Anti-piracy lobby groups often point out that downloading copyrighted content equals stealing, most notably in their “You wouldn’t steal…” campaign. We have pointed out before, that stealing is not the right wording, and despite the fact that it’s against the law, many people don’t see it as a problem either.
A new survey, conducted by the The National Research Institute of Legal Policy, looked into the unlawful behavior of Finnish 9th grade youngsters, including their illicit downloading habits. Among other things, the results show that 6% of the 15 year olds smoke marijuana or hash, 11% has participated in a fight and 15% admits they have stolen something from their school.
Unsurprisingly, the most common type of illegal behavior among the group is (illegal) downloading. An overwhelming majority of the surveyed kids (69%) admitted that they have downloaded copyrighted material in the past year. Even more so, 29% reported that they use filesharing applications to download music and movies illegally, every day. However, it is worth pointing out that while bullying, stealing and vandalism might be considered a crime and therefore warrant the attention of the police, personal-use file-sharing is a civil infringement, and does not.
The Finnish news article which reported on the survey resulted in an massive response from readers. A spokesperson from the Finnish pro-piracy group Piraattiliitto told TorrentFreak: “There is an almost unanimous call from the readers to legalize private filesharing. The overwhelming change in the national opinion from anti-piracy to pro-piracy is somewhat surprising, even for us at Piraattiliitto.”
The Finnish copyright lobby on the other hand, says it is ‘alarmed’ at the outcome of the survey. It wants to see new laws that would allow copyright holders to force ISPs to pass their threatening emails to the alleged filesharing customers. The consensus among the readers, however, seems to be that, instead of turning millions of people (including 69% of 15 year-old kids in Finland) into law-breakers, copyright laws should be changed to allow casual piracy.