Study: Most don't see downloading movies as 'very serious'

Most people believe downloading copyright movies without paying for them is not a "big deal," says study director.

Most Americans know where to draw the line when it comes to leaving a store without paying for a DVD, but downloading copyright movies is a different matter, according to a study released Thursday.

In a survey of 2,600 Americans via the Internet and in telephone interviews, Digital Life America found 78 percent considered taking a DVD from a store without paying as a "very serious offense." Contrast that with the 40 percent who said they believe it is a "very serious offense" to download copyright movies off the Internet without paying for them, the study found. (Click on "movie file sharing" to view a PDF version.)

As another comparison point, 59 percent of Americans are much more likely to believe that parking in a fire lane is a "very serious offense," the study noted.

"There is a Robin Hood effect--most people perceive celebrities and studios to be rich already and, as a result, don't think of movie downloading as a big deal," Kaan Yigit, Digital Life America study director, said in a statement.

Yigit advised "download-to-own" movie services to offer greater flexibility in use and selection, as well as low prices, to entice copyright violators to make the switch.

A number of companies are already following that strategy, NBC announced plans last year to offer select streaming prime-time TV episodes for free , as part of a promotion. And Apple last year announced plans to offer downloadable movies from its iTunes store for $12.99 and $14.99 .

The survey was conducted from June through September 2006 by Digital Life America, a syndicated consumer trend study owned by Solutions Research Group. SRG funds its own syndicated research.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.


    Discuss Study: Most don't see downloading movies...

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Articles from CNET
    Quirky's Ben Kaufman steps down as CEO