Monday, 28 September 2015

Parallels in road and online safety

When driving licenses were first issued in the UK in 1903 they were purely for identification purposes. By 1931 when the Highway Code was published there were 2.3 million vehicles on the road and 7,000 deaths.

There are now about 27 million vehicles on the road in the UK with under half the number of deaths.

On the digital highway we may be starting to exit the first wild west phase but there is still not much awareness of the scale of risk online or what reasonable and effective steps can be taken to reduce it.

The significant cost savings from digital transmission and storage have been warmly embraced without a full understanding of how leaky some of them are.

Snowden shone a bit of light on this issue but no doubt some other juicy scandals will emerge before some frameworks for regulation appear which are acceptable.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Consumer attitudes to online intellectual property

In theory all types of property (physical or intellectual) should receive equal levels of protection within the legal system. Why should stealing a car be different from stealing a painting or a piece of music or a line of code ?

The old adage that possession is nine tenths of the law may hold a clue as to why people seem to view them differently - perhaps because ownership is generally much clearer with physical property. In addition concepts such as fair use do not confuse matters.

In any event regardless of my opinions on the matters as part of KLipcorp's survey into IP issues we asked a couple of questions in this area and the responses were pretty stark.

57% of people thought that intellectual property should not be protected as much as physical property.

However the answers to the next question were a bit of a shocker for those who subscribe to the view that customer confusion has a large part to play in the large volumes of unlicensed content consumed online. It may be that the sample was not representative - but 100% of people surveyed said they would still use pirate sites even if they 100% knew they were unlicensed / illegal.

If this response is valid it seems that only direct action against pirate sites will be effective.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

57% of people think that there is no need to subscribe to pay TV for sport due to the availability of pirate content

Piracy of live sport has been around for a while but really started to go mainstream in about 2009/10. As a relatively recent issue it is therefore hard to analyse and as is often the case in the absence of any decent information individuals and companies tend towards the version of the truth that suits them at the time.

Therefore to start the ball rolling and to try to get the beginnings of a picture of consumer attitudes towards sports piracy and the link with sport on Pay TV we started an online survey.

High audience pirate sites do not respond to DMCA style notices at all - as the video below clearly shows - but what impact does this really have ?

Only a few questions to keep people engaged and responses from UK, Sweden, Canada, Ireland and Germany. 60% of responses were in the 25-44 range with an even split across the other age ranges.

Amazingly 43% of those surveyed thought that the types of sites featured in the video above might be legal. This highlights the challenge of complex copyright laws and the effective job some of the search engines have done to muddy the waters (excuse for "Mannish Boy" reference).

The chart below shows solid awareness of the existence of these sites.

So what seems to be emerging is that the public are aware of sites in a "grey area" as they see it and that these sites are not impacted by DMCA style activity.

So what if this makes very little difference to the decision to subscribe or maintain a subscription to a relevant Pay TV service ?

Well as the chart below shows it does seem that with the prevalence of free alternatives the sport driven subscription decision for pay tv is getting tougher

We will keep our research activity going in this area and welcome any constructive contribution to this emerging debate.