Seven out of 10 young Singaporeans aged 16 to 24 are actively downloading music, movies and television shows illegally, according to a survey.
Also, six out of 10 Singaporean adults aged 16 to 64 have admitted to participating in online piracy.
These are some of the key findings released by Sycamore Research and Insight Asia on Tuesday based on a result of a survey done with a total of 900 respondents.
The survey, which took place in November and December 2013, highlights the prevalence of online piracy in Singapore.
Just two years ago, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) released a Digital Music Report which said that 45 to 50 per cent of Internet users in Singapore have accessed unlicensed sites in early 2012.
The fact that pirated content is available for free remains the major reason for Singapore netizens to engage in piracy, according to Anna Meadows, the Director of Sycamore Singapore, who led the presentation of the findings.
Other reasons include the easy accessibility of pirated content, the lack of limits and disincentives to compel pirates to stop illegal downloads, the lack of perception over the negative impact of piracy, and the reality that online piracy has become a social norm.
Industries hit by online piracy
The television, film and music businesses in Singapore have been hit hard by the advent of online piracy, industry practitioners said.
“There’s almost no music industry left in Singapore as of 2012,” said Ang Kwee Tiang, the regional director for IFPI (Asia).
He said that from almost S$90 million in 1997, the business has gone into a free fall to only S$20 million in 2012.
He explained that even with alternative music platforms such as Deezer and Spotify, where content is available free and legal, they are still not enough to beat music piracy.
Will blocking of sites help reduce piracy?
The survey findings suggest that blocking of sites that profit from pirated content is the most effective method to reduce piracy behavior.
This method received the highest percentage of 38 per cent from respondents, who had to choose from 10 options. Publicising proof that downloading pirated content could heighten exposure to viruses or malware came in second with 16 per cent.
In October 2013, the government announced that it was mulling over the blocking of sites that infringe copyrighted material online. The government is also aiming to address copyright and digital piracy through public education, and the introduction and promotion of more legitimate content sources