Singapore

Illegal downloading, streaming still a scourge

Despite the availability of several legitimate options online, many people here are still illegally getting their movie and music fix on the Internet for free.

In a survey of 1,000 people in May last year, 63 per cent of the respondents here said they were downloading or streaming unauthorised content at the time.

The findings were released in February by consultancy Ernst & Young.

Top of the list of pirated content were TV shows and movies - some 51 per cent of respondents admitted to downloading these files illegally.

Accessing unauthorised music files online came in second, with 48 per cent of people doing so. Getting games illegally online was third, at 38 per cent.

This was despite the launch of several legal options here in recent years.

Video subscription services Netflix, Hooq and CatchPlay were all launched last year.

For music, Spotify was launched in 2013 and Apple Music in 2015.

And online video game store Steam has allowed gamers here to buy digital games in Singapore dollars from 2014.

But Mr Bryan Tan, technology partner at law firm Pinsent Masons MPillay, said that even with the rise of subscription services, "it is still hard to beat obtaining files from illegal downloads, which are completely free".

He also noted the wide range of pirated content.

Singapore fared worse for illegal downloads and streams than New Zealand (58 per cent) and Australia (46 per cent), but scored better than Malaysia (83 per cent).

EARLIER FINDINGS

The latest figures mirror earlier findings.

According to a survey by research consultancy Sycamore Research and Marketing released in 2014, 61 per cent of people here aged 16 to 64 said they had participated in movie and TV or music piracy.

Mr Tan said more could be done to persuade people to move away from digital piracy.

"Consumers could be allowed to customise their subscriptions so they need not pay a large fee to watch only a few programmes," he said.

 

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