. By the time they get a third notification, 4% said they are still unlikely to stop illegal downloading and 22% said they would switch ISPs.
A person’s likelihood to stop illegal downloading is not tied to frequency of using the Internet. Of those said they would stop unauthorized downloading, 77% of them use the Internet every day. But 87% of people who said they would not stop downloading use the Internet every day. This points to some reason other than reliance on the Internet as a motivating factor for stopping illegal downloading.
Since few respondents are heavy downloaders, graduated response would apply to relatively few people. While 42% said they have downloaded unauthorized copies in the past, only 18% said they download either from time to time or frequently. A full 40% never download illegally. So, most people said they would stop downloading if a graduated response system was put in place, but most of them weren’t downloading in the first place.
Graduated response is a welcome approach for combating piracy. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they would support a graduated response system to reduce digital piracy. Twenty percent were against such measures and 15% were neutral. Nearly 8% had no opinion on the matter.
Market solutions more popular than legislation. Given a choice between a graduated response system and legislation that would punish violators, 69% of respondents would choose graduated response. The survey did not have a third option for neither choice.