Illegal Downloading In Decline Among Youth

Based on surprising survey results released on Tuesday, the Business Software Alliance concluded that illegal downloading among people ages eight to 18 has dropped significantly in the last three years. The percent of kids who participated in any form of piracy went from 60 percent in 2004, to 36 percent in the latest 2007 survey.

The survey also asked participants to cite their main concerns with downloading copyrighted works like software, music, movies and games. The most popular response was fear of downloading a virus, followed by fear of legal trouble, spyware, and parental trouble. The BSA believes parental intervention is a major factor in the recent drop in illegal downloading, since the number of survey respondents citing parents as a concern went from 40 percent in 2006 to 48 percent this year.

“This study indicates that parents represent a growing and effective influence on the online practices of youth,” said Diane Smiroldo, vice president of public affairs for BSA, in a statement. “The survey found that more than half of the students have been warned by their parents about dangerous, illegal online behaviors. Imposing rules and ensuring your children abide by them may be an old-fashioned concept for cyberspace, but it works.”

The drop from 2004 to 2007 seems to be spread evenly across all industries susceptible to copyright violations. Software piracy dropped from being practiced by 22 percent of kids to 11 percent, music piracy dropped from 53 percent to 30 percent, and movie piracy dropped from 17 percent to 8 percent.

Given that all four top piracy concerns for kids were rooted in fear and not morality, it may well be that the aggressive tactics of the Recording Industry Association of America, like suing the pants off of college kids, are actually working.

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