Online piracy reaches record low thanks to streaming services

According to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and Kantar Media, 15% of British internet users accessed media via sneaky illegal methods between March and May this year - the lowest recorded percentage in the last five years.

The number of users whoonlyaccessed media through legal means, however, has risen up to 44%. In comparison, 18% of internet users pirated media last year, while only 41% accessed it through entirely legal means.

The media we most prefer to pirate is music, TV, and films, with between 6% and 8% of internet users claiming they access them through illegal means. And whether legal or not, we prefer streaming content (52%) to downloading it (39%) by far, because it's more convenient and less costly.

Music is our favourite media to download or stream - whether legally or illegally - with 16.4 million Brits accessing it online between May and March, primarily through YouTube (52%), Spotify (30%), and iTunes (20%).

And the most common pirates are aged 16-24, low earners, and are very slightly more likely to be female.

The stats hint that more and more pirates are shifting over to legal streaming services - Spotify and Netflix have seen a "meteoric rise", the IPO says. Spotify alone has had a 3% rise in UK users in the last year.

Still, 15% is a lot of people, especially as one in 20 internet users exclusively gets their content through piracy. There's still a lot to be done to tackle it, the IPO says.

"I am extremely pleased to see that there has been a decline in infringement and that consumers appear to be turning towards legitimate streaming en masse," said Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for intellectual property. "There is, however, more to do. This government is committed to fighting against IP theft in all its forms and supporting the hard work of our creative industries."

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