A staggering 74% of students aged 21 and under completely disregard all risks and warnings when it comes to the illegal downloading of music, films and games. It comes as no surprise that the number of web savvy youngsters downloading from illegal sources continues to increase as more and more sites, and people, are willing to distribute their favourite music, films and TV, showing little regard for the producers and manufacturers. But what does seem surprising is that so few even acknowledge the implications of what they do – and fewer still care for the punitive measures that could be imposed on them if they’re caught.
A recent anonymous survey on students’ illegal downloading habits, carried out on www.thestudentroom.co.uk, demonstrates the extent to which the internet’s quick and easy file sharing can be put to sinister use. Of the 442 responses to the question “do you worry about getting caught?” only 117, just 26%, said that they worry at all.
The trend is consistent through the number of people admitting to downloading music, too, with only 26% saying that they never download illegally; and, perhaps more shockingly, 16% admitting to downloading 21 or more music albums illegally every month. The results also showed a general trend that as the age of responders increased, so did the amount of illegal activity they were undertaking.
The same, however, cannot be said for the ages of those concerned with the risks – the results showing 15 year olds to be the least anxious, with just 17% saying they worry about the risks; whilst, perhaps surprisingly, it was those aged 21 who cared the most, just beating the 16 year old category with 32% saying they worry about the repercussions.
On the whole, the attitude of those taking the survey seems to indicate that until the detection methods become more effective, and the punishments more severe, there’s little reason to worry. As one person puts it, there’s “no viable way of getting caught if you know what you’re doing” – and the problem is, that most of them do know what they’re doing.
Written by Glen Pawsey