January 25, 2022

Survey Results: Copyright Infringement in the UK (Copyright Infringement Tracker Survey, 5th Wave)

Note: This is the fifth report from the UK Intellectual Property Office survey tracking copyright infringement in the UK. Results from the first four surveys are linked below.

From the UK Intellectual Property Office:

A new survey, published today [July 22, 2015- by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), highlights the latest UK trends in online streaming and downloading.

  • increase of more than 10% in take up of legal services since 2013
  • increase of 6% in online consumption, of both legal and illegal content
  • 1 in 5 still access content illegally

The survey highlighted 62% of internet users in the UK have downloaded or streamed music, TV shows, films, computer software, videogames or e-books. This is up from 56% in 2013. The survey showed that there was a 10% increase in UK consumers accessing content through legal services. One in five consumers still access some content illegally.

The survey was published in parallel with research in Australia and shows that while British and Australian users consumed online media at similar rates, illegal downloading for UK consumers was half the rate of their Australian counterparts.

Key findings from the UK survey show that:


  • 15.6 million UK internet users accessed music online. 12 million users streamed music and 10.5 million users downloaded music. 16-24 year-olds were the most active in music downloads
  • YouTube, Amazon and Spotify were the top platforms used for downloading and streaming with 54 per cent of all music streaming and downloads were accessed via YouTube
  • 26 per cent of users have accessed content illegally


  • 10 million UK internet users have accessed films online
  • Netflix, Amazon and YouTube were the top platforms for film downloads and streaming with Netflix responsible for 44 per cent of all activity
  • 25 per cent of users accessed some content illegally


  • 15 million UK internet users have accessed a TV programme online
  • BBC iPlayer, You Tube and ITV Player were the top platforms for accessing TV programmes online with BBC iPlayer responsible for 62 per cent of activity
  • 21 per cent of users accessed some content illegally

The findings also show that:

  • 5.6 million of UK internet users accessed or downloaded e-books, 5.2 million users accessed or downloaded video games and 5.5 million accessed or downloaded computer software
  • Average quarterly spend on downloading and streaming content ranged from £6.68 for TV programmes to £20.28 for music. The most common reasons given for infringing were because it’s free (49%) and convenient (43%)
  • Respondents said they would be encouraged to stop infringing if there were cheaper legal services (25%) and if everything was available legally (21%).


Results from Previous UK Copyright Infringement Tracker Surveys (Including Datasets)

Copyright Infringement Tracker Survey, 5th Wave (Full Text Report)

UK: Copyright Infringement Tracker Survey, 5th Wave (Infographic)

Hat Tips: Engadget and The Digital Reader

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.